Andrews University Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology Department: Education, Change, and Global Betterment

6 min

 In the United States, nearly one in 12 children suffer from speech-language disorders.  By adulthood, according to the Mayo Clinic,  roughly 1 million American adults struggle with Apraxia of Speech (AOS) — a  disorder that impacts the pathways between a person’s brain and their speech muscles — while 3 million adults struggle with stuttering — a communication disorder that results in repetition of speech. There are literally a multitude of speech-language disorders that can impact a person’s day-to-day life.

Issues with speech-language can have serious implications for those that suffer. From an early age, children with speech or language disorders are often viewed as undesirable playmates and their teachers often rate them as having poor social skills. But, problems aren’t isolated to children. Adults with speech-language disorders are more prone to social anxiety and a variety of social health issues as a result of their condition. In fact, researchers in the Ottawa-Carleton region of Ontario found that those with speech-language disorders develop “one of the highest rates of social phobia” out of any researched group of people.

For those that suffer, finding ways to manage symptoms and overcome the barriers erected by speech and language issues is critical towards improving both their condition and their lives.

This is where speech-language pathologists come in, cape donned and therapy materials in-hand! They help children and adults who have autism find their voice through one-on-one workshops and therapy sessions. They assist children who suffer from speech-language disorders as a result of accidents to navigate a world that’s built around communication. And, they engage in individual therapy sessions with people who have been impacted by Alzheimer’s or dementia.

From hospitals to speech-language centers and research teams, speech-language pathologists work on the front-lines of the fight for better lives for those that suffer from speech-language disorders.

And, they are in short supply. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs for speech-language pathologists to rise 18% between 2016 and 2026. For context, the average position is expected to increase by 7% in that same period. That’s over double the average growth rate of all occupations.

In an interview with Forbes, Lemmietta McNeilly, CSO for speech-language pathology at ASHA explained: “We consider the outlook strong for the profession…we don’t have enough speech-language pathologists to meet the demand.”

Aside from  the area of Pediatrics, one of the strongest growth verticals is in Geriatrics. With the baby boomer generation requiring greater medical attention as they age, speech-language pathologists are in a position to assist those that suffer from strokes, accidents, Alzheimer’s, and dementia — all of which can severely limit language and speech.

“Speech pathologists have plenty of options. They can be nurses, therapists, and counselors. They can work in schools, hospitals, nursing facilities, and all sorts of other places.” says Winona Hays, Administrative Assistant to the Chair at Andrews University Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology Department — one of the many schools offering career paths for speech-language pathologists.

Creating Speech-Language Pathologists and Changing the World

Andrews University’s Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology department aims to provide the education and technology necessary to produce tomorrow’s speech-language pathologists. And, the students aren’t merely learning — they’re ready to change the world.

“We’re a close-knit community,” says Tamlin leRoux, Office Assistant at Andrews Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology Department. “It’s an important part of our culture.”

Andrews University is a private Seventh-day Adventist University nestled in the heart of Berrien Springs, Michigan — a small village situated on St. Joseph River.

Located just miles from the Michigan River, Andrews has been an essential part of the Seventh-day Adventist school system for over 140 years. With a focus on learning, engaging, living, and exploring — Andrews provides over 130 undergraduate programs and 70 graduate programs to students around the globe and from all walks of life.

Last year, Andrews graduated a class of 20 speech-language pathologists as part of their Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology Department’s Master’s program. With a 100% completion rate in 2018, Andrews focuses on small class sizes and tons of supports elements for its students.

And, this support-driven methodology bleeds into their core curriculum and is heavily influenced by their religious backbone. Support isn’t just a trend at Andrews; it’s a mechanism. Their mission statement emphasizes physical, mental, and spiritual development, and it certainly shows in their speech-language pathology department.

“They don’t just want us to be therapists. We’re encouraged to be coaches, mentors, advisors, and friends with our clients,” said Bruna Barbosa. 

