University of Wisconsin–Madison

Community Outreach

Here are some of the ways that the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders helps families, school systems, clinicians, and non-profit organizations better serve people with communication disorders:

  • Reaching Out to Families & Caregivers
    • Faculty often provide free phone consultation for families with concerns about their child’s communication development. They have also provided teletherapy for families who live far away from Madison and have no clinical specialist available in the area.
    • Faculty who teach at the UW Speech and Hearing Clinic often provide assessment and treatment to individuals and families for whom insurance has denied further coverage. By offering low-cost services and partial scholarships, they help people who would otherwise not be served.
    • One of our faculty, Peggy Rosin, MS, CCC-SLP, developed “IT’s Fun: Integrated Treatment is Fun–A Summer Program for Children with Down Syndrome.” The three-week summer program, which integrated evidence-based speech-language practice with movement, music, role-play, and dramatic activities, has been disseminated nationally and internationally.
    • In partnership with the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute and the Wisconsin State Unit on Aging, faculty developed the LEEPS program, which trains caregivers of adults with early-stage dementia to provide language-enriched exercise plus socialization to reduce depression and slow the rate of cognitive decline.
    • Faculty provide consultation, assessment, and intervention for veterans who have cognitive-communicative challenges as a result of traumatic brain injury and who wish to pursue post-secondary education.
    • Through a partnership with the Waisman Center, faculty created Enhancing Participation in Employment Settings Through Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) a website to help enhance employment outcomes for consumers who use alternative and augmentative communication.
    • One of our faculty, Peggy Rosin, MS, CCC-SLP, is on the Board of Directors of “Encore! Studio for the Performing Arts,” one of the nation’s only professional theater companies for people with disabilities.
  • Providing Professional Training
    • Each year, the department sponsors a free continuing education workshop for audiologists and speech-language pathologists working in the community.
    • Faculty provide phone consultation to speech-language pathologists in the Head Start program, Madison Metropolitan School District, and surrounding areas.
    • In collaboration with the Waisman Center, faculty offer continuing education webinars on early augmentative and alternative communication interventions for children with disabilities.
    • Faculty engage in numerous outreach activities related to brain injury awareness and service delivery in Wisconsin, including training vocational rehabilitation providers and others who serve adults with brain injuries. They also completed a collaborative telehealth project with the Marshfield Clinic to compare in-person vs. video-based assessment of communication skills in adults with traumatic brain injury.
  • Supporting Public Education
    • Faculty provide language assessment support services and supplemental communication interventions for children in many Madison-area school districts. They also conduct training workshops for staff in these districts.
    • Our faculty developed Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT), a software tool used to document language development in typical children, children with developmental disabilities, and children learning English as a second language. SALT training manuals are distributed free to every speech-language pathologist in public schools in Wisconsin, and are also sold nationally.
    • Faculty are on a Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction-facilitated workgroup that is creating a technical assistance guide for school services in speech-language pathology.
  • Giving Kids a "Head Start"
    • Each year, clinical faculty at the UW Speech and Hearing Clinic provide speech-language hearing screenings for approximately 1,200 children in the Dane County Head Start program.
    • We launched a summer program with local Head Start pre-kindergarten classrooms to teach about code-switching (to teach children differences between “school talk” and “home talk”).
    • Faculty spearheaded a collaborative project to reduce the risk for language and learning problems in preschool children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
  • Hearing Aid Recycling Program (HARP)

    Do you know someone who has difficulty hearing but is unable to afford hearing aids?  The UWSHC Hearing Aid Recycling Program (HARP) provides free or low-cost reconditioned behind-the-ear hearing aids, ear molds, and batteries to individuals with low-incomes. This program is supported by generous donations from community members, Epic Systems Corporation, Starkey Hearing Technologies, the UW-Madison Student Academy of Audiology, and the former Sertoma Club of Madison.

  • Non-Profit Collaboration

    Our faculty have active collaborations with many nonprofit agencies that serve people with disabilities, including: