For more than 60 years, the Roy Eblen Speech and Hearing Clinic (located on the University of Northern Iowa campus) has been serving patients who require communication disorders based therapy. Even now, as patients can’t be seen in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the clinic staff are working hard to make sure these services continue one way or another.
At the beginning of April, the clinic began providing virtual teletherapy services to patients, where it’s appropriate and possible.
Suzanne Dripps, director of the clinic, says it’s imperative to continue therapy for these patients.
“A break in services often leads to regression,” Dripps said. “Right now, with so many places closed and so many services unavailable, we may be the only therapy service that’s available to many people, so we’re working hard to make sure they still have access to treatment.”
These services range from treatment of language delay, to speech deficits, fluency, voice therapy, treatment of persons with traumatic brain injuries, aphasia treatment, hearing evaluations, and more. Clients range from young children, to the elderly, who come from around the Cedar Valley and the state for treatment.
The clinic provides affordable therapy services to community members who require them, and opportunities for hands-on learning experience for students in the UNI Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, who receive supervision and guidance from a licensed speech-language pathologist during their therapy sessions.
Though the transition to teletherapy comes with its own unique set of challenges, Dripps says that she’s extremely proud of how the staff and students have come together to make it successful.
“I have to say, I’m over the moon with how it’s gone so far,” she said. “Staff and students have done a phenomenal job, and the teletherapy is going wonderfully. I can't thank all of the people involved enough for their hard work in making this transition a success.”
Dripps says the clinic is now working on a summer schedule for these teletherapy services, allowing students to work with clients throughout the months of May and June.
For more information about the Roy Eblen Speech and Hearing Clinic, visit https://comdis.uni.edu/clinic