Social Skills Camp

At the heart of Andrews Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology department is its commitment to the pillars of Acceptance, Community and Betterment. Those values drives a variety of events for both local and global communities. During the summer, Andrews Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology department hosts a number of unique summer camps aimed at providing speech-language services to the greater community.

This year, they have three summer camps.

  1. Early Childhood Summer Language Camp 2019
  2. Communication Camp 2019
  3. Social Skills Camp 2019

The Early Childhood Summer Language Camp provides parents of infants and toddlers the opportunity to learn how to create language-rich environments that can help their children grow in a supportive verbal and non-verbal atmosphere.

The Communication Camp is for children in kindergarten through 3rd grade. It helps support language, literacy & auditory processing through a variety of fun games, activities, and group exercises.

The Social Skills Camp is an education and therapy camp for children with autism — many of whom have problems with speech and language.

“Our camps give children the opportunity to learn about language from a young age,” explains Winona. “Whether that’s children with autism or parents with smaller children who want to learn about creating a language-rich environment.”

SPEAK OUT! & The LOUD Crowd Provider

While Andrews Speech-Pathology & Audiology department focuses on education, it also offers therapy sessions for in-need patients. In fact, most of the professors at Andrews are also practicing speech-language pathologists.

“Most of our professors are working speech pathologists right now,” said Leila Celestin, speech-pathology graduate student, in the Andrews introductory YouTube video. “They’re not just teaching; they’re living what you’re about to be living… really living.”

One of these therapy sessions is the SPEAK OUT! & LOUD Crowd therapy program. Supported by a grant from the Parkinson Voice Project, Andrews offers a twelve-course of individual therapy sessions for those with Parkinson’s. The sessions aim to strengthen the muscles used for speaking and swallowing for patients, and the program is followed by a maintenance program where group sessions and singing programs help patients maintain the strength of their voice.

The program is free to patients and uses a pay-it-forward concept — where patients can choose to donate after the therapy to help other patients enter the program.

Asset Management to Control Inventory

Between Social Skills summer camps, SPEAK OUT! & LOUD materials, and daily university life, Andrews University’s Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology department deals with plenty of therapy and course materials.

“We needed something that would help us keep track of where materials were at,” explained Winona Hayes. “We have materials that students and faculty can check out, so we need to know where it’s at.”

Whether it’s SPEAK OUT! & LOUD materials for their therapy sessions or board games for children at summer camps, Andrews has plenty of assets to manage. GoCodes gives them a simple, effective solution that helps them keep tabs on all their assets without an overburdening tech stack or physical solutions. With GoCodes’ cloud-based asset tracking software, Andrews can track all materials via a smartphone application. Each asset can be instantly located and assessed via the small, portable QR code label attached to it.

This is especially important because Andrews needs the freedom to move their materials around in a fluid environment.

“We also loan out materials to other schools who need them to teach or use for therapy purposes,” explains Winona. “So, we need to be able to figure out who has what.”

Fluid Asset Management for Evolving Needs

Andrews University’s Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology department has unique challenges and opportunities in asset management. Since they shift various materials around a fluid environment, they need to be able to track, manage, and maintain these materials across a variety of channels. Whether that’s tracking speech and language games at a local summer camp or therapy materials loaned out to other schools – Andrews needed a solution that’s scalable, flexible, and easily accessible and that’s why they chose GoCodes. With GoCodes, they easily manage their equipment and ensure that the department is audit ready. That’s a win!

Andrews Pushes Forward into the Future 

What next? The Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology department are currently accepting new clients at The Speech and Hearing Clinic, which evaluates children and adults for speech, language and hearing concerns. And, they have open enrollment for all their summer camps.

Educating speech-language pathologists is important enough. But Andrews wants its students to be a force for good in the world. And, that’s a goal we can all get behind.

About GoCodes

GoCodes is the industry leader in school inventory tracking. We provide customers with the ultimate single vendor solution that includes cloud-based software, top-rated smartphone scanner apps and patented QR code tags.

We pride ourselves on delivering a personalized service, cutting edge technology and software that is easily used by your entire team.

GoCodes ensures our customers achieve success in their school asset management projects every time.

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