Published on August 23, 2021 by Daniel Dodson  
Bell Center

Annually, Samford University National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association (SUNSSLHA) members organize and complete two large service projects for the community. This year, the Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSDS) 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 various ways, SUNSSLHA and the Center have a long-standing relationship.

"This past Spring, SUNSSLHA partnered with the Bell Center to adapt books for their early intervention programs and update their therapy materials," said Laura Promer, assistant professor and SUNSSLHA faculty sponsor. "For the book adaptation project, 30 undergraduate and graduate CSDS students worked in teams to generate creative ways to adapt books for students' birth to three who may have special needs."

Bell CenterAfter developing the ideas, the CSDS students put together bags with companion materials and activities for each book. One example was with the book "The Very Busy Spider." Students made a spider web and a cutout spider that can be used to engage the students with the story, according to Promer.

SUNSSLHA's other project with the Bell Center was updating and organizing some of their therapy materials. Ten CSDS students devoted time to organizing and replacing picture exchange cards. They also created new visual schedules for the Bell Center to use each day.

"These service-learning experiences give the CSDS students opportunities to apply information gained in the classroom in a clinical setting," Promer said. "Additionally, having graduate students collaborate with undergraduate students allows the students to learn from each other."

SUNSSLHA will partner with several 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, encourage student involvement, and to provide students with the opportunity to represent in matters of professional concern at the state and national level.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.