Honors for Truesdail
Truesdail ranked "top" by U.S. News & World Report
For the men, women, and children who use the services of the nonprofit Truesdail Center for Communicative Disorders, it came as no surprise when U.S. News & World Report ranked it a top graduate school.
“There isn’t really anything like this in the whole Inland Empire, that special attention with people who are going to be doing this for a living with a supervisor who is an expert in their field,” said Ryan Bartlett, whose son, Elliott, has autism and is enrolled at the center. “It’s changed our lives.”
The Truesdail Center offers speech-language and hearing programs for infants, children, and adults with disorders and disabilities including stuttering, cleft palate, autism, traumatic brain injury, and hearing impairment. According to Michael Groher Ph.D., professor and chair of the Truesdail Center, the award is important because it not only supports the University of Redlands’ recognition of the program as a center of excellence, but also because of the caliber of students it will attract.
“The strongest graduate school applicants often search for schools that are ranked as having quality programs,” he said. “Attracting the best and brightest can only strengthen what we do.”
Participants are evaluated and work with graduate student clinicians who are earning their degrees in speech/language pathology. Licensed faculty members oversee the students, and give feedback and suggestions.
“It not only offers quality care to families in the community, but provides an outstanding atmosphere in which to learn clinical skills for our graduate students,” Groher said. “Faculty consistently provide educational and research support to our graduate students through our ‘open door’ policy, each with quality credentials recognized by graduate faculty in other communicative disorders departments across the country.”
When Elliott Bartlett started at Truesdail, his speech was “really, really delayed,” Ryan Bartlett said. Now two years later, “it’s been a huge progression. Elliott’s able to communicate more effectively, where before we basically had to translate what he was saying to other people. He’s integrated in a regular Kindergarten class, participates, and is confident enough to speak up. I’m super proud.”
According to his father, Elliott enjoys working closely with the clinicians.
“He has a relationship with these therapists and they’re like his friends, which is just awesome because he feels like he trusts them and is able to learn a lot from them,” Ryan said. “He has a new one every semester, and each one brings their own flavor.”
It’s also a family affair, with Elliott’s big brother Benjamin getting involved.
“It makes it more natural for Elliott, and so Benjamin feels proud of himself because he’s able to help and he has a good time,” Ryan said.
After Bob Corkrum had a stroke in 2009, the now 70-year-old was unable to say much besides a made-up word. After a year of rehabilitation, he could communicate “yes” and “no,” but his insurance had run out and his wife, Sharon, began searching for new resources.
“Bob had progressed, and I was desperate to keep it up,” she said. “I called Truesdail and was crying and begging them to let Bob in. I knew they had a waiting list, and then we got the phone call that there was an opening and Bob could start. It’s been a Godsend.”
A specific program was built for Bob, which changed depending on his needs.
“Bob is very goal-oriented and wanted to know what he was working towards,” Sharon said. “He wanted to be able to speak and communicate with our friends again. Bob was very reticent about socializing with his disability, so we worked on that.”
“I wanted to have strategies,” Bob said. “I learned to ask who, what, where, when, why, and how.”
Now, Bob is able to have conversations again after his hours of one-on-one and group training, and Sharon is grateful that she was able to take an active role in his recovery.
“We are told things to do at home, and we practice,” she said. “I wish this was something that was available to more folks. I am so grateful for everything they do.”
There isn’t a typical Truesdail student. Susan Reddick had already earned two degrees from the University of Redlands – a B.S. in business and sociology and an M.B.A. – when she decided to change careers.
“I knew of Truesdail and its good reputation from when I went to school, but it was always like this far, distant building,” she said. “I ran into friends who had gone through Truesdail, and they still loved what they did 20 years later. I did some research and Truesdail still had an amazing reputation.”
While earning her M.S. in communicative disorders, Reddick and her fellow students worked at hospitals and schools and at the Truesdail Center itself.
“We intentionally worked in all of the different fields: children with autism, adults with brain injuries, early language development, school age language development, articulation,” she said. “You make it through all of the different areas, which is amazing for learning. The professors and staff have high expectations, but they are extremely supportive and want you to achieve and be the best therapist once you’re out there.”
Working so closely with clients each semester reminded Reddick of why she had chosen this new field.
“You realize you’re part of the journey with those families,” she said. “They come to you in different states, from parents trying to discover the needs of their young children to older people trying to regain something that’s been taken or lost. It’s a good balance between research into techniques and therapy and empathy.”