In the United States, nearly one in 12 children suffer from speech-language disorders , and that number grows substantially when you factor in adults. Whether it's Apraxia of Speech (AOS) — a rare disorder that impacts the pathways between a person's brain and their speech muscles — or stuttering — a communication disorder that results in repetition of speech, there are hundreds 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 a young 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. 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."
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 assist those that suffer from strokes, accidents, Alzheimer's, and dementia — all of which can severely limit language and speech.
Pediatrics is also an in-need area. Speech pathologists help children manage speech and language issues, as well as provide the critical support system they need to succeed in a world so hinged to verbal and non-verbal social cues.
There are opportunities a-plenty for those that choose to pursue their passion for language, speech, therapy, and involvement.
"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
16 (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,
Junior(video source is old) at Andrews. "They've created a love inside of me for what we do as speech pathologists."
It's not only about the individual; Andrews puts a heavy emphasis on the global community. When you graduate from Andrews, you don't only have the tools to succeed in your career path, but you're given a toolkit to help you make a tangible impact on your community.
"Each and every student has an opportunity to meet a counselor who can help them develop a career plan and a plan to change the world with their future careers," said Michelle Bacchiocchi, Assistant Professor for the Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Department at Andrews during a recruitment video. Is not part of the SPLAD Department – why mention in the article.
"Global impact" may sound like a tall order, but it's more than just vernacular at Andrews. Andrews currently offers students opportunities for learning across the entire globe, and they have programs, campuses, and study tours in multiple countries and throughout a plethora of cultural and physical boundaries.
"Diversity is another huge part of our culture here," explained Tamlin. Currently, Andrews has students from over 90 countries attending their classes. And, they offer both online and international campus options for them.
This commitment to diversity hasn't gone unnoticed. U.S. News Best Colleges ranks Andrews as the third most ethnically diverse national university in the United States, with a diversity index of 0.75.
Acceptance, community, and betterment are the pillars of Andrews incredibly successful Speech-Pathology & Audiology department. But, they aren't only focusing on the broader community. They have plenty of at-home programs for interested parents and children.
Social Skills Camp
As part of its core, community-driven values, Andrews hosts 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.
- Early Childhood Summer Language Camp 2019
- Communication Camp 2019
- 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 to provide the 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.
A year of therapy sessions for an individual with Parkinson's costs around $2,800. That includes the evaluation, 12 therapy sessions, materials, and 50 group sessions. Andrews, backed by the Parkinson's Voice Project, can rely solely on donations and charity to provide these year sessions of crucial support to those who desperately need the assistance.
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."
At Andrews, therapy materials can include books, equipment, and even board games and activities. "We have a wonderful resource room at Andrews with tons and tons of books, activities, and different board games," said Jordan Mondak, Junior. He was not part of the interview where does this come from?! Please do not use students in the article.
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 needs a solution that's scalable, flexible, and easily accessible.
With GoCodes, they're able to achieve all of this without investing in costly up-front architecture. Does your university face unique challenges? Do you need the ability to rapidly track and manage all of your educational assets? Are you looking for a solution that leverages technology and in-house equipment (i.e., smartphones) to enable you to gain clarity and visibility within your asset management ecosystem?
At GoCodes, we have the simple solution that meets your complex problems. To see how GoCodes can help you succeed, contact us. We have a few levels of service as well as a free, rapidly accessible trial if you want to see it in person.
Andrews Pushes Forward into the Future
With an incredible blend of social goals, global infrastructure, and undeniable passion, Andrews University is continuously looking for ways to make a positive impact on people across the planet.
Or, as Andrews puts it:
"Andrews offers students distinctive ethnic and cultural diversity opportunities that equip them to better understand, serve and change the world around them in God-centered, thoughtful and meaningful ways."
The Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology department offers a variety of community services both on and off campus. They 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.