Left to right: Theresa A. Cardillo and Brian B. Shulman from the School of Graduate Medical Education; Abbey Nagel and Ellen Kramer-Lambert from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey.
According to Audrey Lassiter, supervisor of the Irvington Public Schools' Office of Early Childhood, "one of the district's greatest needs is speech-language and hearing services for our preschool population." Many of the 1,400 children enrolled in the preschool program come from low-income families, newly arrived from poor countries, which offer little or no prenatal care. They are children "at risk" of experiencing developmental delays which can affect their future educational, behavioral and social development.
Thanks to a grant of $76,380 from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey and services provided by Seton Hall University, this need will be addressed during the 2006-07 school year. The School of Graduate Medical Education's acting dean and professor of speech-language pathology, Brian B. Shulman, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, ASHA Fellow, BRS-CL, and Theresa Cardillo, M.A., CCC-SLP, assistant professor and director of clinical education for the department of speech-language pathology, worked in collaboration with University Advancement in securing external funding to establish an off-site clinical program at one of Irvington's preschool locations.
Under Cardillo's direction, first-year graduate students in the M.S. program in speech-language pathology will be part of a pilot project providing clinical services to 125 preschool children, ages three to five. Services will include speech, language and hearing screenings, evaluation, referral and intervention. This site will also provide these graduate students with faculty-directed "hands-on" clinical education.
During the 2005-06 academic year, the Class of 2007 field tested the project. As a result of their involvement, 75 children received speech, language, and hearing screenings, four were referred for complete audiological evaluation, one was referred for an otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) evaluation, and 15 children were identified as being in need of speech–language evaluations. Nine of the 15 children have been evaluated and are currently receiving faculty-supervised therapy by graduate students Elsy Castro and Kathy Gurango, along with the assistance of departmental faculty including Cardillo, Deborah Welling, Au.D., CCC-A/FAAA, associate professor of audiology and a former faculty member, Sally Ann Giess, Ph.D., CCC-SLP.
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