By Kate Hunger
Speech-language pathology graduate student Caleb Mize admits to being a little anxious about providing quality pediatric speech-language services via an online platform during a pandemic.
Yet the experience of participating in CONNECT, a summer telepractice pediatric program created by the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Clinical Coordinator and Assistant Professor Angela Kennedy, SLP-D, CCC-SLP, turned out to be inspiring, Mize said.
“It was really rewarding to see that it was working,” said Mize, one of 37 third-semester speech-language pathology graduate students participating in the program. “You really do see improvements and results in your clients in a way you may not have thought you would be able to do on a camera. I felt like I grew a lot through it, and I was thankful for the confidence I gained technologically and in my clinical skills in general.”
The program, which began in June and ran through July, provided individualized treatment services for 25 pediatric clients between the ages of 3 and 13 with diagnoses of language disorders, speech sound disorders, fluency disorders, Down syndrome, and autism spectrum disorders (ASD), among others, Kennedy said.
Patients received two or three 60-minute sessions per week via the Zoom platform with two graduate students under the direct supervision of a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist, said Kennedy, who shared the feedback from the mother of a client.
“It’s been such a joyful experience watching and listening to Beau in his teletherapy sessions,” Yvette Reyna wrote. “He looks forward to every session. Thank you so much for this opportunity!”
Mize appreciated the opportunity to provide services during a time in which accessing them has proven more challenging.
“Despite the pandemic, we were able to provide services to people who might not have been able to make them,” Mize said. “It’s exciting to be able to contribute that way.”