Eighteen graduate students and five faculty supervisors from Southeast Missouri State University’s Department of Communication Disorders recently provided hearing, speech and language screenings to 110 students in kindergarten through second grade at the Lift for Life Academy in St. Louis, Missouri.
The screenings were a great opportunity to support the Lift for Life Academy, and to provide unique hands-on experiences for Southeast students training to become speech-language pathologists. Lift for Life Academy was founded in 2000 as the first charter school in St. Louis and is sponsored by Southeast.
The screenings help to support the health and academic success of young students, said Dr. Martha Cook, professor of communication disorders at Southeast.
“Many speech, language and hearing disorders contribute to academic delays,” she said. “Identifying children who need more comprehensive assessment during their early school years allows for early intervention and support for their academic efforts if a communication disorder is present.”
Southeast communication disorders graduate students administered the hearing screenings, which tested how well the children could hear different pitches. Those with hearing difficulties received recommendations to see an audiologist.
The screenings help fulfill the graduation requirements of Southeast communication disorders graduate students who must complete 400 hours of clinical training. Field experiences such as the visit to the Lift for Life Academy help students earn clinical hours under the guidance of supervising faculty members while helping children get connected with the resources they need to succeed.
“The supervisors provide mentorship, guidance and feedback on the graduate students’ performance as well as help the students to identify children who need referrals for further assessment,” Cook said.
For Ashton Glascock of Hartsburg, Missouri, a first-year communication disorders graduate student and graduate assistant at Southeast’s Center for Speech and Hearing, the screenings at Lift for Life Academy provided additional hands-on experience that can prepare her for a career as a speech pathologist in a school.
“Completing hearing screenings at Lift for Life was a wonderful experience,” she said. “I learned to use different techniques with children to inform them about the test, gave directions and kept them engaged during the screening. I enjoyed working with the kids. We wanted to make each child’s experience was quick, easy and fun! This was a great experience that will prepare me for future career endeavors.”