Our students rotate through our more than thirty practicum sites, located in the Louisville Metro area and Southern Indiana, every eight to sixteen weeks. By the time they graduate, students will have experienced the rigors and responsibilities of the profession in a hands-on experience within the context of several different facilities with populations of various ages and communication and swallowing challenges.
All students begin their practicum experience with an introductory placement within the local public school system. Each student is supervised by a licensed, certified and experienced public school speech-language pathologist who introduces the student to both diagnostic and therapeutic services. The caseload varies across ages, pre-K through high school, and disabilities, mild through profound. Graduate clinicians encounter children and adolescents with phonological, fluency, voice and language disorders. This program is coordinated by doctoral level faculty at the university who serve as liaisons between the university and the public schools to ensure student success during the initial clinical experience.
Some of our practicum sites are maintained by, or have departmental faculty on their staff. In other sites however, practicing speech-language pathologists have agreed to mentor our students in the role of clinical supervisors.
Faculty in Private Practice
Faculty-based private practices and practicum sites with faculty on staff provide students with a broad spectrum of pediatric and adult experiences, including voice, swallowing, fluency, cognitive, and language evaluations as well as therapy.
Students gain hands on experience in a number of Kentucky and Indiana hospitals, such as University of Louisville Hospital, Norton Hospital Downtown, Norton Suburban Hospital, Floyd Memorial Hospital, Jewish Hospital, Kosair Children's Hospital, Baptist Health Louisville, Baptist Health LaGrange and its satellites. Students gain hands on experience in either the rehabilitative units or in bedside care.
Several large habilitation/rehabilitation centers also host our students: Frazier Rehabilitation Institute, the KIDS Center, Frazier NeuroRehab, Norton Neuroscience, Kaleidoscope Services, Mattingly Center, Parkway Medical Center, Southern Indiana Rehabilitation Hospital: Bridgepointe Clinic, The Chatter Box, Associates in Pediatric Therapy, NeuroRestorative, Episcopal Church Home, Pathways Brain Injury Program at Christopher East and Christopher East Nursing Home and Home of the Innocents. Some of these centers receive patients as extensions of their hospitals stays or on an as-needed basis. Some are residential facilities for long-term care of adults or children with severe disorders such as brain injury, cognitive impairment, or neuromuscular impairment. Centers range in size and patient population from large to intimate.
Other Community Agencies
The Louisville area has outstanding community agencies that provide diagnostic and treatment services specifically to children. Entech Enabling Technologies offers technology-based services and therapy and Weisskopf Child Evaluation Center services children and adolescents with autism and feeding disorders. The Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs provides services to children with a variety of needs, including craniofacial anomalies and cleft lip and palate. Students have access to the highly trained medical and therapy staff at these facilities while obtaining valuable experience in diagnosing and treating related disorders.
Local Private Practices
In additional to the private practices run by the faculty, other speech language pathologists in the private sector offer practicum sites to our students. Our graduate students work directly with these professionals while gaining experience under their supervision.
In addition to medical and rehabilitative facilities, students will initially rotate into the Kentucky public schools. Since the introduction of legislation that mandates free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for all children, regardless of disability, therapy within the public school necessitates that clinicians work in concert with teachers and support personnel to plan a child’s therapy program for maximal benefit. Students interested in teacher certification will do an additional school rotation to fulfill the student teaching requirement in the public schools. Students may also have a practicum placement at the Heuser Hearing and Language Academy. The school has a Parent Infant Program, Preschool and Kindergarten, as well as, a pilot program for grades 1-3. Specialized speech and language services are provided on-site. The Bluegrass Center for Autism has two campuses serving children with Autism Spectrum Disorders through the age of 21. Students may also participate in full-time practicum in the Greater Clark County Indiana schools.
First Steps, Kentucky's Early Intervention System, serves children from birth to three years of age. Under the supervision of qualified professional speech-language pathologists, student clinicians provide treatment to infants and children in their home.
For the rotation of their final semester, students have the opportunity to arrange practicum at an approved site anywhere in the country for the last 8 weeks. For example, previous students have completed their final rotation at sites in Arizona, Tennessee, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Virginia, Ohio, Washington, DC, Indiana, and Florida. These placements may provide networking opportunities for future employment.