IPFW students provide vital services to community members with special needs

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News release from IPFW:

IPFW Students Provide Vital Services to Community Members with Special Needs

(April 5, 2011) – Imagining a world without spoken language is almost impossible for most people. But for those with language difficulties, everyday happenings can turn into great challenges. Students and faculty in the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) plan to raise awareness of these challenges as well as help reduce some of them. The department will host three unique events this spring to provide more opportunities to those with language difficulties.

First, to help the community appreciate the diversity in our area, CSD will host the 10th Annual Deaf, Deaf World, Thursday, April 7, in the Walb Student Union Ballroom from 6 to 8 p.m. It is free and open to the public, ages 6 and up, and is co-sponsored by the American Sign Language (ASL) PAH Club.

Participants of Deaf, Deaf World will go from table to table, interacting with a member of the deaf community who is manning each booth. Booths will represent different factors of everyday life. Participants cannot use spoken language to communicate, but rather ASL, other non-sign language gestures, or writing a message (only as a last resort).

To help children with disabilities jump into spring, CSD designed and will run The Sensitive Easter Bunny, Friday, April 15, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Walb Student Union, Room 114. This free event minimizes distractions and stimulation so children can be comfortable and enjoy the experience.

Children with disabilities will have the opportunity to get their photo taken with the Easter Bunny. While waiting for a turn, they can participate in low-stimulation games and activities. If a family wants a picture with the bunny, they should RSVP to 260- 481-6410 or blosser@ipfw.edu.

“The Sensitive Easter Bunny offers families and children with disabilities a less overwhelming experience and still gives them an equal opportunity to meet and have their picture taken with the Easter Bunny,” said Jodi Intelicato, CSD major. “This event has brought our classmates closer together. Everyone is so willing and excited to help. It’s taught us a lot about teamwork as well as how to form events that make our community better.”

In May, four CSD majors and two photography majors will collaborate with Art Link to exhibit photographs taken by adults who have had strokes and experience language difficulties. This exhibit is the culmination of a semester-long therapy project. The exhibit will take place Saturday, May 7, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Art Link, 437 East Berry St. The project used photography as language and was designed by Hess and Sharon Egly based on a similar program from University of Central Florida. Written and verbal description of the photos will be available at the showing. This event is free and open to the public. Local photographer Karin Wilcox served as a professional resource.

“Photography as Language was designed to provide a practicum experience for CSD majors earning a gerontology certificate,” said Lucille Hess, chair and associate professor of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. “Student and community participants practiced language skills, photography skills, and conversation in a meaningful and rewarding activity. ”

For more information, contact Lucille Hess, chair and associate professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, at 260-481-6411 or hess@ipfw.edu.


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