Institute offers valuable experience for COSD students
Six aspiring speech language pathologists earned valuable professional experience at the Language and Literacy Institute June 5-15.
The first-year Communication Science and Disorders (COSD) graduate students worked with 14 elementary school children for eight days at the annual camp that focuses on speaking, reading, writing and engaging socially.
The annual Language and Literacy Summer Institute enables the COSD students to get 40 hours of accreditation needed for licensure, marks their transition from first to second-year graduate students and prepares them for fieldwork.
The Institute staff was led by COSD Associate Professor Elizabeth Lanter and included Erica Atkinson ’16, Nicole Flood, Holly Craft, Jordan Compton ’16, Amy Weldon and Reinfred Addo ’16.
Compton reflected on the value of the experience.
“The highlight was taking our academic learning and putting it into real life . . . to feel the reality of what I want to do as a speech language Pathologist (SLP),” Compton said.
Compton identified two keys to teaching and working with clients in her own classroom: patience and professionalism.
“I had to really experience the environment and practice the skills that will help kids of such a young age function and produce successfully,” said Compton.
Atkinson described the SLP’s job as “providing tools and abilities to people of all ages to compensate for whatever defects they might have.”
She added, “Watching these children learn has been amazing.”
Lanter stressed the need for the intensive experience the practitioners earned.
“The vast majority of SLP’s work in the public schools. We approximate the classroom and the experience is very important to their success in future positions,” she said.
During the institute, five classrooms were focused on helping the children with expressive communication, a skill many take for granted.
“We help the kids develop skills that are often learned incidentally. . . sound awareness, story re-telling, reading and connecting to text are some of the reading and writing fundamentals that we teach and practice,” Lanter said.
The Institute featured a variety of activities, such as story times, daily voting, exercises in writing, reading and talking while doing crafts. The final day featured a play presented for campers and teachers from other RiteCare camps held in Waldron.
In 2017, the COSD Department hosted five RiteCare clinics in partnership with the Scottish Rite Masons, who have supported annual communication and language development camps and clinics since 1995.
Addo was encouraged by both his students’ progress and his own.
“I loved watching them progress. It has required that I be fully engaged,” Addo said. “I know we were supposed to be the teachers, but I think I have learned more.”
As the institute wound down, Lanter was pleased with the team’s work in the challenging environment.
“They were a nice empathetic crew. They focused on the positive, were patient and encouraging throughout,” Lanter said.