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 a placement within the local public school system. Each student is supervised by a licensed, certified and experienced 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 staffed by doctoral level faculty at the university who coordinate placements and 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 Norton Hospital Downtown, Norton Audubon Hospital, Norton Suburban Hospital, Floyd Memorial Hospital, Jewish Hospital, Kosair Children's Hospital, Baptist Hospital East, Baptist Hospital Northeast 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 CP K.I.D.S. Center, Frazier East, Kaleidoscope Services, Mattingly Center, Parkway Medical Center, Rauch Center, Southern Indiana Rehabilitation Hospital: Bridgepoint Clinic, Southern Indiana Rehabilitation Hospital, The Chatter Box, Cardinal Hill Health Services, Hazlewood Center, Christian Care Communities, Pathways 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 Weisskpopf Child Evaluatio Center services children and adolescents with autism and feeding disorders. The Children and Youth Project provides intervention to clients from birth to seventeen years who are severely economically challenged and focuses on therapy, as well as, early literacy. 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 facilties 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. Jo Lynn Baker and Company provide treatment to adults and children, while Kristen Yaden and Kelly Bates-Hardy offer services specifically to children in early intervention. Our graduate students work directly with these professionals while gaining experience under their supervision.
In addition to medical and rehabilitative facilities, students will 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.
Students also have the opportunity to work with Kentucky’s and Indiana’s Part C program, known as First Steps. With qualified professional speech-language pathologists, student clinicians visit infants and children to provide them with quality services at 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.
An Outstanding Experience
We are pleased to be able to offer our students the opportunity to participate in the hands-on application of the skills they have learned through coursework in such a wide array of settings. Feedback from students reflects their appreciation of this taste of the real world as an outstanding experience that helps to mold them as clinicians and inform their search for employment.