Thursday, July 15, 2010

What If ...Elizabeth Govan amazes her young onlookers as she follows the necessary steps to prepare an oozing volcano. These inquisitive children, ages three to 10, become ecstatic, asking questions about Govan’s project. Soon, they are equipped with the knowledge to prepare their own customized volcanoes.

Govan is a first-year graduate student clinician for SC State University’s Extended School Year Program (ESY). She is accustomed to witnessing exuberant kids who are moved by science. “With this activity, we are teaching students how to sequence, how to follow directions to make the volcano,” says Govan.

Govan is just one of the many undergraduate and graduate student clinicians and clinical supervisors who play a pivotal role in ESY. According to the clinic director, Dr. Harriette Gregg, the program was established 14 years ago. “ESY is a six-week program serving speech, language and/or hearing impaired children, primarily from Orangeburg Consolidated School Districts three, four and five, as well as the Calhoun and Bamberg School districts,” says Gregg.

According to supervisors Vanessa Coleman-Lebby and Linda Quick Addison, activities such as building volcanoes are derived from books that assist the thirty-nine students in the program to overcome their fluency, articulation, intelligibility and language difficulties. “Activities are literacy-based and promote  language and socialization skills,” says Lebby.

Building volcanoes are just one of the many culminating activities that are a part of this year’s theme for the ESY summer program, “Just Imagine…What If….” The theme, contributed by assistant professor Regina Lemmon, is enhanced by activities based on the children’s books of Laura Joffe Numeroff. Each week, clinicians and students focus on a different book, stimulating their imagination. At the end of the week, a culminating activity takes place that represents some aspect of that particular book. The volcano experiment, for example, was extracted from the book, “If You Take a Mouse to School” and it was modeled after the science experiment described in the book.

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Addison was also extremely excited about the book, “If You Give a Pig a Party,” week three’s assignment. “When we read that book, we were so close to July 4th that students had a party. They wore hats and had a celebration. It was a celebration for America,” says Addison. “It helped them to relate what was happening  in the book to real life experiences.”  Students and clinicians took the enhanced learning a step further by decorating their classroom spaces to illustrate the title of each of Numeroff’s books.

While the theme for each book was heavily incorporated into the learning process, students engaged in small group sessions to expand their understanding of core vocabulary words in each book. Individual speech therapy sessions with clinicians and clients were also conducted. During the ESY summer program, vocabulary lists and activities were developed to strongly encourage parent-child interactions. In addition, students utilized the computer lab for further educational enrichment.

At the end of the program, Coleman-Lebby and Addison say that these students usually make significant progress. Clinicians initially reviewed each student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) used for special needs children and provided by their respective schools. During the individual therapy sessions, clinicians are able to rate their client’s accomplishments, completing a progress report at the end of the six weeks. “This progress report indicates whether or not the student has met the goals and objectives compared to where they were,” says Coleman-Lebby. “We usually see some improvement.”

what if ... 3Admittance into SC State University’s ESY Program is on a first come, first served basis, with priority given to children currently attending the University’s clinic for speech therapy. “The ESY Program is a vital link to the community and is an invaluable community resource,” says Mrs. Debra Frishberg, instructor/clinical supervisor.

For additional information, contact the Speech Pathology and Audiology Program at 803-536-8074.