Center for Children with Special Needs

Speech and Language Pathology

The Pediatric Speech and Language Pathology (SLP) rotation in the Center for Children with Special Needs (CCSN) at Tufts Medical Center is 100% supervised by Kathleen Reilly, CCC-SLP. It is a competitive opportunity for graduate students in Communication Disorders from local university programs, e.g., Boston University. The SLP rotation is an elective, finishing placement for graduate students seeking training experience in assessment, diagnostics, family systems and developing educational programmatic goals and objectives. Generally, students commit to three days per week for a full semester term.

Philosophy of mentoring

SLP students learn in a collegial model of supervision moving from stages of growing independence and judgment in making clinical decisions (Anderson, 1988). The Anderson Model consists of five components:  Understanding, Planning, Observing, Analyzing and Integrating. At the start of term, the supervisor is direct and directing in methods, and as a student grows more knowledgeable and self-reliant, the supervisor is consultative. These roles are illustrated by the white/striated bar graphs below.  

From: Anderson, J. (1988). The Supervisory Process in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Boston, MA: College-Hill Press.

Advanced practicum students, or externs have opportunity to engage in a variety of assessments experiences:

  • Participate within interdisciplinary clinics, such as Early Childhood Clinic (ECC) or Learning, Education, Attention in Pediatrics (LEAP), to administer tests and tools within an inter-professional dynamic.
  • Co-conduct a wide range of pediatric assessments, in children less than 12 months of age up to 22 years, and in so learning advancing competency across a wide range of tests, tools and methods.
  • Utilize tools appropriate for a swath of speech and language disorders:
    • Articulation: Speech Sound Disorder, Childhood Apraxia of Speech
    • Voice/Stuttering: Abnormal pitch, resonance, volume, rate, disfluency
    • Language: Subtypes differentiating the affected domains within receptive/expressive language disorders, i.e., vocabulary (semantics), grammar (morpho-syntax), and storytelling (narratives)
    • Language Processing: Subtypes differentiating receptive/expressive language breakdowns specific to learning, such as Dyslexia, Reading Disorders, and written language disorders
    • Pragmatic Language/Play: Subtypes differentiating among Autism, Social Communication Disorder, Late Language Emergence, Pragmatic Language Impairment
    • Behavior: Use of standardized behavioral questionnaires to recognize symptoms of comorbid issues, such as ADHD or Anxiety