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NSUBA Speech Language Pathology Clinic aids community

(Broken Arrow)--A Speech Language Pathology clinic at Northeastern State University is expanding its reach to Broken Arrow to aid local families and help return speech to afflicted residents.

This clinic specializes in treating communication disorders and will be open one or two days a week. Fees for services will be applied on a sliding scale.

“The clinic on the BA campus is going to serve primarily adults who either have had the ability to speak and lost it or those who may have other types of speech problems, like stuttering or voice disorders,” said Dr. Karen Patterson, professor and program chair for speech language pathology.

People can lose the ability to speak for many reasons, including damage to the brain from stroke or disease, or damage to the nerves and muscles involved in the production of speech. Sometimes the reasons are unknown. These conditions are covered by most insurance providers, but benefits are limited. Patients are often unable to pay for extended care and can remain unable to communicate effectively.

“What we are doing is picking up where the insurance leaves off,” said Patterson.

Patients will receive treatment from graduate student-clinicians under the supervision of NSU faculty. The faculty are certified and licensed speech language pathologists. Meanwhile, participating graduate students can receive credit toward their degree.

Program developers Dr. Kent Hawkins and Dr. Ron Schaefer, professors in Northeastern’s SLP program, are realizing a long-term goal of opening a clinic in Broken Arrow.

Schaefer said several local hospitals and rehabilitation units have expressed interest in the clinic.

"We all believe it will greatly benefit area residents by filling a tremendous need for clients who still need help after leaving regular hospital or rehabilitation facilities," Schaefer said.

The Speech Pathology Language program has been on NSU's Tahlequah campus for more than 50 years. The graduate program, begun in 1987, is accredited through the Council on Academic Accreditation of The American Speech Language Hearing Association.

For more information, please contact (918) 444-3780 or (918) 444.3778. 

Published: 4/27/2011 2:40:26 PM

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