SLHS Community Conversations
During the 2020-2021 academic year, the SLHS community is gathering for ongoing community conversations regarding issues related to diversity, inclusion and equity.
- Book clubs in which faculty-students-staff meet to talk about books that address challenging issues (e.g., How to be an Antiracist by author and historian Ibram X. Kendi).
- Small-group discussions around films, talks, and campus events regarding diversity, inclusion and equity.
- Town-hall dialogues facilitated by the diversity-equity-inclusion committee.
- Re-examination of what “professionalism” means in our field in the context of diversity and inclusion
- Ongoing examination of our curriculum with lens of diversity, equity and inclusion. The SLHS faculty is committed to ongoing discussion and dialogue regarding how to integrate and explicate issues around diversity, inclusion and culture across our curriculum. This commitment includes specifically identifying topics related to diversity, inclusion and culture on course syllabi.
SLHS Diversity Highlights
Dr. Baiduc's HEARD Lab: Hearing loss and cardiovascular disease risk profiles in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. A population-based study designed to explore the association between cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, both individually and in combination, on hearing in the Hispanic/Latino population.
Dr. Baiduc's HEARD Lab: Aggregate cardiovascular disease risk and auditory profiles: The Jackson Heart Study. An epidemiological study of ~1100 participants from the Jackson Heart Study, which was designed to better understand cardiovascular disease risk and related health outcomes in African Americans.
Dr. Kan's CLL Lab: Research focuses on bilinguals who learn one minority language (L1) from birth at home and start to learn a community language (L2) during their early childhood. Examines the cognitive and language processing in monolingual and bilingual children and the roles of language experience and cognitive processing ability in language learning.
Dr. Hilger's CU Motor Speech Lab: Analyzing the perception of phrasal prosody in African-American speakers with dysarthria.
Dr. Brennan’s ANCHAR Lab: One line of research includes investigations of reading skill and disability in adults and children (from all backgrounds, including those from low verses high SES communities). A second line of research includes investigations of second language orthographic learning and comparisons of different methods of instruction for learning to read a new orthography. Individual differences in language experience and phonological skill are considered critical facets of this research. Finally, research has been conducted on perception of gender in voice samples and comparison of voice perception of those who are and are not part of the LGBTQ+ population.
The coursework offered in SLHS provides numerous opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students to learn about underrepresented populations and different language learning. Some examples are listed below.
- American Sign Language (Moers and Boyd): American Sign Language (ASL) instructors provide ASL classes not only for the SLHS department, but also for the CU campus at large. As part of the ASL classes, they instructors include teaching not only about ASL, but about the Deaf culture. Instructors offer informal SLHS community sign sessions.
- SLHS 4576 - Communication Neuroscience (Dr. Brennan): Provides an introduction to the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology that collectively give rise to human communication including speech perception and production, language processing and formulation, and learning and memory and how neuropathologies affect processes of communication. This course also provides lectures and discussions on (1) racial disparities in health care for neurologic disorders, (2) neuroanatomy of implicit racial bias, and (3) cross-linguistic comparisons of language processing in the brain.
- SLHS 5242 – School Age: Language Disorders and Learning Disabilities (Dr. Brennan): Focuses on the nature, assessment and treatment of spoken language disorders and language learning disabilities in children and adolescents. Topics include (1) assessment, diagnosis, and intervention for linguistically diverse children including children who are English language learners, bilingual/multilingual, or speakers of non-standard English dialects, (2) differentiation of language differences versus language disorders, (3) cultural competence in clinical practice, (4) working with translators when conducting assessments and intervention, and (5) racial disparities in the eligibility and provision of special education services in schools.
- SLHS 5292 - Neurogenic Speech Disorders in Adults (Dr. Hilger): Students recently completed a cultural competency project, summarizing chapters and articles that related to healthcare disparities or to cultural competencies in motor speech disorders specifically. Students discussed one way they will adapt their clinical practice for cultural humility.
- SLHS 5352 - Bilinguals with Communication Disorders (Dr. Kan): Covers current empirical research regarding the linguistic and cognitive system of bilinguals with and without communication disorders. Addresses cross-cultural and cross-linguistic issues in selection and implementation of assessment and intervention procedures. Discusses various intervention strategies for working with bilinguals and their families.
- SLHS 5576 – Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology of Communication (Dr. Brennan): Provides a clinical perspective of the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology that collectively give rise to human communication including hearing, speech perception and production, language, and cognition. Additionally, this course also reviews racial disparities in health care for neurologic disorders and cross-linguistic comparisons of language processing in the brain.
