NAPLIC 2020 online conference summary
Published 23rd March, 2020
Saturday March 21st saw the first ever NAPLIC online conference. This was thrust upon us by circumstances, and although a very different experience it was amazingly successful.
All of our speakers had pre-recorded their talks. This was a safety measure in case there were internet connection issues on the day. The speakers then dialled in for questions which delegates could submit via an online chat function, thus giving it the feel of a ‘live’ event. Interestingly many more questions were asked than are typically asked face to face.
The first session dealt with the issues that are facing services today. There are different influences on services that can feel at times to be pulling in different directions. Susan Ebbels, Jules Daulby, James Law and Marie Gascoigne, all presented different perspectives. Namely, evidence base, education, public health and commissioners. The technological feat of the day was a discussion between speakers in Stirling, Yorkshire, Surrey and Devon. The comment that struck home was that these different perspectives ‘violently agree.’ Many of the issues come down to terminology and emphasis, but at a fundamental level there is agreement.
Lunchtime was rather different to a usual conference. Instead of stalls there were a series of short videos from exhibitors showing latest products and discounts.
Our first international speaker of the day was Aoife Gallagher from Ireland. What delegates were aware of is that until just before we went live the Skype call quality was very poor, but it got sorted just in time. Aoife presented her involvement of young people in service development in Ireland, including asking them what they wanted from a service. Aoife provided great insights into how services and professionals need to listen to young people and the benefits of doing so.
Next speaker, Hannah Harvey from Birmingham, addressed diagnosis of Developmental Language Disorder using a Rubik’s cube analogy. Hannah’s presentation really underlined the issues that we are still facing, and many of the questions were about specific interpretation of clinical guidelines. An area we need to return to.
Trish Hicken and Sally Howley presented the NAPLIC and Afasic initiative ‘DLD together’ in which parents joined an online group to learn about DLD and how it applied to their children. Sally gave a powerful summary about the impact that learning about DLD had on her family. The lesson for professionals is make a diagnosis, but also provide information and support.
Presenting from the US was Amanda Owen van Horne who summarised very detailed results incredibly clearly and succinctly. Her study investigated how language targets could be included within science summer holiday camps. Both grammar and vocabulary interventions were successful. There has often been a gulf between US and UK practice, so we hope this is the start of more sharing.
Caroline Rowland from the Netherlands gave a very clear summary of where we are at with evidence in Early Years. She very powerfully highlighted the gaps that exist between what practitioners want and what is currently known. There is still much work to do in Early Years, but the best way forward is for practitioners and researchers to work more closely together to identify promising approaches and then investigate them thoroughly.
And our final speaker was NAPLC President, Courtenay Norbury, who had the unenviable task of prerecording a summary the day without having seen the presentations. Her clear message was that we cannot afford to do activities that we know do not work, so we need to focus on the evidence more strongly and where there are gaps work together.
A big thank you to so many who worked behind the scenes. Our speakers who we made very short notice demands of to pre-record their presentations, as well as interrupt their already demanding weeks. To Carol Lingwood, our conference administrator for dealing with all manner of queries and hiccoughs and to Darren and Pete at Stream7 for coaching us through the technical aspects and making it all run so smoothly.
Delegates at this year’s conference can review the presentations using the same log in details. This is likely to be available for about one month. 2020 delegates will be eligible for a significant discount for next year’s event.
Next year’s conference will be held on May 8th 2021 in Sheffield.