Lehman Opens New Literacy and Technology Resource Center
With its official opening at the end of August, the Literacy and Technology Resource Center in Lehman College's Speech and Hearing Center now provides graduate students with specialized tools, including new, cutting-edge software programs, to better diagnose and treat people with reading and writing disorders.
"These new resources will be life-changing for Lehman's Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences faculty and the graduate students-clinicians in the program—as well as for the clients they serve," said Leslie Grubler, director of Clinical Education and Clinical Services in the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences.
Many students in Lehman's master's degree program in Speech-Language Pathology, which puts them on track for certification and licensing in the field, begin working with local students and other Bronx clients with speech and language deficits. In fact, close to 80% of Lehman's students end up getting jobs in the borough’s schools, said Grubler. With this in mind, she added, it is hoped that the new resource center will help raise the low literacy rates that continue to plague a good percentage of the borough’s residents, especially school age children.
Located in the basement of the Speech and Theatre Building, the new Literacy and Technology Resource Center houses a variety of evidence-based training materials, including the interactive SPELL-Links literacy program, which emphasizes literacy and treating learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dysgraphia through speech and listening instead of alphabet-centric, text supported learning, said Cheryl Smith Gabig, chair of Lehman’s Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences.
"Learning to read and write is not an automatic process; and reading and spelling are not biologically wired as an innate language processing system in humans," said Smith Gabig. "They are language skills that have to be explicitly taught, and because humans are biologically wired for oral language, the best way to advance reading and writing is by promoting a speech-to-print method." SPELL-Links and other new instructional tools housed in the Resource Center focus on the child or person's oral language ability, especially the phonological system, to map sounds to print, rather than print to sound.
Along with SPELL-Links and other software resources, the new center provides additional training materials for the graduate student clinicians to help improve literacy, plus laptop and tablet computers, virtual reality goggles, and other tech devices.
Noting that there are no other graduate programs across the country in speech-language pathology providing all of the new instructional resources now available at the center to its graduate-student clinicians, Grubler remarked that "these advantages will give our students increased marketability in the skills and programs they have learned while also making them better equipped to help children and other clients from the outset once employed."
A crowd of students and faculty members from the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences attended the ribbon cutting and formal opening of the new Literacy and Technology Resource Center. New York City Council member Andrew Cohen, whose 11th District in the Bronx includes Lehman College, issued a proclamation that both congratulated the College on the new resource center and noted that September is National Literacy Month.