UNION – The weather was no match for the more than 50 Kean University students who walked to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorder during the annual Walk Now for Autism Speaks event on Oct. 18, at Nomehegan Park in Cranford. The students are all members of Kean’s Speech, Language, and Hearing Student Association (SLHSA), a club that takes prides in servicing the community.
SLHSA is a dynamic and active group of students from Kean’s communication disorders and deafness program. Students in the program earn a bachelor’s degree in speech, language and hearing sciences and many pursue a master’s degree in Kean’s speech language pathology program.
“Speech and hearing professionals make a remarkable difference in people’s lives each day by helping children and adults who are unable to express their thoughts and feelings or understand what people are saying,’” said Dr. Alan Gertner, the student association’s faculty advisor and associate professor at Kean. “These are bright, motivated students pursuing a major that attracts compassionate and caring people.”
Each year, the students participate in a variety of community-minded services, including charitable fund raising and volunteer activities. Recent bake sales and member donations have resulted in generous donations to the Smile Train, an organization that funds surgery and treatment for children from impoverished countries suffering with cleft palate.
The group has also donated to Kean’s Institute for Adults Living with Communications Disorders, a community-based clinic that provides expanded speech, language and rehabilitation support services, at minimal cost, to people living in New Jersey.
SLHSA is affiliated with the New Jersey Speech Language Hearing Association and the American Speech Language Hearing Association. In the past five years, the club has grown in membership, attendance and community service. For more information about the communication disorders and deafness program, visit www.kean.edu/~cdd.
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