The Master of Arts in Communication and Learning Disorders (CDIS) prepares students for service careers in speech-language pathology through comprehensive course work with an emphasis on clinical training. The master's program satisfies all academic and practicum requirements for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and for state licensure by the Texas Committee of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.
Speech-language pathologists assist patients in developing and or recovering communication skills and are employed in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and early childhood programs.
Clinical practicum is an integral part of the graduate educational experience. It broadens the student’s experience in working with a variety of communication disorders in clients of all ages. Students need a total of 400 clock hours to satisfy practicum requirements, of which 325 must be taken at the graduate level. 375 out of the 400 hours must be direct client contact. Practicum requirements include the successful completion of clinical competencies as outlined in the program’s Clinic Handbook.
Part of the student’s practicum experience is obtained under direct faculty supervision at the University’s Harry Jersig Speech and Hearing Center. Students also gain on-the-job experience in other facilities including public schools, rehabilitation centers, community clinics and hospitals.
Bilingual speech-language pathology
The graduate CDIS program offers students the option to acquire academic knowledge and clinical skills needed to provide bilingual (English/Spanish) assessment and intervention. A bilingual certificate is earned through the completion of a minimum of 50 hours of Spanish-language clinical practicum and five hours of specialty coursework including a selected topic course taught in Spanish.
A limited number of graduate assistantships are available for Communication Disorders (CDIS) graduate students. Some assistantships are awarded by faculty when applicants are offered admission and students may apply for any remaining positions by completing a GA application at the beginning of the fall semester after acceptance into the graduate program.
National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA)
Students in the CDIS program also have the opportunity to join the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA). The Association, sponsored by the Communication and Learning Disorders department, strives to build a closer affiliation between students and professionals in the field of communication disorders.
Woolfolk Professional Development Conference
The Elizabeth Carrow-Woolfolk Conference is presented every two years by the Communication and Learning Disorders department, the Harry Jersig Center, and the Continuing Education Office. The conference is dedicated to promoting research in child language disorders and advancing the treatment of children with language and learning disabilities. The conference is named for benefactor Elizabeth Carrow-Woolfolk, PhD. Dr. Woolfolk, a nationally recognized expert in communications disorders and OLLU alumna, has developed a comprehensive set of tests to evaluate oral and written comprehension and expression. She established OLLU's communication and learning disorders program more than 50 years ago and continues as an active supporter of the program.