Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology and Learning Conference - Learning to Play and Playing to Learn: Exploring the Play Profiles of All Children - Carol Westby, PhD, CCC-SLP

Aurora, CO US
April 29, 2024

Course Overview

Benefits of play are both immediate and long-term and contribute to all aspects of children’s health and development including their physical and mental well-being, their educational development, brain development, self-regulation, opportunities for language development, spatial and mathematical learning, creativity, and the formation of identity. With the current emphasis on developing academic skills, opportunities for children to engage is play are being eliminated. Play areas are removed from classrooms and recesses are eliminated. Goals and objectives for young children with developmental impairments frequently focus on isolated skills and tasks rather than on strategies to promote meaningful participation. Yet children's play experiences promote development of integrated cognitive, language, and social-emotional skills that underlie comprehension and self-regulation of behavior essential for learning. And it is in play that children participate with others. This session will describe the development of functional and symbolic play in typically developing and neurodivergent children, the dimensions of symbolic play and how these dimensions contribute to comprehension of oral and written discourse, and strategies to promote children’s play. Participants will be able to develop play-based goals and objectives that promote development of the language, social-emotional, cognitive, and self-regulatory skills essential for social and academic competence.

Target Audience

Audiologists, Speech-Language Pathologists, Learning and Health Professionals

Learning Objectives

  • Describe and assess the development of play and language from birth to age 7
  • Describe ways that the play of typically developing children and neurodivergent children differ in terms of exploratory/functional/symbolic levels and playfulness
  • Explain possible reasons for play differences between typically developing and neurodivergent children
  • Describe the relationships between play, language, and literacy
  • Design play routines to promote functional and symbolic play

Additional Information

Course Contact: 
Chris Moores - 720-777-5470 -
PDF icon ASL Conference Brochure_FINAL_03.19.pdf767.81 KB
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 0.60 ASHA
  • 6.00 Attendance
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
04/29/2024 - 8:20am MDT
Event ends: 
04/29/2024 - 4:00pm MDT


Monday, April 29, 2024

8:20 a.m. Welcome and Introduction

8:30–10 a.m. Foundational frameworks

The importance of play
World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning
Dynamic systems theory

10–10:15 a.m. Break

10:15 a.m.–12 p.m.
Development of presymbolic plan and communication (birth-18 months)

Development of functional play
Characteristics of functional play in typically developing and neurodivergent children
Transition to symbolic play

11 a.m.–12 p.m. Section 3 — How are Speech Sound Targets Selected?

12–1 p.m. Lunch (provided - live learners)

1–2:15 Development of symbolic/pretend play dimensions and language (17 months – 7 years)

Development of symbolic play
Relationship of play dimensions to language and literacy
Symbolic play in autistic children

2:15–2:30 - Break

2:30–4:00 Promoting play and language development

Setting play goals
Facilitating development of
abstract language
Coping with play problems

4:00 p.m. - Adjourn

Children's Hospital Colorado
13123 E 16th Avenue
Aurora, CO 80045
United States

Hybrid Format - Live In-Person or Virtual - Select location with registration type.

2nd Floor Conference Center - Mt. Oxford Auditorium

Free Parking: Conference participants MUST park in Visitor Lot #10 - accessible from Victor Street entrance only. Do NOT park in the patient parking structure.

Please allow plenty of time to park and pre-screen at main entrance.

Guest Faculty

Dr. Carol Westby, PhD, CCC-SLP, is a consultant for Bilingual Multicultural Services in Albuquerque, NM and holds an affiliated appointment in Communication Disorders at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. She is a fellow of the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), has received the Honors of ASHA and the Kleffner Lifetime Clinical Achievement Award, and holds Board Certification in Child Language and Language Disorders. Dr. Westby has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Geneva College and the University of Iowa's Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology and the ASHA Award for Contributions to Multicultural Affairs. She is widely recognized for her development of the Westby Playscale, an assessment tool for young children. She had published and presented nationally and internationally on a wide variety of topics including screen time and learning in the 21st century, assessing and facilitating play in children, theory of mind, narrative development, adverse childhood experiences, and issues in assessment and intervention with culturally/linguistically diverse populations.

Dr. Westby has a BA in English from Geneva College and an MA and PhD in Speech Pathology from the University of Iowa.

Faculty Disclosure:

Financial: Honorarium for Conference & reimbursement for expenses.

Planners, faculty, and others in control of content (either individually or as a group) have no relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies.


Children’s Hospital Colorado is approved by the Continuing Education Board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to provide continuing education activities in speech-language pathology and audiology. See course information for number of ASHA CEUs, instructional level and content area.

ASHA CE Provider approval does not imply endorsement of course content, specific products or clinical procedures.

This program is offered for 0.60 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate level; Professional area).

Attendees are expected to be present for the entire program. Individuals who are not present for the full program will not receive ASHA CEUs. No partial credit will be provided.

A general certificate of attendance will be provided to all others, with completion of the evaluation.

Available Credit

  • 0.60 ASHA
  • 6.00 Attendance


Please login or register to take this course.

Required Hardware/software

Educational format is Hybrid.

Virtual learners should have audio-video capabilities. Virtual link provided 1-2 days prior to the course.


Cancellation Policy

A refund, minus a $25 processing fee will be granted if cancellation is requested by April 3, 2024. No refunds will be granted after this date or for non-attendance, although you may send a substitute.

The Planning Committee reserves the right to modify the agenda content while keeping consistent the time and content requirements for ASHA CEUs, or cancel this conference, or if minimum acceptable registration is not attained by April 12, 2024, with a full refund to participants.