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Speech-Language Pathology Students Hone Leadership Skills Through Fundraising

Speech-Language Pathology Students Hone Leadership Skills Through Fundraising

Posted: February 3, 2012

Students in Buffalo State’s Speech-Language Pathology Department not only dedicate their time and talent to helping children with speech and hearing impairments, they also raise money for those born with craniofacial anomalies.

Most recently, members of the Buffalo State Chapter of the National Speech-Language-Hearing Association (BSC-NSSLHA) donated $7,800 to the Craniofacial Center of Western New York at the Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo (WCHB). Since 2007, the group has raised and donated more than $14,000 to WCHB, the regional center for comprehensive and state-of-the-art pediatric, neonatal, perinatal, and obstetrical services in Western New York and beyond.

The money helps defray the cost of special bottles and other much-needed supplies for babies born with craniofacial anomalies, including cleft/lip palate deformity—the fourth most common birth defect. These abnormalities can lead to a delay in speech or abnormal speech and are often corrected through surgery. Infants who have not yet had corrective surgery require specialized bottles that can be quite expensive.

“We totally depend on donations for anything provided to families directly,” said Janice Rockwood, head nurse at the Craniofacial Center. “Buffalo State has been amazing as far as contributions.”

Also since 2007, the student group has donated at least $500 yearly to the department’s Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. The donations provide scholarships to school-age children with speech, language, and literacy impairments and their parents or caregivers who may not have the ability to pay the nominal clinic fees. Scholarships also are awarded to eligible children who are seen for services at St. Joseph’s School.

“Since 2007, 12 children have received scholarship funds to offset the cost of speech-language services,” said Karen Bailey-Jones, clinic director. “Families are most grateful for the scholarships. BSC-NSSLHA students, your hard work has made a difference.”

In addition to their philanthropic efforts, BSC-NSSLHA students learn leadership skills, such as how to run a meeting, how to effectively speak publicly, how to set up and maintain financial records, as well as others,” noted Constance Dean Qualls, chair and professor, Speech-Language Pathology. Qualls brought the idea of fundraising to Buffalo State when she joined the college six years ago.

“Most importantly, our students learn about and begin to appreciate the challenges faced by infants and children—along with their families—who have speech, language, communication, hearing, and swallowing disorders,” Qualls said. These experiences, in tandem with their academics, ensure our students will develop into competent, caring, and generous professionals who are highly engaged in the community.”

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