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National speech language and hearing association receives 2022 Class Gift

  |   Anika Chaturvedi   |   Permalink   |   Kudos,   Spotlight,   Students and Faculty

UGA’s chapter of the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA) received $6,000 from UGA’s 2022 Class Gift.

The gift comes from a portion of donations from UGA’s Senior Signature program, which is organized by the Student Alumni Council. The Senior Signature program allows graduating students to make a gift and have their names engraved on a plaque in Tate Plaza, and this gift is awarded each year to a UGA student organization.

NSSLHA welcomes students interested in speech-language pathology, audiology, and communication sciences and disorders. The gift will help certify graduate students in fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES), a procedure conducted by speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to gauge a person’s swallow function.

“The procedure involves passing a flexible instrument through the patient’s nose that contains a camera, which allows the SLP to view the swallow in real time,” said Nina Santus, NSSLHA chapter advisor and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Special Education and the UGA Speech and Hearing Clinic. “FEES helps the SLP to deliver an accurate diagnosis, which leads to more effective treatment.”

SLPs often work with people who have difficulty swallowing, called dysphagia, and need to rehabilitate swallow function. Certification in FEES at the graduate level can help prepare students for SLP certification, reduce financial burden and give students an edge when entering the job market.

“We have a rare opportunity to offer the training and certification at the graduate level,” Santus said. “Our goal is to be among the first to graduate a FEES-certified cohort. Students who graduate with this certification can begin using it immediately, potentially leading to a higher number of dysphagia patients being served.”

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