A look inside the new Speech and Language Clinics
Reopened at a new location, Rands House, in spring 2021, Wayne State University's Speech and Language Clinics feature an enhanced experience for clients and clinicians alike.
Support from the Baiardi Family Foundation has provided the clinics with upgrades that include an acute care simulation room, a group therapy room, a sensory room, and the development of a courtyard play area.
Clinic Director, Tausha Moore, said the simulation room that has been installed will help train student clinicians on specialized medically-based speech-language pathology interventions such as bedside swallowing assessments, Passy Muir Speaking Valve placement, and tracheostomy and ventilator protocols for voicing and swallowing.
“This room will provide valuable simulated experiences to improve exposure and competency of our students for medically-based placements and/or job prospects,” Moore said.
Recently retired former Clinic Director, Karen O'Leary, ’80, said that the new rooms include equipment to support children with behavioral regulation challenges. The Sensory Room features a corner with varying fiberoptic lights, bubbles, and projected images to calm or activate children. Additional sensory materials are also available for pediatric clients.
An interactive whiteboard will further expand the range of available treatment methods for adult clients with acquired communication challenges due to stroke or other medical conditions. The interactive whiteboard was funded on Wayne State University Giving Day 2021 and donors Lori Shaffer Clarke ’92 and Nancy Kaufman ’80.
O’Leary said the clinics are known for providing many affordable treatment options for adults and children. Specific costs vary depending on the clinic program and duration of services.
The Speech-Language Clinics receive a grant from The Children's Foundation of Children's Hospital of Michigan to fund underinsured or non-insured children who are initially seen at the hospital. Children’s Hospital is one of the Speech and Language Clinics’ approximately 90 agency partners.
While many clients are Detroit residents referred by the Detroit Medical Center and the Henry Ford Health System, others venture from as far north as Flint to as far south as Monroe. COVID-19 brought changes, of course, and Moore said that the clinic is continuously working to offer more hybrid or distance services for clients who cannot come into the clinic.
With 40 students admitted every year, the clinic provides students with in-depth training and ample opportunities to interact with clients and observe seasoned clinicians.
"I think we offer a fantastic opportunity for students who want to be speech-language pathologists. I think we also offer equally fantastic service to the community for people who need this service and don't have either insurance or resources for it to be covered elsewhere," O'Leary said.