TAMIU Offers New Degree in Communication Disorders

BS in Communication Disorders
Now Offered at TAMIU

Local and area residents interested in pursuing a bachelor’s in communication disorders now have the opportunity to earn their degree locally at Texas A&M International University.

Dr. Alan L. Seitel and Melissa Garcia

Dr. Alan L. Seitel and Melissa Garcia

“We received word from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board that as of April 1, 2008, TAMIU can now offer a Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders through the College of Education,” Dr. Alan L. Seitel, associate professor of communication disorders, announced.

“The program is the first and only training in our area for speech therapists and is the first developed in Texas in decades. This is a big commitment,” Dr. Seitel added.

Part of the commitment includes the Communication Disorders Clinic.

“There is a crucial need for therapists in our area and both school districts have supported our efforts to develop this program,” explained Melissa García, clinical assistant professor of communication disorders.

Communication disorders include stuttering, voice disorders, articulation disorders and language-based disorders. Adults might have a communication disorder as a result of a head injury or stroke. Children might have a communication disorder as a result of starting to talk late or having a language-based disorder.

“The students providing the therapy at the Clinic will be supervised 100 percent of the time,” added García.

The training Clinic is located in Dr. Billy F. Cowart Hall, room 122.

To qualify for therapy, participants must apply for a $30 speech evaluation, although the Clinic will accept evaluations from schools.

Each 30-minute session will be $10. TAMIU employees, students and their dependents will receive these services at no charge.

There will also be a speech clinic during June that will be available for students not receiving summer therapy through the school. The Clinic will also run through the summer.

Classes will also be offered during the Summer sessions in the evening.

“We presently have 60 students who are taking classes part-time,” said Seitel.

“In this field, only four percent are bilingual, so the classes have a bilingual emphasis. We teach the academic knowledge necessary to be a bilingual clinician; however, our program is open to all students, even if they are not bilingual. Because we live where we do, we feel that the academic knowledge of bilingual speech and language development and disorders is necessary, but we don’t discriminate against monolingual English speakers. Monolingual speakers will not be bilingual clinicians,” he added.

“College of Education Dean Humberto González, Dr. Randy Brown, director of special education, and Laredo I.S.D. and United I.S.D. were instrumental in bringing about this program,” Seitel said appreciatively.

TAMIU currently has an intrasystem cooperative agreement regarding communication science disorders programs with Texas A&M University Kingsville.

Students who graduate with a B.S. in communication disorders go on to work in school districts, hospitals and rehab centers conducting speech therapy to children or adults.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the expected increase in retirements over the coming years should create excellent job opportunities for speech-language pathologists. Opportunities should be particularly favorable for those who can speak Spanish.

Early registration for Summer and Fall 2008 at TAMIU starts Monday, April 7. The Summer and Fall 2008 schedule is currently online at schedule.tamiu.edu

For more information on the Clinic, please contact García at 326.3139, e-mail mpgarcia@tamiu.edu or visit offices in Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library (KL), room 421A.

For more information on communication disorders classes, please contact Seitel at 326.2688, e-mail aseitel@tamiu.edu or visit offices in KL 421B.

University office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu