March 19, 2012

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Lecture Focuses on Speech-Language Pathologist's Role inTreating Autism

VALDOSTA -- Valdosta State University’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders will host its second annual Dr. George “Russ” Deavours Lecture Series on Friday, March 23, in the University Center Magnolia Room.

Dr. Lynn Adams, a nationally certified speech-language pathologist with more than 25 years of experience working with children with autism, will present the lecture, “Autism: Speech-Language Pathologist’s Role, Pivotal Response Training, and Group Intervention.” An associate professor in VSU’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, she received bachelor and master’s degrees from Florida State University and a doctorate degree from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She has published three books on autism and several journal articles and was also a contributor to “The Autism Encyclopedia.”

Open to professionals and VSU students, the lecture will be broken into three 75- to 90-minute sessions. Adams said the first session will review the role of the speech-language pathologist in the assessment and treatment of autism. The second session will address the applied behavior analysis strategy of pivotal response training that speech-language pathologists use when working with children with autism. The last session will show attendees how to set up a group treatment session for those with high-functioning autism and Asperger syndrome.

The Dr. George “Russ” Deavours Lecture Series benefits VSU’s on-campus Speech Clinic, which offers hearing evaluations, speech evaluations, and speech-language therapy to the community. Services are provided by graduate students and supervised by licensed and certified speech-language pathologists.

Deavours received a bachelor’s degree from Valdosta State College in 1965, majoring in sociology and history. He worked as a research assistant for the United States Air Force and earned a master’s degree in audiology from New Mexico State University in 1971, working as an audiologist for the William Beaumont Army Hospital. He later returned to Valdosta to direct the Speech and Hearing Clinic that had been founded by the Valdosta Junior Service League and the college in 1962 and to serve as an assistant professor in special education. By 1978, he held a doctorate degree in speech science from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Committed to building the communication disorders program at Valdosta State, Deavours had a dream come true when the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association certified the program in 1993 and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved a master’s degree option. For the next few years, he watched the program he had helped build thrive. He had assembled a large, diverse, and productive faculty and they were educating students in a modern facility -- the Special Education and Communication Disorders Building located on the corner of Patterson Street and Brookwood Drive.

In 2002, Deavours retired as a full professor.

“… (He) has a remarkable history of excellent teaching, important research, and the capacity to surround himself with dedicated professionals who loved working for their friend,” according to lecture series materials provided by VSU’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. “He has touched the lives of many.”

For more information, contact Susan Miller in VSU’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at (229) 219-1305 or

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