Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology is an allied health profession that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of people with hearing, language, and speech disabilities in diverse populations, including children, youth, adults and the elderly. Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists are involved in making the communication process more accessible, and work in many different education, social, and health care settings, as well as in private clinics, and in patients’ homes, with varying roles, and client populations.
BA Studies in Communication Disorders in Ariel
The Department of Communication Disorders was established by Prof. Esther Ben-Itzhak in 2007 and was recognized by the Council for Higher Education as an institution that grants Bachelor’s Degrees in Communication Disorders. The program aims to shape Speech – Language Pathologists and Audiologists into sensitive therapists with extensive theoretical and practical knowledge and diverse skills. Students learn practical tools for the treatment of variety of communication disorders.
Studies focus on four main domains: basic sciences, language and speech, hearing sciences and basic research. The program includes various courses in normal communication (speech, language, hearing, cognition) across a lifespan, as well as hearing and vestibular disorders (audiology), and speech, language, and swallowing disorders (speech-language pathology). In addition to the core subjects (social, behavioral, biological, and physical science foundations), additional therapeutic subjects are taught, such as Israeli Sign Language and Augmentative and Alternative Communication.
Emphasis is placed on the fields of language and speech in special populations, such as children on the autistic spectrum, those with learning disabilities, aging adults, and more. Graduates of the department will be able to become leading therapists in a multidisciplinary team that will plan and supervise comprehensive treatment programs for children with complex disorders. The program also provides extensive professional and research knowledge that will enable those wishing to do so to pursue advanced degrees in a variety of fields.
Faculty and Areas of Research
The department’s faculty is extensive and includes professionals and researchers from various fields of communication disorders and related fields. The department conducts studies on auditory processing, specific language impairments, autism, cognitive and language relationships, auditory system disorders, the vestibular system and others. The faculty members, who include audiologists and speech-language pathologists, as well as specialists from the fields of medicine and psychology, deal with the broad spectrum of communication disorders.
Clinics and Research Laboratories
In line with its overall approach, the Department of Communication Disorders is committed to contributing to the community. Its hearing, language, speech and voice disorders clinic assists patients from the general population in the region. Students from the department take part in additional projects, such as a tutoring program for children undergoing treatment at the clinic, organizing a “Hearing Day” where hearing screening tests are conducted for university employees and students as well as for the residents of the city of Ariel, “Aphasia Day” and “Voice Day” with educational activities around the university campus, and participation in a tutoring project for autistic students at Ariel University.