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Summer 2011

Hearing the Need, Finding Their Voices
by Juneann Greco '83 (M.S. '06) (greco@marywood.edu)

The Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic at Marywood University does more than evaluate and treat speech, language, and hearing issues in both adults and children; it hears and responds to their clients’ individual needs. It also does more than help them to develop, improve, or recover their speaking abilities; it often times gives them a voice.

“There’s nothing more gratifying than seeing a pediatric client come in with a very limited vocabulary and leave here speaking volumes.” said Andrea M. Novak, MA, CCC-SLP, Clinic Director and Interim CSD Graduate Program Director/Chairperson. “On the adult side of things, it's rewarding to know that you were there to help someone regain his ability to speak and understand information following a stroke.”

Longtime clients speak of the students and professionals who staff the clinic as a group of committed individuals, who are not only knowledgeable in their field, but who look for patient and parent feedback and offer encouragement throughout the treatment process.

Part of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD), the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic is located in the McGowan Center. With eight therapy and two diagnostic rooms, each fully equipped with audio-visual monitoring capabilities for parents, caregivers, and clinical supervisors, it isn’t surprising that the positive and supportive environment inspires not only clients and their families but the CSD students as well, who have the opportunity to gain practical experience in an atmosphere of collaborative treatment and learning.

The clinic, which has the support of corporate and alumni contributions, works with 40 to 45 clients per semester, ranging from two to 70-plus years of age. Each undergraduate and graduate CSD student clinician sees one to four clients in a semester.

The speech and language services provided by the clinic provide both individual and group therapy sessions for speech, language, and related disorders. Other services include a child articulation/language playgroup and an adult aphasia language group. All services related to speech and language are provided by undergraduate seniors and graduate student clinicians who work in conjunction with PA-licensed and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)-certified speech language pathologists, who serve as clinical supervisors.

On the audiology side, PA-licensed and ASHA-certified audiologists schedule and complete basic diagnostic and central auditory processing evaluations within the clinic’s on-campus audiological suite. Hearing aid consultations, fittings, and maintenance are also services that the clinic offers. Currently, assistive listening devices are available to lend to individuals in the community. The equipment can be used on a trial basis with the option to purchase. Clinical staff or supervised students demonstrate and explain all assistive listening devices to fit the needs of the individual.

With all they offer their clients, you would think that the clinic’s work might be limited to on-site treatment and therapy, but that isn’t the case. In keeping with the Marywood University tradition of service and community outreach, the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic participates in several community-based services, including: Head Start Speech, Language, and Hearing Screenings; Day Care Center Speech, Language, and Hearing Screenings; Community Health Fairs; Occupational Health and Safety Fairs; providing a Speakers’ Bureau for communication-related issues and an Assistive Listening Device Program.

Consistent with the Marywood University mission, CSD students are provided with a variety of both on- and off-campus experiences through their work at the clinic, giving them the opportunity to work with the community and promote the development of their clinical skills.

For more information on the Clinic’s services, access an online brochure at marywood.edu/dotasset/123504.pdf

The numerous testimonials of clients, whose lives have been changed by the treatment they received, speak volumes—literally and figuratively—about the caliber of scholarship, service, and community outreach that is found in every aspect of the treatment and services provided by the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic.  

Roseann Polishan: “My son, who has autism and related dyspraxia, has been attending the Marywood Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic for about three years and has made significant progress. In that time, he has gone from being non-verbal to speaking words and even some sentences. The staff and student clinicians are wonderful. The Marywood students have tons of enthusiasm and new ideas that I feel are unique to this environment. Many times parents of special needs children only hear about what their children cannot do, but my experiences with Marywood have focused on positive elements of the prognosis. When my son makes gains, the staff and students are genuinely excited for us. I plan to continue therapy there for my son. “

Colleen Rose: “My children are almost six and have been attending speech therapy at Marywood since they were three years old. We had begun our speech therapy through Early Intervention at age two in a preschool program, but my husband and I thought they needed more than the time and attention they were getting. We are so glad that we pursued Marywood as an option for speech therapy.  The difference in their speech is incredible, and my husband and I know their improvement is directly related to the speech therapy they receive at Marywood. Our experiences with the student clinicians have always been positive. They are always invested in my children and the progress they make, and I can tell they are excited for the kids and proud of their accomplishments. The student clinicians try to make the overall experience fun for the kids. I’m not sure we’d get that kind of experience in another facility or setting.”

Gennifer L. Sutton: “My son Ryan has been attending the Speech and Hearing Clinic at Marywood since 2001. Communication is such an imperative part of life on so many levels that when a child (or an adult) suffers from any kind of speech delays or deficits, it really impacts every aspect of their lives. My 14-year old son didn’t start talking until he was three and has been in speech therapy since he was one. I chose Marywood for its knowledgeable staff, up-to-date technology, willingness to work with my son’s specific needs and the eager students dedicated to their area of study. They have a genuine drive to help each and every patient succeed to the best of their ability. I can honestly say that in almost 15 years of speech clinic experiences, I have not seen equal dedication to Ryan’s long- term outcome as we experienced at Marywood. Despite his ever changing speech problems, the clinicians continue to boost Ryan’s confidence through positive feedback. I am especially grateful for their perseverance and for making him feel comfortable in a supportive environment. They have made speech therapy a more exciting experience for Ryan. He has made great strides and improvements, thanks to MSHC’s hard work and dedication. They have made the difference in Ryan’s life.”



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