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Arnold School of Public Health


Clinical Services

Speech

Accent Training

The USC Speech & Hearing Research Center currently offers programming for individuals interested in improving their accurate production of Standard American English (SAE). Participants undergo an extensive evaluation of the entire American English phonetic inventory in a variety of contexts and levels, and of prosodic features such as intonation and rhythm. An evaluation of syntax, grammar, and morphology, in both writing and conversation, is also done. Training consists of systematic learning of American English phonemes and prosody, as well as any other linguistic differences identified through the evaluation.

Articulation

Articulation, or the correct production of speech sounds in a language, affects children with communication difficulties more than any other problem. An articulation delay or disorder may affect one or more sounds. An assessment requires a thorough evaluation of anatomical structures (mouth and face), functional movements (tongue, lips), and the production of the concerned sound(s) in multiple contexts. In cases where the intelligibility of speech is significantly affected, further in-depth analysis of speech patterns, motor-planning, language (vocabulary, grammar), and phonemic awareness (pre-literacy skills) is required. The evaluation process is designed to identify underlying strengths and weakness, possible causative and/or contributing factors, additional barriers to communication in everyday activities as well as to determine a prognosis for overall improvement. Treatment techniques are based on diagnostic findings with individual and/or group programming being recommended. Parent/family involvement in therapy and at home is strongly encouraged.

Childhood Apraxia of Speech

Childhood apraxia of speech is a specific speech disorder estimated to occur in 1-10 per 1,000 children. Also referred to as developmental apraxia of speech, childhood apraxia of speech is the inability to plan and execute motor movements necessary for continuous and intelligible speech. Children with childhood apraxia of speech often exhibit difficulty with vowel production and with the prosody (rhythm and stress) of their language. Delays in vocabulary and grammar are often observed in children suspected of having childhood apraxia of speech. Due to its complex nature, an extensive evaluation is needed for accurate diagnosis of the disorder. The Center faculty uses an evidence-based diagnostic protocol for accurate assessment and, ultimately, treatment of childhood apraxia of speech.

 

Stuttering

Stuttering, a speech disorder characterized by involuntary disruptions in the forward flow of speech, affects approximately 1% of the population across all ages (beginning as early as 18 months). The impact of stuttering is not only in the behavioral realm, there are also affective and cognitive consequences. The USC Speech & Hearing Research Center offers therapy services for individuals who stutter based on the philosophy that stuttering intervention is most effective when it is sensitive to the entire experience of stuttering, not just the temporary interruptions in speech. Evaluation, treatment and research protocols are carried out by certified speech-language pathologists and graduate-level clinicians under their direct supervision. Following an initial evaluation to determine the severity and developmental level of stuttering, the most appropriate evidence-based treatment strategy is then selected. Treatment is also offered for other fluency disorders, including neurogenic stuttering and cluttering. The Center also offers support services through the National Stuttering Association.

Stuttering Support Group

The National Stuttering Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing hope, dignity, support, education, and empowerment to children and adults who stutter and their families.

The Midlands, South Carolina Chapter of the National Stuttering Association draws members from a wide radius around the state. Regular meetings have participation by adults and younger individuals who stutter, their family members and other loved ones, speech-language pathologists with an interest in stuttering, and graduate students. Each meeting is different, but always fun, educational and uplifting.

Voice

The Voice Clinic at the USC Speech & Hearing Research Center offers evaluation and treatment for persons with organic, functional, and neurological voice disorders. Assessment and intervention protocols are carried out by certified speech-language pathologists and graduate level clinicians under their direct supervision. The voice diagnostic protocol includes extensive case history including: medical, surgical, lifestyle, occupational, or emotional factors that may be causing or contributing a decrease in voice quality; perceptual judgments of voice quality; acoustic and aerodynamic measurements and stimulablity for voice improvement through therapy. The speech-language pathologist discusses possible behavioral treatment options and work with the patient’s ENT to provide care. If voice therapy is warranted, the patient is enrolled in an individualized program which may include: vocal hygiene education, decreasing muscle tension, laryngeal massage, resonant voice therapy, vocal function exercises, and many more types of research-proven treatment methods.

For more information, contact the USC Speech and Hearing Research Center at 777-2614,
extension 9.


Language

Auditory-Verbal Therapy

The University of South Carolina Speech and Hearing Center offers weekly Auditory-Verbal Therapy child/parent sessions. The Center is equipped with Certified Auditory-Verbal Therapists.

What is Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVT)?

The mission of this therapeutic approach is to provide individuals with hearing loss the ability to listen and to use verbal communication with the use of hearing and to become independent, participating, and contributing citizens in the mainstream society (adapted from the AVI position statement, 2001). 

AVT develops spoken language and auditory skills for deaf children by teaching a child to use the hearing provided by a hearing aid or a cochlear implant.

Therapy is individualized and parents are actively involved in the therapy session in order to facilitate carryover of skills into other environments. A goal of AVT is for hearing and active listening to become an integral part of a child's communication, recreation, socialization, education and work.

How is Auditory-Verbal Therapy Different from Other Kinds of Speech Therapy?

Many therapists provide services to improve communication skills of children with hearing impairment. Some therapists teach American Sign Language, while others use total communication, cued speech, or other techniques. Auditory- Verbal Therapy does not use sign language. Therapy is centered around meaningful, fun activities to maximize the child’s use of hearing as a primary sense for speaking and learning at school.

Who Provides Auditory-Verbal Services?

Certified Auditory-Verbal therapists are specially trained for providing this type of therapy. Some therapists are not certified but do follow the principles of the Auditory-Verbal philosophy. Talking to a prospective therapist will let you know his or her beliefs and practices. Meeting children and parents from various programs will also help you assess the appropriateness of a program for your child.

