On Thursday, April 20, 2011, Hanna Rogers, a student with an interest in audiology at Missouri State University and her mother, Marcella Bentley-Salmon, contract officer, KU Center for Research, Inc., were welcomed by Sara Sack, Director, Assistive Technology for Kansans, to a day packed full of information about research and practice in the field of speech, language and hearing.
More than 20 researchers, graduate assistants, staff and others gathered at the Life Span Institute at Parsons Research Center Conference Room. Dave Lindeman, Director, LSI at Parsons, set the stage with a brief history of the Life Span Institute at Parsons highlighting current research and funding levels, as well as Parsons' more than 50-year history in communication research.
Becky Dhooghe, PSH&TC audiologist, opened the discussion with her experiences with individuals with intellectual disabilities who are difficult to test. Becky described some of the challenges to determine hearing loss in an aging population and strategies her team and colleagues use to support the best quality of communication for each resident.
Heidi Daley, a school-based audiologist and Director of Audiology for the Southeast Kansas Education Service Center at Greenbush in Girard, continued the topic of difficult to test individuals with discussion on providing services through the public schools for difficult to test students and babies.
Following a break for lunch, LSI/Parsons Research Center alumni, Joe Spradlin, Sebastian Striefel, Michael Dixon and Lois Dixon joined the group.
Kathleen (Kat) Stremel Thomas, Project Director, Influencing Outcomes for Children Who Are Deaf-Blind with Cochlear Implants, Teaching Research Institute, Western Oregon University and a University of Kansas courtesy appointment, presented preliminary findings of her project's Cochlear Implant research and her interest in more effective ways to prepare individuals for hearing testing. She then introduced Kate Saunders, Research Professor, Dean Williams, Senior Scientist & Yusuke Hayashi, Research Associate of the Parsons Research Center, who have written a new Steppingstones grant proposal to meet these challenges.
Dean Williams presented the proposal submitted that morning. A lively discussion ensued highlighting the broad range of expertise among the participants in audiology, behavior analysis, assistive technology, cochlear implants, and research design and methods. As good byes were offered, Hanna expressed her increased interest in coordinating an off-site clinical experience at Parsons.
Marcella Bentley-Salmon responded to the day by email: "We appreciate so much meeting yesterday, and hearing about the research and different areas of focus you each bring related to communication disorders. It is hard to express in words the dimensions we now realize come together from the different areas of concentration."