KU speech-language-hearing scholars perform critical screenings, evaluations for Belize community

LAWRENCE — During the University of Kansas spring break, Kate DeJarnette, speech-language pathologist and clinical assistant professor, and Krysta Green, audiologist and clinical associate professor, took 14 graduate students to San Pedro, Belize, for a clinically based study abroad program.

The primary purpose of the study abroad program was to identify needs for ongoing speech-language-hearing support in schools in San Pedro and to develop collaborative partnerships with teachers and parents.

During the one-week program, seven speech-language pathology (SLP) master’s students, one speech-language pathology doctoral student and seven audiology doctoral students traveled to local schools to conduct screenings and assessments.

Team audiology conducted more than 100 pediatric and adult hearing screenings. They also fit and provided hearing aids to children and adults in need and engaged in parent and teacher education sessions about hearing loss.

Team SLP conducted 85 pediatric speech/language screenings and evaluations, which yielded identification and referral of a dozen children with probable autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), three children with suspected genetic disorders or syndromes, and many children with speech, language and communication needs. 

Additionally, team SLP offered several coaching sessions to provide parents with education and strategies to support their children’s speech and language development at home. These parent coaching sessions offered students and faculty to deepen their knowledge of the influence of Belizean cultural norms on clinical work and client-centered care.

“I loved immersing myself in the Belizean culture and exploring their education system,” said Carolyn Russell, second-year MA-SLP student. “Screening the diverse pediatric clientele contributed to my personal and professional growth because of the unique needs that each student presented.”

Hanna Kate Hartshorn, second-year MA-SLP student, also appreciated learning more about the Belizean culture and school systems outside of the United States.

“This experience afforded me a unique opportunity to not only take my clinical skills outside of the classroom, but overseas,” Hartshorn said.

In addition to their clinical work, students and faculty participated in a day of island exploration, which included a boat excursion, snorkeling the barrier reef and swimming with nurse sharks and sting rays.

Fri, 03/29/2024


Kate DeJarnette

Media Contacts

Kate DeJarnette

Department of Speech-Language-Hearing