BW Speech Pathology Center Adapts to Sudden Changes

As the world has struggled to find a new normal in this pandemic, Baldwin Wallace’s Speech Pathology Center has had to find one too. With the university switching to remote learning for the rest of the semester, the Speech Pathology center has closed.

“Once the stay at home order was implemented, our services had to change. We suspended face to face services indefinitely and moved as many of our therapy sessions to teletherapy as possible,” said Christie Needham, the Director of Clinical Education and associate professor. “We still see over half of our patients with the use of virtual services.  Currently, no one is using the building.” With a typical number of around 250 patients a week, the building offers free speech and language therapy services to both the BW university and the greater Northeast Ohio community.

While some can adapt easily to online learning, for others it isn’t as easy. “All things considered; the students adapted very well to the new format.  They were actively engaged with the course material and were able to apply course concepts to the various activities and assignments,” said Dr. Colleen Visconti, professor, department of communication sciences and disorders.

“One of the hardest things for students was being in-front of a computer screen for hours on end; and the isolation of being alone in a room while they were working.”

Speech Pathology students are required to conduct clinicals for their major, which have been moved online. Students have not only had to adjust to online, said Needham, but also pick up new cases due to scheduling or even have new supervisors.

“Say you were taking a math course, and when classes switched to virtual, you also got a new instructor.  That is what happened to some of our students, and they have been flexible and gracious with the changes,” said Needham. “We have a saying in our department, ‘trust the process,’ and our students have stepped up, they have shown grace and empathy, which will make them amazing therapists someday.”