Practical Access Podcast

S3 E10: Language Disorders with Dr. Barbara Ehren

November 04, 2020 Photo by Julie Molliver on Unsplash
Practical Access Podcast
S3 E10: Language Disorders with Dr. Barbara Ehren
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Practical Access Podcast
S3 E10: Language Disorders with Dr. Barbara Ehren
Nov 04, 2020
Photo by Julie Molliver on Unsplash

In today’s episode, Drs. Lisa Dieker and Rebecca Hines talk with ASHA Fellow and Honoree, Dr. Barbara J. Ehren. Tune in as she provides tips on identifying and advocating for adolescent students with language disorders. 

Show Notes Transcript

In today’s episode, Drs. Lisa Dieker and Rebecca Hines talk with ASHA Fellow and Honoree, Dr. Barbara J. Ehren. Tune in as she provides tips on identifying and advocating for adolescent students with language disorders. 

Lisa Dieker:

Welcome to practical access.

Rebecca Hines:

I'm Lisa Dieker. And I'm Rebecca Hines. And Lisa, I know we have a great guest on this episode, who's going to give us some insight after years of top notch research in this profession you want to introduce her?

Lisa Dieker:

Yes, so we have our dear friend and colleague who happens to be enjoying life beyond her job these days. Dr. Barbara Ehren, who is an expert in speech, language communication. And, and Barbara is so excited to because you really understand that unique language issues of our middle school and high school students. So welcome. We're excited, you're here.

Barbara Ehren:

Thank you, pleased to be with you.

Lisa Dieker:

So the first question I have for you is just what practical advice would you give to parents or teachers who have a student who's kind of just struggling at that middle school, high school level with language, and probably if they're getting any speech and language, it's probably limited as our students get older, what might be something you might say things to think about? Or

Barbara Ehren:

Well, I think we said the first issue is actually recognizing that many of the difficulties that adolescents have, are language related. And that's an important heads up for parents and teachers. Because the tendency, as as you know, is to lose that construct that language is an important issue. You know, the tendency is to think, Oh, my, you know, I worry about language with my

Rebecca Hines:

That's it. That's a great point, Barb. And I know that actually, all three of us on this podcast have a special interest in in adolescence, and secondary students. So it's a it's an important topic, kind of building on what you were just mentioning it over the course of your career. So So have you found these these issues to become almost invisible as kids get into the higher

Barbara Ehren:

I think, the problems the language nature of the problems is what is doesn't get noticed. I mean, people know kids are struggling, but they don't ascribe they don't attribute any of the struggles to language. It's like, you know, yeah, well, he's having academic problems, or he's having social problems, or he's having emotional problems. Well, yes, but, but what's underneath all to deliver here today? What are the what are the pitfalls, language wise, that I should be on the lookout for? To help all my kids, you know, and then the special ed teachers who might be working with kids, you know, put that into play, put the whole language issue into play with what they're doing. So I just want to be sure I mentioned that.

Rebecca Hines:

Right, right. Well, you know, I know, you know, again, when it comes to those older students in particular, and even the upper elementary grades, I know, in my experience, we didn't know always what was the cause of students starting especially to just withdraw off academically. And this idea that, you know, I would rather look lazy than then dumb, you know, and honestly, there

Barbara Ehren:

Yeah, just follow up, because I don't want to lose this thought the important The other important thing, Becky, in terms of looking at a language with adolescence is that by the time kids get older, they pretty much have figured out how to mask their problems often. And so what people will often say is, oh, this, this adolescent doesn't have language problems. I can't shut him up.

Lisa Dieker:

Well, and it's funny, because I know we all have children, and those of you who are parents are listening. I love the run of the mouth syndrome, because I think adolescents do that well, and they believe anything that comes out of our mouth isn't of any value anyway. So you know, again, some of this, I think, also gets lost and just this whole teenage pushback, you know, it's

Barbara Ehren:

Well, I would I would say for my speech language pathology colleagues the the issue be again, because because even if there are services at the middle and high school level, an SLP is never going to be able to see a kid enough to know make a dent. So the real game changer has to be incorporating and collaborating with, with the special ed teachers who might be involved, or the different armies, he, all he would have had to say was, I just used the term English, but I could also have said British, I could also have said, red coats. And then if you know, and then what I would say to that teacher is on the chalkboard or whatever, now it wouldn't be a truck. But But, but behind you just write British equals English equals read codes equals stories, simple things like that,

Rebecca Hines:

No, that was that was a great point. And and again, a really practical tip for teachers. And that's what we're looking for. So as you're thinking about about your your work, you know, I know, red flags for me always, were students not completing assignments. And I would ask myself, as I was formerly a language arts teacher, I would ask myself, Well, what can I do to get them to turn

Barbara Ehren:

Well, I one of the, again, drawing on this whole notion of the integration of language processes, one of the sort of transition activities I've always liked to do with kids, is, you know, if I'm, if I'm trying to get a kid to write on a topic, you know, okay, just talk it. You know, tell me what you know about that, you know, just talk it out, and then record that and play it be taught that very explicitly.

Lisa Dieker:

so fabulous advice. And I do think, you know, language across context is one that students do have to learn. I'm a little shocked when we recently had a student undergrad here that interviewed and showed up in a shirt that I'm pretty sure he slept on top of the night before, I don't even know how you get something that wrinkled it Hey, what's up, that was his intro to us. And I,

Barbara Ehren:

Well, you know, I'm glad you asked at least it because that is such a that is part of the mythology, that really does us in at the secondary level that math and science are less language related. Man, algebra is all language. It is. But I mean, you talk about processes, how are you processing? without words? I mean, you need words to process the the mathematical constructs, it's a different way of communicating. And and the challenge, of course, with adolescence is that they go from science, to math to history, to language arts. All in the space of a few, I always draw the analogy that it's like, having breakfast in France, and then going to Italy for lunch, which is a good idea of nice pasta for lunch. And then and then you go to China for dinner, I and you have

Lisa Dieker:

Love it. Love it. Well, so my last question, and this will wrap up our podcast here. And Becky and I are, again, so excited. You took time out of your time of being a grandma, I think I'd be with us for a few minutes today. But I would love to hear from your perspective to wrap us up today. You're such a visionary in our field. 10 years from now, what do you hope people will be pushing

Barbara Ehren:

Well, what I hope to see depends on whether or not we're in a culture that appreciates research. That to me is a driver. That is an that is going to be a driver for our future in education, we are not now doing the things we know we should be doing. So we're not paying attention to the research right now in practical application. And so if we continue to be in a culture that

Lisa Dieker:

Great, thanks. All right. Well, thank you so much for joining us, Dr. Ehren and our friend Barb on practical access. We look forward to folks sending us questions on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter feed @accesspractical. Thank you again, Dr. Ehren.