Speech-Language and Hearing Center
communicates to campus and beyond
Located in the basement of the Humanities Building, is one of New Paltz’s best-kept secrets.
The Speech-Language and Hearing Center offers screening, diagnosis and therapy for hearing, speech, voice andlanguage problems to community members such as Austin Liguori, 9, of Tillson, as well as to students, faculty and staff members.
Liguori is one of the 90 clients that visit the center for speech-language therapy. There are 800 to 1,000 audiology visits to the center per year (with patients attending three or four sessions), according to Stella Turk, chair of Communication Disorders, director of the Speech-Language andHearing Center and coordinator of audiology.
Turk said the center offers low-cost services to clients and a solid education to students.
Sarah Scardaci ’08g (Communication Disorders) illustrates the effect the “ch” sound has on the cheeks with
Austin Liguori during a speech-language therapy session at the Speech-Language and Hearing Center.
Liguori, like all clients in the center, receives therapy from students in the Communication Disorders Department. The students are carefully supervised by a New York State licensed, American Speech-Language- Hearing Association certified speech-language pathologist or audiologist-faculty member. Graduate students Sarah Scardaci ’08g and Sarah Thomas ’08g are using memory and drawing games to provide Liguori with speechlanguage therapy, under the supervision of Inge Anema.
“With the student clinicians, the clients receive more one-on-one attention than in a private setting,” said Anema. The students prepare for professions in audiology (hearing or communication input) or speech-language pathology (speech or communication output). Both specialties use up-to-date techniques and state-of-the-art equipment to deliver quality services at the non-profit center.
In a recent class, instructor Susan Arnao demonstrated the Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) machine to students, which measures a part of the inner ear to pinpoint possible changes in hearing function before it progresses into hearing loss.
Undergraduate students like Kathleen O’Brien ’06 and Nundini Patel ’07 work directly with clients in the center to provide therapy and rehabilitation. Audiology students like O’Brien are learning how to administer such services as hearing screenings and tympanometry (an examination of the middle ear, eardrum and the conduction bones, that uses variations of air pressure in the ear canal). In speech-language pathology, students like Patel learn methods of assessing and treating language disorders.
Gretchen Brassard, coordinator of speech-language pathology clinical services, said the students have to produce a lesson plan, as well as long- and short-term goals that are approved by a supervisor. She said the students are motivated and offer creative approaches to therapy.
“It is a real collaborative experience that benefits everyone involved,” said Brassard.
There are rooms with oneway mirrors and closed circuit televisions for the observational purposes of students and supervisors, as well as clients’ families or caregivers.
The center also dispenses hearing aids and there is a workshop onsite for conducting minor repairs.
The hands-on work begins on campus, but students apply what they learn on the outside, as they move to off-campus sites. Wendell Brooks coordinates the program’s outreach. Students also can gain clinical experience in more than 100 tri-state affiliate sites such as hospitals, schools and private practices.
Turk said there are approximately 110 students per year in the major. Some of these students will observe in the Center and a small percentage will go on to have direct client contact. Turk said these students are prepared to apply for graduate programs in audiology and speech-language pathology.
From an observation room, faculty member Inge Anema, supervises
Liguori’s therapy session
There are approximately 50 graduate students in speechlanguage pathology, who must participate in the center. The graduate program is accredited by the American Speech- Language-Hearing Association.
O’Brien and Patel said the small number of students in the program allows for a lot of collaboration and support.
Students can join the New Paltz chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLA), an organization that helps promote a professional attitude through events such as the conference at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13, “The Late Talker,” with Marilyn Agin, M.D., director of the Early Intervention Program for the City of New York. The group also does charity and fundraising work.
“The students enjoy taking a part in shaping what happens in their program,” said Turk. For more information and the Speech-Language and Hearing Center, call x3600.