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December 2007 Issue

Janet Stein (second from left) assists graduate student Eileen Cremering (left) with performing a pure tone test on classmate Katie Brinkman. Students use tests, such as this one, when working with Head Start children.
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Screening Program: A 'Win-Win ... Win' for UC Students and Local Children

Published December 2007

An eight-year partnership between UC's College of Allied Health Sciences and Hamilton County Head Start has resulted in thousands of hearing and speech screenings for local children.


Janet Stein, UC adjunct assistant professor and audiology practicum coordinator in the department of communication sciences and disorders, calls the UC-Head Start collaboration a "win-win ... win."


"Our work with Head Start not only provides these children with much needed hearing and speech screenings, it also offers not one, but two groups of graduate students the required clinical hours in their minor areas needed to complete their degrees," says Stein.


The Hamilton County Head Start program, funded through federal and state government grants, provides educational, health, nutritional and social assistance to low- and moderate-income families.


Graduate students in audiology and speech-language pathology are required to master their specific fields and gain knowledge of related areas, which will help them to identify and manage a wide range of speech, language and hearing disorders.


Students must complete a number of clinical hours conducting speech screenings. Speech-language pathology students must finish a number of hearing screening hours.


Since the latter part of a


student's academic career is spent in clinics in their specific areas of focus, students take advantage of early opportunities to gain their initial clinical experiences, such as with Head Start, which is offered during the fall quarter of their first year of graduate school.


Speech students are trained in hearing screening techniques such as tympanometry (an exam that tests pressure inside the ear to see how the eardrum moves) and otoscopy (the common ear examination that uses an otoscope to see inside the ear).


These procedures are done along with what Stein calls the most important test, the pure tone exam, which determines how well children hear certain frequencies or pitches.


Audiology students perform the Fluharty test for speech and language disorders-a four-part examination that evaluates children's articulation, comprehension, repetition (repeating words in the proper sequence with correct grammar) and ability to identify common items.


The Head Start screenings provided by UC graduate students are not considered diagnostic tests. The student screeners "grade" children on a pass/fail basis, and, when necessary, recommend rescreening or further evaluation by a certified audiologist, speech-language path-ologist and/or physician.


Speech-language and audiology graduate students also participate in a number of other hearing and speech screenings at Tristate sites, all supervised by a certified school speech-language pathologists.

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