CSD Academic Clinic navigates care with telehealth

The UK Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) Academic Clinic, a graduate student and licensed speech language pathologist operated facility that provides services to children with communication disorders, pivoted quickly under the direction of Clinic Director Donna Morris, MA, CCC-SLP, earlier this year to adapt their model of care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our service model had to change so quickly, and we wanted to ensure our clients would continue to receive high quality services,” said Aimee Sayre, MA, CCC-SLP, academic support services director for the clinic.

For the past five years, Joneen Lowman, PhD, CCC-SLP, CSD associate professor, provided telehealth services to clients through a grant supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Program. “The knowledge gained allowed the clinic to rapidly adapt our practices to provide online services to clients this summer,” she said. 

In addition to providing speech and language services, the clinic operates as a space where CSD graduate students receive clinical education.

“Many clinical rotations were not able to accommodate students for the summer semester,” Sayre continued. “Through telehealth, our clinic was able to give approximately 50 graduate students the opportunity to work with 30 families and provide them with experience using telehealth before graduating, a skill highly sought after by employers.”

The clinic’s annual “Talk About Fun” summer camp involves integrating both group and individual sessions for its clients. The camp is supervised by a licensed speech-language pathologist and conducted by a team of graduate students enrolled in the UK CSD Master’s Program. This year, the camp was quite different due to COVID-19 public health protocols.

“We hosted the summer program completely online,” Sayre said. “It was a great success! Our students and clinical instructors incorporated fun themes and individualized activities to provide a rich experience for our clients. The progress we saw in our clients was remarkable.”

After evaluating survey responses from client families, the CSD Academic Clinic began operating as a hybrid facility on Sept. 7, offering both in-person and telehealth sessions.