Language Literacy Lab

Communicative disorders

The spirit of collaboration is alive and well at the University of Redlands; recently, School of Education and Communicative Disorders students worked together to make an impact on children with reading and language difficulties.

For the first time, the programs teamed up to present the University of Redlands Language Literacy Lab (URL3). For several weeks during the summer, Communicative Disorders clinician students and teacher candidates in special education worked in tandem to offer language help in the morning and literacy aid in the afternoon. The graduate students worked with one or two children over the course of the program, with some of the kids only needing help in one area. At the conclusion of the Lab, each student presented to their peers and faculty members clips from their sessions and shared lessons learned.

“URL3 was very beneficial to the CDIS students in that it gave them insight into how the language difficulties of their clients impact their access to the academic curriculum, especially with reading,” Professor Cindy Wineinger of the Communicative Disorders department said. “It was also important that they had the experience with collaborating with other professionals that may not ‘speak their language’ with the same professional jargon and perspective.”

Starting the Lab helped special education teaching students fulfill their field work experience. Since many area schools are not open in July, it made sense to work in the Truesdail Center, which offers a summer clinic for children operated by the master’s students in Communicative Disorders.

“They have a wonderful clinic that is already staffed and set up,” Dr. Susan Porter, assistant professor in the School of Education, said. “It was perfect how it all came together.”

Fernando Flores ’08 found the experience enlightening. After working in finance for several years, he was ready for a change when he enrolled in the School of Education, but was unfamiliar with the new world he was entering. Being part of the Lab helped him gain confidence and experience.

“Coming into the field new, this was one of the most valuable resources we had in this program,” he said. “It was like being in the kiddie pool before having to be with the sharks.”

Flores worked closely with five-year-old Joshua, who was filled with energy but unsure of himself when it came to reading on his own.

“When he first started, he wouldn’t leave his mom’s side,” he said. “By the end he was in there by himself, able to be independent. The literacy program was amazing for him, and when his mom read to him at night, he started to recognize little words, and would jump ahead and say the word.”

Flores found that seeing his Communicative Disorders partner work with Joshua earlier in the day was also very beneficial for him.

“To go into an observation room and watch a clinician work with a student, that amount of background is amazing,” he said. “You really see their progress. I was trying to reinforce what they were doing in the morning, even though we were working on literacy.”

Posted by: Catherine Garcia '06
Dec. 2, 2013

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