Before this semester is underway, we would like to wish good luck and farewell to the Master’s students on the AAC Collaboration Project who are starting their clinical externships in the coming days!
The externship is a full-time (forty hours per week), twelve- to fifteen-week experience in which students learn to function independently as speech-language pathologists under supervision and guidance from certified SLPs.
As part of the AAC Collaboration Project, Leah Brush, Laura Bitner, Anna Woodford, and Ann Marie Gardner, were able to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to provide outstanding evidence-based services to children who require AAC.
Before they start at their various sites, we asked the students what they gained from the grant and what they would miss most about the program.
Leah Brush will be going to St. Coletta in Washington, DC.
One thing I will miss about the program is collaborating with all of the incredible SLPs at PSU who work with individuals with CCN every day. One of the big things I learned in the program is how collaboration, whether it be with families, educators or support staff, is integral to high quality service provision with individuals who have CCN. Creating a community full of AAC rich environments is incredibly important for students who have CCN in the schools.
I learned about the importance of collaboration between other master’s students, special education teachers, and other professionals. We were able to practice collaboration at the local high school, and I loved that experience! One of the things I’ll miss the most are the frequent opportunities to collaborate with my peers and supervisors.
I got to learn a lot this past semester about different kinds of access and being flexible with plans when working in a classroom. Working at the local high school allowed us to plan activities that supported a wide variety of students to engage in meaningful participation. I’m excited to take these skills to the HMS School this spring. I’ll miss being able to brainstorm with my classmates/drawing on their areas of expertise when planning for clients. It’s been so awesome to see how much we’ve all grown and learned in the last year and a half.
The biggest thing that I have learned is that even though we are only a few voices in a very large field, we have the knowledge, passion and expertise to advocate for individuals with complex communication needs and educate the professionals that we work with on how to also be a part of providing evidence-based services for this population—and I am excited to start making that difference as I go to The Vista School in Hershey, PA this spring!
We are so proud of these students and are excited to see the impact they will make on the lives of individuals with complex communication needs who require AAC!