Originally Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2009, 8:50 pm
Last Updated: Sept. 22, 2009, 10:30 am

Augustana a leader in treating speech problems

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By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com

ROCKISLAND-- Clients from 31 cities in seven counties come to Augustana College for speciality services for speech, language and hearing disorders.

The Augustana Center for Speech, Language and Hearing serves approximately 85 clients per term who work with both licensed and certified faculty and/or students, as it is a teaching clinic. The clients are of any ages, but the majority are children, and clinic staff work with various disorders such as language impairments, speech impairments, cognitive or developmental disabilities, autism, stuttering, hearing loss and tongue thrust disorder, said Dr. Kathy Jakielski, associate professor and department chair.

Because it is a teaching clinic and Augustana underwrites a portion of the clinic costs, its costs for services are lower than other private clinics, Ms. Jakielski said.

The clinic at Augustana, which is approximately 60 years old, is one of the oldest in the U.S., and it is believed to have pre-dated the clinic at the University of Iowa, where the field was launched, she said.

Ms. Jakielski said it is crucial to get services early as children with a speech or language disorder are at-risk for developing problems in several areas. "If left untreated, a child could experience a learning disability, reading failure, academic failure, a social interaction disorder or conduct disorder. Communication permeates all areas,"Ms. Jakielski said.

She said she believes TomWelge's Mississippi River Apraxia Challenge Ride '09 is important because it is raising awareness and money for the Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America.

"We take speech for granted. We don't have to think about speech,"Ms. Jakielski said, adding there is a healthy percentage of children who do not develop speech changes and growth without therapeutic support.

"Unless you have a child in your family with an impairment, you are not very aware of it,"she said. "Mr. Welge's ride is another way of saying not every child develops speech normally."