Located in Knoxville, the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology in the College of Health Professions at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center has had several members of its faculty and staff to be prominently featured in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Leader, a monthly publication about speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. It also discusses the latest research and practice advances in communication sciences and disorders.
“The multiple papers published in the ASHA Leader by clinical faculty members in Audiology and Speech Pathology demonstrate the respect they garner nationally for their expertise and commitment to evidence-based health care and education,” said Ashley Harkrider, PhD, chair and professor in the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology. “As leading clinician scientists in their disciplines, their efforts to disseminate their knowledge clearly is having an important and widespread impact.”
One percent of the population stutters. However, many people who stutter do not know anyone else who stutters, which can leave them feeling alone in their struggle with communication. Tricia Hedinger, MS, CCC-SLP, assistant professor and speech-language pathologist at the Hearing and Speech Center, recently had two articles published. In November 2016, she released “A New Approach to Self-Disclosure,” in which she discussed ideas for helping people who stutter manage difficult speaking situations. In December, “Taking Clinical Education Outside” showcased the department’s Volunteer Your Voice camp, which is specially designed for children ages 8 to 15 with speech, language and hearing disorders. Hedinger serves as the camp’s director. “Getting the word out to members of the community regarding available resources is critical in making connections among people who stutter,” said Hedinger.
Sue Hume, PhD, CCC-SLP, associate professor in the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, released an article in October 2016 titled, “Stuck on First No Longer,” which was directed at the treatment of resistant speech sound disorders. Dr. Hume used a baseball analogy comparing the child’s inability to progress to being stuck on first base. She also provided some suggestions for clinicians to try to overcome the obstacles impeding progress. “I wrote the article due to my experiences with children who struggle to achieve carryover and generalization of speech production targets into conversation,” said Dr. Hume. “I also hear the same concerns from former students and other speech-language pathologists who face similar situations.”
Emily Clark Noss, MA, CCC-SLP; Kelly R. Yeager, AuD, CCC-A, speech-language pathologist and audiologist respectively for the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, teamed up in October 2016 to write “ Beyond the Clinic and Classroom,” which focuses on teaching counseling to graduate students. Students noted that prior to this training, their comfort level with counseling parents and children regarding hearing loss was relatively low. The students also felt less confident about counseling children than parents. Post-training surveys indicated that students’ individual ability to counsel families on the acceptance of hearing loss improved. “Teaching students beyond the clinic and classroom about counseling skills has been encouraging for me as a clinical educator,” said Noss. “It is rewarding to see the connections being made practically, academically, and clinically. I hope that others can use the information in the article and apply this type of instruction in a university setting.”
Often in patient care, the focus is often on goal setting, documentation, functional outcomes, and productivity. While this is important, Ellen Hamby, PhD, CCC-SLP, associate professor in the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, encourages individuals to look “Beyond the Data.” Published in November 2016, the paper emphasizes the importance of building patient relationships while tracking data and outcomes. “So many clinicians lose sight of the individual because their focus is so consumed by other areas,” said Dr. Hamby.” It’s often easy to forget the importance of building a relationship by getting to know our patients as unique individuals and allowing them to teach us how to best serve them. We need to remember that our profession is an art as well as a science — that it’s about communication and not just data points, because data points neither tell the whole story nor always reflect the most important aspects of a patient’s progress. It is my hope to get the pendulum swinging back in that direction.”