For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, MS in Communicative Sciences and Disorders students have returned to work in person with patients at Terence Cardinal Cooke.
For a decade prior to 2020, MS students undertaking their practicum clinical would visit this skilled nursing home to conduct speech pathology treatment with patients who have Huntington’s disease. Terence Cardinal Cooke is a pioneer in the treatment of this rare degenerative disease that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain and one of the nation’s largest care providers for this disorder.
“At Terence Cardinal Cooke, students engage in speech and language activities with individual patients as well as group interventions,” says Alicia Morrison, clinical associate professor and clinic director at NYU’s Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. “They spend two hours there every week for an entire semester, giving them essential experiential learning in the field.”
Students work with patients to develop communications systems to support their individual speech and language abilities and needs, including low-tech communications devices to help them express themselves and memory books to help with their cognition.
The in-person experience also has a new lens this year because for the first time, the opportunity at Terence Cardinal Cooke is open to Practicum 1 students. “We wanted to give our students exposure to working hands-on with patients early so they could gain both hours and the experience,” says Morrison.
Because students have been unable to participate in this placement for three years, the Terence Cardinal Cooke experience is also open to Practicum 3, 4, and 5 students so that more future practitioners can benefit from this learning opportunity.