Practicum Experiences

The clinical program is designed to give students multiple opportunities for practicum in various clinical settings in the community, with clients of all ages from a range of cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Clinical practica are scheduled each semester and supply opportunities for students to integrate and apply academic learning at progressively higher levels of performance and independence. Students need to be aware of the Department Background Check requirements for clinical placement. Graduate students in speech-language pathology will complete a variety of clinical experiences in many different clinical settings. Students will be placed in clinical sites only when they have had the appropriate academic background in preparation for the site. The academic curriculum and clinical program were designed to allow for coursework to occur before placement with a specific clinical population.

The process of assigning students to clinical sites is the responsibility of the Director of Clinical Education and clinical faculty to insure that all students have the opportunity to meet the skill competencies required for the Certificate of Clinical Competence. Students may not contact sites and arrange their own practicum, however, students will have the opportunity to provide input regarding their clinical placements. In cases where the clinical site has an application and interview process for students, the Director of Clinical Education will inform students of the application process and timeliness.

Clinical sites include the Cooperative Educational Services, Bridgeport, Trumbull and Waterbury Public Schools, Bridgeport and Norwalk Hospitals, Ludlowe Center for Rehabilitation and other clinical sites serving individuals with speech-language needs. Clinical competencies, clinical evaluations, clock hours and client demographics will be tracked electronically using the CALIPSO electronic documentation system. The clinical program is designed to comply with national standards set by the Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech Language Pathology, as well as Connecticut Licensure and Teacher Certification as a Speech-Language Pathologist.

Students will be placed in a clinical practicum site each semester of graduate study. Each placement will be accompanied by a seminar led by University faculty that will provide opportunities for generalization of learning, reflective review of experiences, skill development and relation of individuals’ experiences to those of others and to issues of policy. Although the clinical program will be shaped to some extent by each individual’s interests and skills, in general a typical sequence of placements will include:

Fall Semester I

  • Speech, language and hearing screening
  • Placements 2-3 half-days/week at facilities such as Cooperative Educational Services for children with disabilities and Kennedy Center for adults with disabilities for articulation and language assessment and intervention experiences

Spring Semester I

  • Placement at rehabilitation centers and skilled nursing facilities 2-3 half days/week for hearing screening, dementia screening, dysphagia screening, cognitive-communication assessment and intervention, inter-professional work on feeding with nursing, OT.

Summer Semester I

  • Specialty “boot camps;” 2-4 week intensive, inter-professional programs for clients with aphasia, TBI, dysfluency, etc.
  • School and preschool language stimulation and literacy placements

Fall/Spring  Semester II

  • Full time student teaching
  • Full or close to full time placement in medical setting

Optional Summer II

  • Three-day/week placement in autism, multicultural literacy, or medical SLP setting, complemented by advanced coursework in the chosen area, leading to a 12-credit specialty certificate.