Our Engagement, Outreach & Service Learning Programs

working with hard of hearing child

Brain Injury Association of Iowa, Iowa City Chapter.  Clinical Professor Alison Lemke takes graduate students to monthly meetings of the BIA-Iowa City group.  Students have the opportunity to learn from survivors about what it’s like to live with an acquired brain injury. In return, students become active in preparing and presenting educational programs to the group about the speech-language, memory and cognitive problems common to brain injury.

Cleft Palate Team Evaluations. The Iowa Cleft Palate Team, including Adjunct Assistant Professor Scott Dailey, has developed a partnership with Northwest Iowa Ear Nose and Throat Clinic in Spencer, Iowa, an area with limited resources in this medical specialty. The UI team travels to Spencer twice each year to evaluate children from the area and the surrounding states. They assess 20-30 children during each of these one-day clinics to identify speech, language, hearing, and dental concerns related to cleft palate or craniofacial anomalies.

Community Preschool Hearing, Speech and Language Screenings:  A team of faculty and students from the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic goes to area preschools and daycare centers each year to provide no-cost hearing, speech and language screenings for children 3 – 5 years of age.  Results are shared with parents, and options for treatment or strategies for remediation for any detected problems are shared.  Parents are notified of the opportunity for screening prior to the WJSHC visit, and they may choose whether or not to have their child(ren) participate.

Early Classroom Collaboration: The Language Disorders in Children: Birth to five course, currently taught by Professor Amanda Van Horne, includes a service learning component that was initially developed and implemented by Professor Karla McGregor. Master’s students in speech-language pathology partner with the early classroom teachers at the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County. The speech-language pathologists in training coach teachers on the use of language facilitation strategies in the classroom. The MA-SLP students benefit from learning how to work via professional collaboration and gain experience in ‘real world’ situations.

Special Olympics Hearing Testing. Professor Ruth Bentler coordinates hearing testing for 200-plus participants in the Special Olympics Iowa Games each March in Iowa City. Hearing loss among Special Olympians is much greater than the general population, as many hearing problems in this group are undetected or unserved. The Special Olympics Healthy Hearing program is free to the participating athletes. Graduate students in speech-language pathology and audiology volunteer to conduct the hearing screenings, gaining valuable training experience.

The Columbus Junction Project. Started in 2010 and funded by the University of Iowa Office of Outreach and Engagement, this project is the foundation of a service learning course for undergraduate students, taught by Clinical Professor Emeritus Linda Louko and Professor Patricia Zebrowski. This collaboration joins undergraduate students and preschool classes at Roundy Elementary in Columbus Junction, Iowa, a community with a high population of  Mexian immigrant and Chin Burmese refugee families, many who do not speak English or are English language learners. Teams of  University of Iowa students , known as the Hawkeye Readers, collaborate with teachers to teach pre-literacy curriculum that includes daily instruction on print awareness and the function of print. This evidence-based program uses group story-time to enhance a child’s emerging knowledge about the forms and functions of written language which are serve as the foundation for a child’s readiness to learn to read. In 2015, Professors Louko and Zebrowski were awarded the College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Outreach and Engagement Award for this project.

UI-SAFE.  Developed and led by Clinical Professors Stephanie Fleckenstein and Danielle Kelsay, UI-SAFE is a faculty-student educational effort which promotes healthy hearing. The team’s main focus is to reach out to individuals across the age span, educating them about exposure to hazardous sound levels which occur in daily life, as well as teaching effective strategies to protect hearing. UI-SAFE gets their message out by participating in health fairs, presenting to school classrooms and band programs, and providing information to a wide variety of groups of college students across campus.