Thursday, July 24, 2014

Early childhood screenings offered with support from The Blue Ribbon Foundation

July 12. 2014 11:41PM

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A hearing assessment program for at-risk preschool children will begin in the fall thanks to support from The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Misericordia University received an $11,026 grant from The Blue Ribbon Foundation that will enable it to provide free hearing screenings and intervention services at Head Start Centers in Luzerne County. Graduate speech-language pathology students, under the direction of licensed faculty, will provide the screenings.

About 300 preschool children will be screened and those who are identified as having possible communication disorders or delays will receive referrals to low- or no-cost services for further evaluation and treatment at the Misericordia University Speech-Language and Hearing Center.

“In Luzerne County, nearly 2,230 children have a speech and language disorder, but a majority of these children are not benefiting from specialized services critical to their development. The first part of this process is the identification of needs through screenings and evaluations,” said Glen Tellis, Ph.D., chair, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and interim dean of the Misericordia University College of Health Sciences. “We are grateful to The Blue Ribbon Foundation for making it possible for us to provide these important screenings to local Head Start students.”

The university’s Department of Speech-Language Pathology has been providing clinical opportunities to regional clients with communication disorders since 2003 in the Speech-Language and Hearing Center in John J. Passan Hall at 100 Lake St., Dallas. To date, more than 2,900 children, adolescents, adults and elderly have been treated at the clinic by students and faculty members. Faculty and students in the program have treated and improved the functional capacity of youngsters diagnosed with stuttering, autism, PDD, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, speech and language delays, apraxia, hearing impairment, voice disorders, swallowing disorders and other conditions. Because of financial hardship or lack of clinical resources, some clients visit the center from as far as 2½ hours away to access the specialized services that are administered at minimal cost to the clients.

For more information about the Misericordia University Speech-Language and Hearing Center or the Speech-Language Pathology program, please log on to or call (570) 674-TALK.

Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania established its private, nonprofit Blue Ribbon Foundation in 2002 to invest in health education and prevention initiatives that produce measurable health improvements and help manage long-term health costs for the residents of Northeastern and North-central Pennsylvania. In more than a decade of service, the foundation has awarded more than $10 million in grant funding to 195 nonprofits to help meet the health and wellness needs of more than 193,000 at-risk individuals.

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