TWU interdisciplinary community service event benefits children, students

TWU dental hygiene and SLP students provided dental and hearing services to several preschoolers during community service event.
TWU dental hygiene and SLP students provided dental and hearing services to several preschoolers during community service event.

August 13, 2021 – DENTON – Texas Woman’s dental hygiene and post-baccalaureate certificate in bilingual speech-language pathology (SLP) students joined forces in July to provide preschoolers from the Ann Windle School for Young Children with free dental and hearing services. The event not only brought out many smiles for the children but also served as an important learning experience for the TWU students.

Charlene Dickinson, TWU Dental Hygiene Program director, coordinated the event with the Windle School, but decided to enlist the help of Catherine Lynch, SLP Bilingual Certificate Committee co-chair, since several of the children came from families who predominately spoke Spanish at home.

The TWU students provided free dental cleanings and hearing and speech screening for eight children, ranging in ages from 2-4 years old. The participating SLP students followed their clients through the Dental Hygiene Clinic and watched as the dental hygiene students provided dental care. They next moved up to the Speech, Language & Hearing Clinic, where the dental hygiene students observed their clients complete hearing, speech and language screenings in English and Spanish.

“I think it was a valuable experience for both the students and the community,” Lynch said. “Providing this type of individualized service where the parents are directly involved is invaluable to the local school community. My students gained not only some great hands-on experience conducting hearing screenings, but the event also provided them with a better understanding of identifying language differences vs. disorders. Having access to trained bilingual speech and language clinicians who can provide specialized screenings just to help with the over- and under-identification at the earliest stages of education could have an amazing impact on a school’s programming.”

For the TWU students, the experience not only provided valuable training, but it also allowed them to make an impact on the lives of others.

“I decided to volunteer because I thought it would be a great learning opportunity, and I believe in learning as much as I can to provide the best service possible and to gain confidence as a clinician,” said SLP student Diana Cruz of Los Angeles. “I enjoyed coordinating with other professionals and working with the parent and the child during this experience. It felt good to hear that we were helping a family receive the services they needed in order to get ready for enrollment at school.”

Having the TWU students engage in an interdisciplinary event also was important.

“It was amazing for our SLP students to participate in oral health care training,” Lynch added. “As speech pathologists, we have first-hand knowledge of the impact of oral health and dentition on articulation.  Having the opportunity to assist and observe the services provided by our dental hygiene students was a terrific learning opportunity for our students.”

Media Contact

Ray Willhoft
Director of Communications, Jane Nelson Institute for Women's Leadership

Page last updated 9:41 AM, August 13, 2021