Annually, Samford University National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (SUNSSLHA) members work together to organize and complete two large service projects for the community. For one of their projects this year, the student organization partnered with The Bell Center for Early Intervention Programs to update the Center’s literacy bags.
The Bell Center is dedicated to maximizing the potential of children from birth to three years of age who are at risk for developmental delay. Having completed their first service project with the Center in 2014 and continuing to partner in a variety of facets, SUNSSLHA and the Center have a long-standing relationship.
According to Laura Promer, assistant professor, SUNSSLHA faculty advisor and director of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders undergraduate program, the literacy bags contain a book and items such as stuffed animals, finger puppets, crayons and things for imaginary play that coincide with the book to help the children better understand the stories.
“Reading is instrumental in a child’s development,” said Promer. “Often, children with special needs require additional multisensory activities to aid in language development. To enhance learning, the literacy bags include items that support concept knowledge, vocabulary growth and speech production.
Members of SUNSSLHA delivered the literacy bags to the Bell Center and graduate students met with parents to explain how each bag could be best utilized. The undergraduate student members then demonstrated the literacy exercises by using the bags with the children and teachers. Parents can check out the different bags from The Bell Center to then work on their child’s language and literacy development at home. All of the bag items were purchased with funds accrued through SUNSSLHA fundraisers.
“As a school, the School of Health Professions teaches students to hold fast to 1 Peter 4:10, using their gifts and talents to serve others,” said Promer. “Within our department and student organization we place an additional emphasis on this because we truly believe that a career in communication sciences and disorders is an inherently service career; professionals who choose this profession are called to a life of caring.”
SUNSSLHA will partner with a number of different organizations to complete service projects throughout the year. The organization was established to encourage professional interest in communication sciences and disorders, provide an opportunity for students to represent the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders on campus and in the community, engage members in service projects and to encourage student involvement and representation in matters of professional concern at the state and national level.