Join Robert Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP, FNAP, the chair and program director of the department of Speech-Language Pathology at Salus University, as he moderates a podcast that focuses on the services provided at the Speech-Language Institute (SLI). He is joined by Charles McGinn Jr., a SLI client, Rhiannon Elias, ‘23SLP, a student working with that client, and Eileen Hunsaker, MS, CCC-SLP, the supervisor overseeing the care of the client.

McGinn Jr: My name is Charlie. I had a stroke three years ago.
Serianni: What have you learned in your time during therapy?
McGinn Jr:  The students help me a lot. And then one time, a month ago, I ordered my own food, drink, and soda and hotdogs.

Serianni: And where were you for that?
McGinn Jr: Baseball game.

Serianni: What keeps you motivated coming back to the SLI?
McGinn Jr: I think [a goal of] 100% talking. So now, 40%. So maybe one more year, maybe 60 percent, 70 percent talk. So who knows?

SLP podcast with client, faculty, and studentSerianni: You know what, I know that if anybody can do it, you're going to be the one to do it, Charles. I remember vividly supervising some of your first sessions and you're a thousand times better. Thank you so much.

We're going to switch to your student. Go ahead and introduce yourself, Rhiannon, and let our listeners know what year you're in and what motivated you to come to Salus.

Elias: Hi, my name is Rhiannon Elias. I graduated with a BA in communication sciences and disorders from Westchester in 2020. And now I'm a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology Program at Salus in the class of 2023. I chose Salus because of the excellent clinical opportunities that no other school in the area offers. It's a one-of-the-kind experience that gives me an edge in my career.

Serianni: How does working with somebody like Charlie enhance your education?

Elias: Well, I started working with Charles last semester in the fall and I just so happened to be also taking an aphasia class at that time. So, it was a really cool experience learning all about aphasia and right hemisphere disorders while also working with a client who has aphasia and combining the information I learned in clinic with the information I learned in class. Learning under Eileen, she's just amazing and it's awesome having her as a mentor to help me.

Serianni: Thank you for sharing that. Let's switch gears over to Eileen, go ahead and introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your clinical practice and your role here at Salus.

Hunsaker: My name is Eileen Hunsaker and I am an assistant professor here at Salus. I do both classroom teaching as well as clinical education. I supervise the sessions that Charlie and Rhiannon have together and I have been doing so working with Charlie and his student clinicians for over a year now. He says his speech is 40% back and he wants it to get to 60% and eventually 100%. I'm thinking he's probably already at 60% with his language back.

Serianni: From a professor standpoint, what do you think are some of the advantages of this early clinical exposure for our students?

Hunsaker: I think having the student starting clinic the very first month of being in the graduate program is advantageous both to the client and to the student. Students are able to, as Rhiannon so eloquently said, put into practice the information they're learning in their classroom and be able to learn as you do it. The advantage is the client is able to see very skilled therapists who are students.

Serianni: I think the mixture of getting the work in the classroom and then practicing it almost immediately in the clinical experiences really helps that information to gel.

I have to say that I think we are particularly proud of Rhiannon and her classmates because they've really done an excellent job working through the clinical experiences, transitioning from almost all virtual back to face-to-face. And we really are thankful for people like you, Charlie, who spend the time and teach them about themselves and about how communication matters.