COMD program strong, growing

by Jim Parsons

Daily Cougar Staff

The University of Houston's Communication Disorders program, which is the fastest-growing program in the UH System, is also the only one of its kind in this part of the state.

"We deal with such a wide range of people," said Greta Daniels, the president of the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association, an organization for future speech therapists in the COMD program.

NSSLHA and UH's COMD program operate three on-campus clinics. The UH Language-Learning Group treats preschoolers who have communicative problems; the Developmental Clinic, an interdepartmental group based in the College of Optometry, deals with reading and writing troubles among students of all ages; and the Speech and Hearing Clinic serves the entire Houston community.

"We work with people who have suffered trauma in accidents, as well as people with different types of speech and hearing disorders," Daniels said.

Funding for the program is provided from both internal and external sources, said Fran Hagstrom, an associate professor in communication disorders.

Hagstrom noted that hearing and speech therapy is one of the most in-demand fields in the country.

"Language is the primary way that we learn communicative skills," she said, "and that means that COMD programs and therapists (in schools) are growing and are badly needed."

Daniels said HISD currently has a need for about 100 speech communication therapists for in-district positions.

UH's COMD program offers degrees to the master's level, from which point therapists can go into practice on their own. For more information on the clinics, contact Mary Curl at 743-2899, and for information on the COMD program, contact Dr. Martin Adams at 743-2896.

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