The 25th Annual Cullowhee Conference on Communicative Disorders

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Friday, March 24, 2017 - 8:30 am to 5:00 pm

WCU College of Health and Human Services Building, Room 204
$75.00 (includes lunch), if registered by Monday, March 13
Additional $5 for 1 ASHA CEU / 10 contact hours
$100, if registering after March 13

Register Online
(pay by check option available)

Thursday's PowerPoint Presentation

Friday's PowerPoint Presentation


The Cullowhee Conference on Communicative Disorders has offered continuing education pertinent to speech-language pathologists, educators, and other allied health professionals for 24 years.  (This year is our 25th.)  Over this time period, we have hosted approximately 2700 attendees and offered 24,000 hours of content (10 hours offered each year).   We are American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Continuing Education Unit (CEU) approved and are the largest single provider of CEUs in our content area in the western region of North Carolina.  The conference has featured half-day and full-day speakers who have presented on a host of topics ranging from speech, language, and literacy disorders in children to aphasia, TBI, and cognitive impairment in adults.  Our speakers have been nationally recognized leaders in Speech-Language Pathology.  


Thursday, March 23

  • 12:30 pm Check-in                             
  • 1:00-2:15 pm - The Speech-Language Pathologist's Role in Concussion Management, Dr. Bess Sirmon-Taylor
  • 2:15-2:30 pm - Break
  • 2:30-5:00 pm - Dr. Bess Sirmon-Taylor, Continued

Learner Outcomes:  
By the end of Thursday's session, the participant will be able to:

  • Describe the neurological sequelae involved in concussive injury.
  • Identify three techniques for assessment of cognitive-linguistic changes after concussion.
  • Discuss the role of SLPs as members of an interdisciplinary concussion management team.

Friday, March 24

  • 8:30-11:30 am - Amy M. Wetherby, Ph.D., CCC-SLP - Mobilizing Community Systems to Improve Early Detection of Autism and Communication  Delays at 18-24 Months
  • 11:30 am – 12:30 pm - Lunch
  • 12:30 – 1:15 pm - Poster Session
  • 1:15 - 4:30 pm - Amy M. Wetherby, Ph.D., CCC-SLP - Coaching Parents to Change Developmental Trajectories of Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Learner Outcomes:
By the end of Friday's session, the participant will be able to:

  • Identify limitations of current screening tools in primary care for autism and communication delays as they relate to community implementation.
  • List 11 red flags in each of the two DSM-5 diagnostic domains that distinguish ASD in toddlers.
  • Describe how Autism/Communication Navigator courses and tools will help SLPs bridge research-to-practice and build partnerships with primary care and families.
  • List 13 evidence-based intervention strategies and supports for parents to promote active engagement in natural environments for toddlers with ASD.
  • Describe strategies used in a collaborative coaching model to build the capacity of families to improve outcomes of children with ASD.


Amy Wetherby

Dr. Amy Wetherby

Dr. Amy M. Wetherby

Amy M. Wetherby, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is a Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences and Director of the Autism Institute in the College of Medicine and the Laurel Schendel Professor of Communication Disorders at Florida State University. She has thirty years of clinical experience and is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Dr. Wetherby has published extensively and presents regularly at national conventions on early detection of children with autism spectrum disorders and intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders using the SCERTS model. She is the Project Director of a Doctoral Leadership Training Grant specializing in autism funded by the U.S. Department of Education. She served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee for Educational Interventions for Children with Autism and is the Executive Director of the Florida State University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. Dr. Wetherby is the Project Director of the FIRST WORDS Project, a longitudinal research investigation on early detection of autism spectrum and other communication disorders, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institutes of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is also the Principal Investigator of the Early Social Interaction Project, an early treatment study teaching parents of toddlers with autism spectrum disorders how to support social communication and play in everyday activities funded by Autism Speaks and the National Institutes of Mental Health.

(Dr. Wetherby has the following financial disclosures to make:  She is receiving an honorarium for speaking at today’s event from WCU. She is employed at Florida State University and receives salary that includes grant funding from NIH that started in 2006 and continues to the present.  She is the Managing Member of Autism Navigator LLC that has the exclusive rights to distribute Autism Navigator courses and tools.  The articles of the company establish that 100% of the profits will be donated to a nonprofit organization for research and development of Autism Navigator.  This relationship has existed from 2014 until the present.  Dr. Wetherby owns the company, but does not draw a salary. Dr. Wetherby also has a financial relationship with Brookes Publishing from which she receives royalties for: Wetherby, A. M. & Prizant B. (2002) Communication and symbolic Behavior Scales Developmental Profile—First Normed Edition, Baltimore, MD:  Paul H. Brookes Publishing Prizant, B., Wetherby, A., Rubin, E., Laurent, A., & Rydell, P. (2006). The SCERTSModel:  A Comprehensive Educational Approach for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Baltimore, MD.)

(Dr. Wetherby has no relevant non-financial disclosures to make)

Dr. Bess Sirmon-Taylor


Dr. Bess Sirmon-Taylor

Dr. Bess Sirmon-Taylor is the Associate Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Texas at El Paso, and Associate Professor of Speech-Language Pathology in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, UTEP College of Health Sciences. In the Graduate School, her responsibilities involve oversight and development of communications activities and graduate student success, including the Dodson Research Grant competition, as well as project management of graduate program reviews.

At UTEP, she has served as the Vice-Chair of the Graduate Council, Associate Director of the Concussion Management Clinic, and Director of the FACES program in the College of Health Sciences. She is on the Leadership Development Institute Task Force, the SACSCOC Review Steering Committee, and is Graduate Coordinator for the Speech-Language Pathology Program. Her research has focused primarily on clinical aspects of concussion management and analysis of related legislation and policy, and she has presented extensively on this subject.

Dr. Sirmon-Taylor has extensive experience with leadership in professional association work, serving as the President of the Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Vice-President for Social and Governmental Policy for the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and as Board Member for the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation and the TSHA Political Action Committee. She is a Board Member for the Congo Projects for Relief (CPR), and a member of the Rotary Club of El Paso.

Dr. Sirmon-Taylor completed Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Speech-Language Pathology at the Florida State University, and an MS in Psychology at Georgia College. She came to UTEP in 2006 after finishing her PhD in Linguistics at the University of Georgia. She is also a 2012 graduate of the UTEP Leadership Development Institute.

(Dr. Sirmon-Taylor has the following financial disclosure to make:  She is receiving an honorarium for speaking at today’s event from WCU.)

(Dr. Sirmon-Taylor has no relevant non-financial disclosures to make)

ASHA Approved

This program is offered for 1.0 CEUs (Intermediate level; Professional area)

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