College of Nursing and Health Sciences Dean Patricia Prelock and Professor Shelley Velleman joined colleagues in Japan for the Asia Pacific Society of Speech, Language and Hearing’s annual conference in September.

The conference, titled “The Power of Diversity in the Science and Practice on Human Communication,” was held at the International University of Health and Welfare in Narita.

Dean Prelock, professor of communication sciences and disorders and pediatrics, gave a keynote presentation on the importance of parent training to support social communication and social interaction in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). She described evidence-based parent training interventions to facilitate social communication in young children with ASD and offered recommendations on how clinicians can collaborate with families to support childrens’ social communication.

Dr. Velleman, whose research focuses on speech sound development in children with disorders, gave presentations on early phonological patterns of children with Williams syndrome and a language-neutral, play-based child motor speech test that can be administered to very young, severely impaired children.

The conference provided a venue for communication scientists to network, share ideas and learn about research around the world.

“It was a great opportunity to discuss important professional issues with people that I don’t usually get a chance to interact with directly,” Velleman said. "I was able to renew some old connections and to make some new ones with faculty from universities in Japan, Hong Kong, India, and even the United States."

Nearly 500 people representing 17 countries and districts including Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, India, Korea, Thailand the U.S. attended the conference.


Janet Lynn Essman Franz
Dean Prelock gave a keynote address on parent training to support social interaction in children with ASD.
Professor Velleman presented research on language development in children with Williams syndrome.