Upgraded digital audio and visual recording equipment in the Worcester State University Speech-Language-Hearing Center will provide a powerful teaching tool for case managers and students, allowing for real-time assessment and improving care, according to the center’s director, Ann Veneziano-Korzec.
“This project puts us into the 21st century with digital recording and will change the way we teach, learn and help our clients,” she said. “We now have high-definition recording of both sound and video, and the ability to watch a session immediately to evaluate it. That greatly improves the teacher-student learning experience.”
Two years in the planning, the equipment upgrade project was funded through support from the Fletcher Foundation, Stoddard Charitable Trust, and George I. Alden Trust.
Installation took place in time for the center to commemorate Better Hearing and Speech Month. Throughout the month of May, the center is offering complimentary hearing evaluations. Call 508-929-8055 to book an appointment.
The Speech-Hearing-Language Center is a community clinic that provides specialized services in audiology and speech-language pathology to hundreds of children and adults throughout Worcester County. Clients receive individualized services for communications disorders, differences in articulations, fluency, voice, language, and hearing.
Graduate students in the Speech-Language Pathology program conduct evaluations and treatment with guidance from case managers, who monitor sessions and provide feedback both during and after the evaluations. The new technology allows the case managers to supervise multiple sessions and offer discreet guidance to students through an earpiece.
“Before, case managers were in an observation room looking through a two-way mirror, sometimes with parents present. When they offered feedback during the session, it came through a speaker in the ceiling of the therapy room, sort of like the voice of God, which could be disruptive, especially for children,” said Keith Darrow, Ph.D., associate professor of communication sciences and disorders and supervising clinical audiologist for the center. “Now case managers can observe from their desks and talk to just the student through the ear bud.”
Patient-client confidentiality will also improve since the sessions are immediately stored on a secured server, rather than recorded to a DVD that needed to be checked out and tracked.
All therapy rooms also now have eye-level, movable video cameras that can be adjusted as needed during a session.
“In the past, the static video cameras sometimes gave a good view of the top of a client’s head, which didn’t help with analysis of facial movements and other visual indicators of issues,” Veneziano-Korzec said. “Now we can see every single movement in high-definition and the audio is perfect, which is very important.”
The project also included an upgrade of a therapy and teaching room that is large enough for group therapy or parent conferences. Equipped with a projector, the room also allows research faculty to bring in study participants, and staff to host national industry meetings with colleagues.
The Speech-Language-Hearing Center offers discounts to Worcester State alumni, students, and employees, and to members of the Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts.
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