Keynote Speakers

October 15, 2018

Phuong Lien Palafox is a bilingual speech‐language pathologist at Bilinguistics. Over the past decade and a half, she has worked as a public school SLP, a district lead SLP, education specialist at Region 13 Education Service Center and researcher at UT‐Austin and UW‐Madison. Currently, her time is happily spent serving students and supporting SLPs and educators across the United States. Her work has been featured in Texas’ Communicologist, American Journal of Speech‐Language Pathology and publications for the American Speech‐Language‐Hearing Association. She has been honored as the keynote address for the Texas Speech‐Language‐Hearing Association Conference and a requested presenter for the American Speech‐Language‐Hearing Association.

Phuong has a passion for autism, culturally and linguistically diverse needs (including poverty), literacy‐based interventions and service‐delivery models. She enthusiastically supports SLPs and educators in their endeavors to make meaningful, daily impact in student and client lives. When not thinking about the heart‐needs of her profession, Phuong enjoys spending time outdoors and eating breakfast tacos with her kind husband, book‐hoarding children and lovely friends. Phuong’s presentations have won the hearts of speech‐language pathologists and educators across the nation. Her high energy and sincerity, conveyed through personal stories and creative messages, resonate with those who dedicate their time to supporting others. As an English Language Learner who grew up with limited means, she personally understands the scope and depth of some of our clients’ and students’ needs. Her out‐of‐the‐box thinking and time spent working with others have surely made an impact:

“You were so motivating and inspirational.”

“I don’t feel so alone anymore.”

“You should know I have been a SLP for 25 years and the Professional Development I attended with Mrs. Palafox was the best ever.”


October 16, 2018

Vera Spinks is originally from Thomasville, AL and currently resides in Tuscaloosa, AL with her husband and three children, 16-year-old twins Adlen and Kylie, and 3-year-old William “Xan”. All three of Vera’s children were born prematurely, and currently Adlen is a talented teen and Kylie thrives with Cerebral Palsy and other complex medical conditions; Xan is an active boy and has a diagnosis of laryngomalacia. All three have benefitted from Early Intervention services and now Vera has over 16 years of experience working with ADRS programs as a consumer and three years as the Children’s Rehabilitation Service’s (CRS) Tuscaloosa District Office’s Parent Consultant.  Since the birth of her twins, Vera has been traveling a road of advocacy, community resource connections, and parent to parent support which she is now using to benefit parents and professionals throughout the country. Vera serves on Alabama Disability Advocacy Program’s (ADAP) Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PADD) Advisory Council and is an active member of Alabama’s State Community of Practice Team supporting families with the implementation of the LifeCourse Framework. In late 2017 Vera completed the Association of Maternal Child Health Programs (AMCHP) Leadership Lab in the Family Leader Cohort and as a Parent and Family Leader within Alabama’s Title V MCH/CYSHCN Program she strives to inspire and bring people together to achieve sustainable results to improve lives.   Vera’s passion is empowering families to live their vision of a good life and encourages others to see possibilities and not barriers.