The Science of Teen Brains: Debunking the Myth That It's Too Late to Be an Effective Communicator

Presentation Slides
Handout Article

Maurice Belote
The critical period hypothesis is being used to deny speech and language services to younger and younger students because they are deemed to be too old to benefit from communication and language instruction. Brain research suggests that neuroplasticity and brain maturation allow for the learning of all skills well beyond childhood, including those skills specific to communication. It is critical that every young adult leaves school with an effective expressive and receptive communication system.
Credits: Act 48, ACVREP, ASHA, Psych
Audience: Special Education Teachers; Teachers who work with students who are blind or visually impaired; Teachers who work with students with hearing loss; Teachers who work with students who are Deaf-Blind; Speech Therapists; General Education Teachers; Supervisors/Administrators; Parents, Guardians, Family Members; Paraprofessionals

Speaker Bio: Maurice Belote is a graduate of the federally-funded teacher training program in deafblindness at San Francisco State University and has worked exclusively in the field of deafblindness for 37 years. Maurice has served as Project Coordinator for California Deafblind Services since 1992. Maurice provides technical assistance and training throughout California and can tell you where to find the best tacos most anywhere along California’s north/south highways. His passions are ensuring that students leave school with functional, well-documented communication systems, and are fully prepared to have the same kinds of wonderful lives that any of us would wish for ourselves. Prior to joining the state TA and training project, he served for ten years as a teacher of deafblind young adults at the California School for the Blind, where he developed a competitive employment training program and rehabilitated a vacant apartment complex to open an independent living training program for transition-age students. Maurice is a frequent presenter at state, national, and international conferences and has written extensively on educational issues specific to children and youth with deafblindness. He represents students with deafblindness on numerous state and national groups and organizations, including as the specialist in deafblindness for the California Transcribers and Educators of the Blind and Visually Impaired. He also serves as Co-Chair of the National Coalition on Deafblindness, which has advocated for federal recognition of interveners in IDEA. Maurice’s favorite quote is from renowned implementation scientist Dean Fixsen: “Students cannot benefit from interventions they do not experience.”
Maurice Belote