New Speech-Language Pathology Clinic Expands Hands-on Experience and Community Care
The new Speech-Language Pathology Clinic opened this month to provide speech and language therapy services for uninsured and underinsured individuals who have communication and/or swallowing disorders. Speech-language pathology is the latest student-led pro bono health service available to the community through the university.
“We are thrilled to join the established and reputable roster of pro bono clinics at Widener,” said Kathleen Youse, associate professor and founding director of the speech-language pathology graduate program.
Our mission is to improve the lives of individuals with communication and swallowing disorders through excellence in teaching, research, and interprofessional practices among our graduate students and clinicians. —Kathleen Youse
Operated by graduate students in the Institute for Speech-Language Pathology, and under the supervision of certified speech-language pathologists, the clinic offers evidence-based evaluation and treatment programs for children (ages birth to 18) and adults (ages 18 and older) as well as a bilingual program for Spanish-speaking children and adults.
The clinic is one of the first at the university to provide bilingual pro bono services. Nationally, only 8 percent of clinics certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) are operated by bilingual service providers.
“By providing our students with training in the provision of bilingual services, the clinic will contribute to an area of significant need within the field and serve as a crucial resource within Chester and the surrounding community,” said Youse.
The clinic will work in partnership with Widener’s interprofessional student-run pro bono Chester Community Clinic which currently serves clients with physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, and clinical psychology needs. With the addition of speech-language pathology, students will continue to gain experience collaborating professionally with one another and with their clients, to promote the health and wellness of the community.
In addition to the clinic, the program is pursuing partnerships within the local school district to expand its community impact and broaden the range of clinical experience for students. Collaborating with schools and organizations such as Widener’s Child Development Center, the program is working to introduce a system of practices and support for students as well as to create interprofessional collaboration and professional development opportunities for graduate students.
Lauren Liria, assistant clinical professor and director of clinical education, says that “the goal is to help promote use of practices to support language and communication development in all students, but particularly those from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.”
The clinic will be open Monday through Friday during the fall, spring, and summer semesters.