MOUNT VERNON — A new mural in the Hunter Hall Clinic will give patients something to talk about. At least that’s the goal of the artwork in one of the treatment rooms in the speech and language disorders clinic in downtown Mount Vernon.
The mural depicts a farm scene and includes a farmer and his family, cows, chickens, a pig, a dog, a cat, ducks, and a sheep. It is the familiarity between young children and the animals that brings hope for success in therapy sessions.
“It is often hard to elicit verbal utterances from young children with language delay,” said Florence Lim-Hardjono, M.A., Ph.D. (ABD), CCC-SLP, assistant professor and program director for the CSD program. “However, they usually love farm animals. I am hoping that they would be excited when they see the mural. Their excitement might lead to spontaneous verbal utterances, such as pointing and saying, ‘cow.’”
The mural is a collaborative effort between the Communication Science and Disorders program and the Art program. Hardjono suggested the farm theme, and Liberty Lutes, a junior fine arts major, brought the rural life to children in speech therapy. The project was directed by Professor John Donnelly with the support of Professor Margaret Allotey-Pappoe.
“It brightens up the room and makes the room less intimidating to young pediatric patients,” said Hardjono. “It helps young pediatric patients transition from waiting room to therapy room without hesitation and separation anxiety with their caregivers.”
Hardjono is grateful for the mural and is hopeful future partnerships will result in murals in the three remaining treatment rooms.
CSD majors in their second semester junior year, and seniors, serve as student clinicians in the clinic as they progress through their education to become speech language pathologists. In the clinic, they cater to pediatric and adult patients with disorders such as language, speech sound, voice and fluency. In addition, they treat those with communication disorders following a stroke, concussions or traumatic brain injuries.
“The opportunity for undergraduate students to practice under the supervision of a licensed speech language pathologist is very rare. Not many programs have this opportunity,” said Hardjono. “Having a clinic in Hunter Hall allows our students to be well prepared and ready for graduate school, strengthens our program as we strive to excel and graduate students who achieve excellence in academic and evidence-based practices, and serves the Mount Vernon community.”