- SLHS 6000 - Special Topics Seminar - Service Delivery with Diverse Populations (Dr. Damico): Provides practical methodology for dealing with service delivery to students from diverse backgrounds based upon defensible theoretical and research findings. Issues directly and indirectly relating to racial and ethnic equality and justice will provide some of the context from which these strategies will emerge. This also involves ELL (English Language Learning) students who may be seen in Special Education, speakers of a different dialect in the schools, and students from poverty and other diverse backgrounds.
Dr. Pui Fong Kan: Grant for a community supported project focused on the culturally responsive practices of speech-language pathologists and addressing the needs of culturally-linguistically diverse (CLD) families. The project aims at connecting the cultural practices among CLD families (likely to be refugees) and SLPs.
- Many immigrant/CLD families are reluctant to seek professional services because of language-cultural barriers. Such barriers might affect their understanding of the diagnosis and delay intervention.
- Project members interviewed several CLD families who have children with communication disorders.
- Created training materials with the interview video clips in response to clinical questions.
- Invited community SLPs to attend multiple workshops in various places in Colorado.
- Shared the training materials with the community SLPs
- Presented the training materials at the Colorado Speech Language Association Convention and the annual convention of the American Speech Language Hearing Association in Orlando, FL.
Faculty memebers Christine Brennan and Sherri Tennant: Empowering Economically Disadvantaged Adolescents with Complex Communication Needs
SLHS faculty and students provide training for speech-language pathologists, administrators, educators, paraprofessionals and other staff at the Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST). Students at DSST are from economically disadvantaged and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. These students have complex communications needs due to various disabilities and are unable to use speech to meet daily communication needs. This project includes student assessment, assists with acquiring dedicated augmentative-alternative communication (AAC) systems for each student, and provides intervention to the students learning to use their new AAC systems.
CU-Boulder National Student Speech, Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA): The CU NSSLHA chapter organizes screenings of films related to communication differences and disorders. Last year NSSLHA held a screening of a new film, My Beautiful Stutter, about people’s experiencing with dysfluent speech.
CU-Boulder Student Academy of Audiology: The SAA created the Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Task Force to address the lack of diversity in audiology as highlighted by the 2020 Audiology Student Census. SAA D&I has the following objectives:
- Create a safe environment and community for audiology students of diverse backgrounds — including but not limited to cultural diversity, racial diversity, religious diversity, sex/gender identity diversity, sexual orientation, and individuals with disabilities — to share experiences, make connections, and grow personally and professionally.
- Educate all audiology students on topics that help them respect, acknowledge, value, encourage, and empower those with differing experiences.
- Identify needs and create resources to address issues faced by students of diverse backgrounds.
- Organize outreach and educational events aimed to increase audiology awareness in underrepresented communities and create resources to facilitate local SAA chapters’ outreach efforts.
These objectives will be addressed through the following activities:
- Live streams/webinars highlighting diversity-related issues
- Blog posts/infographics emphasizing varying cultural experience
SAA board members also plan to create more events, speakers, and opportunities in effort to advocate for diversity and inclusion initiatives this upcoming semester.
The SLHC provides treatment for a number of clients with diverse backgrounds and clinical needs and continues to develop additional bilingual opportunities for clients and students through the clinic. Below are some examples of the services/experiences they provide.
- Assessment and training of gender expression for transgender and non-binary individuals. The SLHC also participates in outreach events such as the Transforming Gender conference and working with local support groups.
- SLHC and CU Anschutz co-hosted a workshop on elective services for transgender voice and communication, for which they received a Diversity and Inclusive Excellence grant.
- Assessment and treatment is also provided for clients who speak English as a second language, adults who are recovering lost language skills as a result of brain injury, and people of all ages with developmental disabilities including those who require Augmentative/Alternative Communication devices.
- The SLHC places students in internships which offer experience with a diverse clientele such as with the Denver Public Schools and some Denver area hospitals.
- The SLHC and Theatre and Dance department collaborated to create a theatrical production involving individuals with aphasia due to stroke. The goal of the project was to promote life participation among individuals with chronic aphasia. Faculty and students from the Theatre and Dance departments learned about individuals with communication difficulties arising from brain injury. The culmination of the project was a performance of the Wizard of Oz for family, friends, and community members.
- SLHC offers an off-campus clinic training placement with the Boulder County Head Start program. This clinic assignment offers significant experience with bilingual children and children from economically challenged families.
The CLC is an integrated preschool which includes two class groups of children (toddlers and preschoolers).
- Four of the children in each of the groups are children with identified special needs who are being served on an Individualized Education Program in community school settings as well.
- Many of the children who attend the CLC are considered typical in terms of their developmental needs, but present with other special learning needs such as being English language learners and coming from an adoption background.