SIUE Establishes an Affiliate of the National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing

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SIUE Establishes an Affiliate of the National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing

NationalBlackSpeechGroupListening, deciphering and diagnosing problems with speech, language and hearing involves many things – including being culturally competent. The latter is one reason why students registered a newly formed affiliate of the National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing (NBASLH) at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  

“When we are evaluating and treating people with communication disorders, we have to be aware of cultural differences,” said Kathryn Brady, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Applied Health and faculty advisor for SIUE’s NBASLH student chapter. “We have to be extremely cognizant of the fact that culture deals with the way we communicate. Racial and ethnic groups are just one part. If we lose that part of it, our evaluations will be completely skewed.” 

“Our mission is to raise awareness in the community about the need for more minorities in the field, whether they be black or otherwise,” said Nydraisha Geeters, president of NBASLH at SIUE and a senior majoring in speech-language pathology. “Because language is an organic thing and is constantly changing, this could lead to us wrongly diagnosing someone with a disorder, who could just have a different way of speaking due to different cultural influences. For this reason, we need more minorities in the field, and we also need to raise awareness that there aren’t currently enough.” 

Alicia Boyd, who earned a bachelor’s in speech-language pathology in 2019 from SIUE, did the initial groundwork to bring the NBASLH to SIUE, according to Brady. 

“Then a group of students stepped in this year and got approval to re-register the chapter with the Kimmel Student Involvement Center,” added Brady. “We are still in the organizational phase, where we are establishing goals and direction. 

“The biggest goal right now is to attend the national convention in April 2020 in Houston. NBASLH is fundraising for that. Also on our radar is to go into area high schools, such as the SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School, to make black students aware of this field.” 

Photo:
Members of the National Black Association for Speech-Language Hearing (NBASLH) at SIUE will attend the group’s national convention in April 2020 in Houston. Shown from left to right are Jeanette Peebles, secretary; Kierston Jamison, vice president; Sydnee Lollis, secretary; and Nydraisha Geeters, president.