UNK submissions to NU Foundation for consideration.
No decisions will be made on this until summer, 2006.
UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA FOUNDATION GRANT PROPOSAL
Department of Communication Disorders
University of Nebraska at Kearney
Amount Requested: $100,000
Prepared by Dr. Kenya Taylor, Chair
Department of Communication Disorders
The UNK Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic has provided services to the public since 1964. These services have included evaluations and therapy for both children and adults with communication disorders. Each semester the CDIS graduate students, under supervision of faculty, provide services to approximately 85 clients in the university clinic. Off campus service is provided to approximately 150 additional individuals each year. These services include speech and language evaluations to children at preschools, Head Start programs, and public schools in surrounding cities. Services also include audiometric (hearing) evaluations for adults, primarily those who are employed in agriculture. The off-campus services are usually provided in less than adequate or optimal conditions, including hallways of schools, school or preschool lunchrooms, corners of occupied classrooms, storerooms, and in some cases, restrooms. Audiological evaluations of young children cannot be performed off campus, due to the necessity for specialized equipment.
Since the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), there has been an increasing demand for our services for infants and children in the rural areas of Nebraska. And, of the more than 35,000 farmers employed in Nebraska, more than half are exposed to dangerous noise levels daily. Research data collected by the department indicate that 78% of 6000 individuals tested have significant noise induced hearing loss.
DESCRIPTION AND JUSTIFICATION
This proposal seeks to develop a transportable field laboratory that will enable faculty and students to conduct speech, language and hearing evaluations and therapy outside the university clinic. The equipment and portability of this unit would allow us to expand our outreach to a larger area of western Nebraska, while at the same time expanding our research capabilities.
The Mobile Speech, Language and Hearing Laboratory proposed would require expenditures in two areas having a total cost of $100,000.
Truck and Trailer Unit: The most economical approach to a mobile laboratory can be achieved by designing a trailer specifically for the project. In this case, the trailer would need to be a three- or four-room unit supplied with a generator to support lighting, heating, air conditioning, and test equipment. One room would be equipped with a sound-treated room for audiological testing of both children and adults. The other rooms would be utilized for speech and language evaluations and treatment. A unit as described with a separate truck would cost approximately $80,000. It is possible that a pre-owned truck and trailer unit and/or a self-contained van could be purchased and modified.
Equipment: The equipment needed to outfit the laboratory would include a sound
booth, clinical audiometer with sound field capabilities and visual reinforcement
system, portable immittance unit, appropriate furniture (tables and chairs for both
children and adults), computer and specialized software for tracking client information, and clinical supplies (test kits, therapy materials, etc.). Estimated cost of the equipment is approximately $20,000.
The individuals who would receive services on the mobile lab are the very people for whom identification and treatment of speech, language and hearing disorders are critically important. This includes young children who are in the process of developing speech and language skills as well as adults who have experiences a communication disorder such as hearing loss, stroke, head injury, etc. The unit would allow us to expand our outreach to those in rural areas who are not able to come to Kearney for services. The unit would provide a favorable test/therapy environment for health fairs, health centers, senior centers, preschools, and pubic schools. It would allow us to expand our outreach within the agricultural domain as well. In addition to providing hearing evaluations, the mobile clinic could be utilized to provide hearing conservation services and noise control recommendations to individual farmers and to large groups.
The addition of a mobile clinic would markedly enhance the research capabilities of UNK students and faculty in the Department of Communication Disorders faculty and students would be able to provide evaluation and therapeutic services to a more diverse population, thus providing data more representative of the cultural fabric of America.
In addition to the obvious benefits to consumers, the mobile clinic would be used by approximately 75 UNK students each academic year. Students enrolled in the graduate program in speech-language pathology must accrue a total of 375 hours of direct provision of services in order to meet national certification requirements. It is impossible our students (approximately 30 graduate students per year) to meet these requirements in the university setting alone and we are constantly competing with other state universities for student internship placement. The mobile clinic would offer an opportunity to increase the amount of available sites and clients for our students.