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 practicals 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.

Graduate students will enroll for at least four credits of clinical education each term of the clinical program. Students will be assigned to a clinical practicum setting or settings each term, and will spend between 12 and 40 hours per week at each setting, depending upon the placement of the practicum in the program. Each practicum assignment will be accompanied by a Clinical Seminar, in which students will practice clinical skills, discuss cases, and engage in clinical learning activities. During the first year of the clinical program, students will be placed in field settings in teams, accompanied by a supervisor from SHU. During the first two semesters, students with some previous clinical experience (for example, those who completed practica experiences as an undergraduate) may be assigned a one-on-one experience with a clinician at a field site, at the discretion of the Director of Clinical Education. Field placements later in the program will involve assignment of each student to a clinician at the field site. The typical sequence of clinical practica, is given below; however, individual placements will be made on the basis of availability, clinical hours, and student interest.

Fall Semester I

  • Placements 2-3 half-days/week at educational or rehabilitation settings
  • Speech, language, and hearing screenings and evaluations

Spring Semester I

  • Placements 2-3 half-days/week at educational or rehabilitation setting

Late Spring, Summer Semester A & B

  • Intensive Clinical Workshops: 2-4 week intensive, inter-professional programs for clients with aphasia, Parkinson’s, TBI, dysfluency, etc.
  • Extended school year placements for students with disabilities: 5-6 week daily placements
  • Eight to Twelve Week Adult or Child Externship in medical or private practice settings

Summer Semester I

  • Intensive clinical workshops: 2-4 week, interprofessional programs for clients with aphasia, TBI, dysfluency, etc.
  • School and preschool language stimulation and literacy placements

Fall/Spring Semester II

  • Student teaching
  • Field placement in medical setting or specialty pediatric/educational setting

Optional Summer II

  • Three-day/week placement in autism, English Language Learner/literacy, or medical SLP setting, complemented by advanced coursework in specialty area, leading to an optional advanced study certificate.