A woman is laughing and wearing fresh flowers around her head and neck at the Department of Communicative Disorders & Sciences Convocation. Photo by Christina Olivas

“Change the Lives of Others” Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences

By Sarah Kyo, Web Communications Specialist

A group photo with a Communicative Disorders and Sciences grad and her family. Photo by Christina Olivas.

Graduations often bring family members together, and the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences Convocation was no exception. Photo by Christina Olivas.

(This week, SJSU Today’s small but mighty band of writers and photographers took a peek at graduation receptions and convocations campuswide so we could share with you the excitement of the more than 8,000 members of the Class of 2012. We’ll post more photos on Facebook.)

A blue-and-yellow candy buffet greeted guests at the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences convocation on May 25. Once inside Morris Dailey Auditorium, graduates’ families and friends faced a stage with rows of silver chairs. Soon they would be face to face with their loved ones, who were dressed in caps and gowns.

“They are looking good, aren’t they?” said Department Chair Michael Kimbarow of this year’s graduates.

One student speaker, master’s degree candidate Jessica Abawag, said she and her fellow classmates endured this journey at SJSU for the same purpose.

“We are here to change the lives of others,” she said.

A fitting representation of why these Spartans pursued this field was keynote speaker Lateef McLeod, a poet who’s also a grant writer and blogger for the United Cerebral Palsy of the Golden Gate.

McLeod, who has cerebral palsy, gave his speech with an iPad app called Proloquo2Go. The app transformed a text file he originally typed on his Macbook into an audio recording with a male human voice.

He talked about the different Augmentative and Alternative Communication devices he had used throughout his life and the people who have worked with him. He encouraged the graduates to listen to their future clients.

“It is ultimately their communication that you’re facilitating,” McLeod said.

His speech concluded with one of his poems, “Wall,” to illustrate the importance of the work that the graduates will soon be doing.

“I yell myself hoarse like a bullfrog / but I cannot get my family and friends to get close to me / so they really know / my dreams, thoughts, desires, and feelings,” he recited. “I shiver behind this clear wall / and wait for someone to notice me / wait for a chance to speak.”

New Stutter Clinic Supports Young Adults

New Stutter Clinic Supports Young Adults

A client is practicing speech techniques while giving a speech, while a graduate clinician is providing feedback

The Adult Voice and Fluency Clinic offers activities that apply to clients' daily lives (Communicative Disorders and Sciences photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

For some, the fear of giving a class presentation or interviewing for a job can be overwhelming, especially for those who stutter.

The Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences has added an Adult Voice and Fluency Clinic to its list of specialty clinics, providing clients, including SJSU students, the opportunity to work together to improve their communication skills.

“A lot of times, people who stutter want to hide it,” Assistant Professor Pei-Tzu Tsai said. “In therapy, we aren’t only addressing the stuttering part, but also the feelings and attitudes that come with it.”

The clinic, within the Kay Armstead Center for Communicative Disorders, helps clients minimize their fear of talking and stuttering, becoming more effective communicators.

“They work on their speech techniques to help them move through the moments when they get stuck,” Tsai said. “They also talk to each other about their feelings and attitudes which helps them to open up.”

Clients apply through the Kay Armstead Center, and then are evaluated by student clinicians, who admit them to a weekly group therapy program based on their individual needs.

Student Clinicians

“As a student clinician, I have the opportunity to apply what I learn in class to different clients,” said communicative disorders graduate student Chenjie Gu. “My favorite part is helping clients develop better communication skills.”

Nick Puzar is one of five students taking part in the program.

“The clinic has helped me understand what stuttering is, what parts of stuttering can be treated, how different types of treatment work, and what resources are available to myself and others in the clinic,” Puzar said.

Tsai hopes to expand the clinic to serve children and teenagers and wants to gradually implement clinical research that will test therapy and improve efficacy.