Posted December 19, 2006
A $10,000 gift from the Qwest Foundation to the Idaho State University Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Education of the Deaf Department will benefit ISU speech and language clinics, and be a learning boon to students studying at the clinics.
“The donation from Qwest will allow ISU to purchase augmentative communication devices, specialized software, access switches, and other adaptive equipment,” said Beth Guryan, ISU assistant professor for Communication Science and Disorders and Education of the Deaf, who works with students at Idaho State University-Boise.
The grant will enable ISU speech language pathology graduate students to have hands-on training with programming devices and using software. The students will be better prepared to work in public schools, clinics and hospitals because of their experience with this state-of the art equipment.
“Our ability to meet the needs of children and adults with severe communication impairment will be greatly enhanced,” Guryan said. “We are very grateful to the Qwest Foundation for their generous donation.”
ISU Speech and Language Clinics primarily serve pre-K-12 students who have severe communication disorders. The grant from Qwest combined with a smaller donation by the ISU Kasiska College of Health Professions will contribute toward fulfilling the terms of a matching grant from the CHC Foundation in Idaho Falls.“Qwest is committed to supporting innovative programs that promote K-12 education in Idaho,” said Jim Schmit, Qwest’s president for Idaho. “We are very proud to partner with ISU and to be able to assist the great work done by the school’s speech and language clinic.” ISU has the only speech language pathology graduate program in Idaho. The program trains the speech language pathology professionals who work in the schools, hospitals and rehabilitation centers throughout Idaho. Speech language pathologists are seen as the experts in determining if a child could benefit from assistive technology. Additionally, these professionals have the training to provide on-going therapy services to children and adults with severe communication impairments. They also help the patients’ families learn how to appropriately use this equipment.
The Idaho State University Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Education of the Deaf Department has 57 students in the speech language pathology graduate program offered in Boise and Pocatello.
An estimated two million Americans experience speech disability to the extent that they have significant difficulty being understood by others. The majority of the patients that come to the ISU speech and hearing clinics are children, and many have no communication skills at all. Not only do these children often have no speech skills, but many also have other physical disabilities that preclude expressive communication through the use of hand signs, writing, or typing. Communication, written or verbal, is essential for interacting with others. Those children who have disabilities that affect one or both of these communication processes need a supplemental or an alternative way of communicating. The grant monies received by ISU will assist children and adults to improve their communications skills.
For more information on the ISU speech language pathology program or clinic at ISU-Boise, call (208) 373-1721; for information on the ISU program and clinic in Pocatello, call (208) 282-4196.