Augmentative/Alternative Communication

The USC Speech & Hearing Research Center offers diagnostic and treatment programs for individuals of all ages in the selection of communication systems. Systems are designed to either augment verbal communication or to use as an alternative to verbal communication. Evaluation, treatment and research protocols are carried out by certified speech-language pathologists and graduate level clinicians under their direct supervision. The AAC diagnostic protocol includes evaluation of the client’s speech- language strengths and weakness and then proceeds to determination of the client’s optimum level of symbolization, method of access, and preferences for devices. Certified speech- language pathologists educates the client about the various devices available which meet their needs and guides the client and their family through the purchase process. Once the device is purchased, evidence-based therapy, allowing the client to maximize the use of the device, is also provided either on a group or individual basis.

Language and Literacy

The Center is host to a variety of language programs designed to treat a wide range of communication delays and disorders. Individual and group therapy is tailored to meet the social and educational goals of the client and strongly encourages parent/family involvement. Language stimulation groups for toddlers and preschoolers provide language enrichment during fun-filled movement and music activities, stressing age-appropriate books for learning pre-literacy skills (listening to reading, turning pages of a book, etc.). “Listening Tots” is one of these language enrichment groups for 2 and 3 year old children.

“Communication Through Literacy” is the Center’s language program for older pre-school and school-aged children. Individual and/or group therapy provide vocabulary enrichment, pre-literacy and literacy development (phonologic awareness such as rhyming, reading comprehension, etc.), as well as encourage social-pragmatic interaction. Parent education is a main focus of all language therapy at the Center, providing families with information on facilitating communication in everyday activities.

“Listening Tots”

“Listening Tots” is a language stimulation group for children 2 and 3 years of age. A fun, language-enriched environment is provided for children with language delays. The group meets for 1 hour per week and the sessions are designed to simulate a preschool setting. Activities include “book time,” “song time” “arts/craft time” and “center time.” This group also provides family/parents an opportunity to gain support from each other.

Hispanic Initiative

The Hispanic/Latino population in South Carolina and in the United States in general has shown a significant increase in the past five years. The Hispanic Initiative at the USC Speech & Hearing Research Center was established to meet this growing need, being one of only a few programs in the state dedicated to this population. Research strongly supports the finding that children who exhibit deficits in language and literacy in their native language will have difficulty learning these skills in a second language. The purpose of the Hispanic Initiative is to identify monolingual and bilingual children who may be at-risk for language, speech, and learning delays or who already demonstrate delays in their primary and/or secondary languages. Evaluation and treatment is family-centered and dedicated to maintaining and developing the native language.

 

Hearing

Cochlear Implant Program

The USC Cochlear Implant Program at the USC Speech & Hearing Research Center is dedicated to providing meaningful sound to the lives of individuals with significant hearing loss through a partnership of medicine, technology, education, and rehabilitation. Our team of clinicians strives to offer both children and adults with significant hearing impairment the resources they need to learn to listen and speak-to communicate fully in the world around them.

Hearing Clinic

 

Recovery Groups

Recovery groups are designed to improve communication skills for individuals in ways that individualized treatment cannot. Individuals who share similar problems work together for one hour a week with graduate clinicians under the supervision of certified speech-language pathologists. Recovery groups provide the benefits of both treatment and support, resulting in enhanced progress toward functional communication goals. Eligibility for recovery groups is determined by an initial evaluation. Click on a recovery group for more information.

Reading Recovery Group

This weekly recovery group is for individuals with communication difficulties who also wish to improve their reading skills. Treatment focuses on improving reading comprehension and fluency as well as vocabulary development through reading aloud, silent reading, group discussions, and related activities.

Stroke Recovery Group


Support Groups

Support groups, in general, meet monthly, and these services are offered at no charge to the participants. Click on a group name for detailed information about each group, meeting times and places, etc. If you are interested in participating, please get in touch with the contact person for the corresponding group for date/time/location, or with any questions you may have.

Stuttering Support Group

The National Stuttering Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing hope, dignity, support, education, and empowerment to children and adults who stutter and their families.

The Midlands, South Carolina Chapter of the National Stuttering Association draws members from a wide radius around the state. Regular meetings have participation by adults and younger individuals who stutter, their family members and other loved ones, speech-language pathologists with an interest in stuttering, and graduate students. Each meeting is different, but always fun, educational and uplifting.

Cochlear Implant Support Group for Auditory Rehabilitation

Cochlear Implant Group for Auditory Rehabilitation is a weekly recovery group for adults with hearing loss who use a cochlear implant and/or hearing aids. There are two main purposes for this group (1) to provide support for individuals with hearing loss by visiting with other individuals with hearing loss and (2) to strengthen their auditory skills using their amplification device in a group setting by participating in various activities.


Prevention Programs

Preschool Screening Program

The USC Speech and Hearing Research Center has conducted speech, language, and hearing screenings in area daycares, preschools and private schools for over fifteen years. This community outreach program sends a team of faculty and graduate-level students to facilities throughout the greater Columbia area. The screening protocol is designed for children 2 years through 5 years of age who are likely to have a speech, language, hearing or communication problem. The pass/fail procedure may result in a recommendation for further evaluation by a speech-language pathologist or audiologist, monitoring of language, speech and hearing by the teacher(s) and parents or referral for other medical or professional services.

Vocational Rehabilitation

The South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation facility in West Columbia has served as a site for adult speech, language, hearing and swallowing screenings for over 10 years. The screening protocol identifies persons who are likely to have a language, speech (including swallowing), hearing, or cognitive impairment that may interfere with vocational or social functions or may contribute to additional medical conditions. The pass/fail procedure, carried out by a team of faculty and graduate-level students, may result in a recommendation for re-screening, a comprehensive speech and language evaluation, or a referral for other medical or professional services.