* Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences

April 5, 2007

Preschool Language Program celebrates 20 years

Preschool Language Program
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The Purdue University Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences' Preschool Language Program is celebrating its 20th anniversary on April 15.

The event will take place from 2-4 p.m. at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 510 Lindberg Road, West Lafayette. A brief presentation is planned at 3 p.m. Tours will be ongoing and refreshments will be served. Purdue Pete will be there from 2:30-3:30 p.m.

"The Preschool Language Program has served 250 families of children with communication delays and disorders by providing intervention services in a language-rich preschool setting," said Jeanette S. Leonard, co-director and speech-language pathologist and audiologist. "It is important to provide early intervention for young children with communication difficulties. The goal of this intervention is to foster communication development and minimize problems with social interactions with peers and later academic learning."

Specific language delays can include limited vocabulary, poor language comprehension, lack of clarity or infrequent speaking. Children who have a form of autism, are hearing impaired or have a cleft palate also may attend the program. The program serves about 15 students, ages 3-5, during the fall and spring semesters. These children are referred by local schools, First Steps Early Intervention, health-care providers and parents. If eligibility is established, the semester fee is covered by a special education cooperative, such as Greater Lafayette Areas Special Services.

"The program not only benefits children, but Purdue students as well," said program co-director Hope Gulker.

More than 200 graduate students in speech-language pathology have gained experience at this site, said Gulker, who also is the program's developmental specialist and social worker. The students, working under supervision, participate in practicum training by working with the children.

"Purdue students learn how to provide indirect therapy in a natural preschool environment and direct therapy in individual or small group sessions," Gulker said.

The Preschool Language Program is part of the Purdue Audiology and Speech-Language Clinics, which are operated by the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts.

The United Way provided one-time financial support in 1986 to assist with start-up costs for the program. Redeemer Lutheran Church also has supported the program for the past 19 years

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, (765) 494-9723,

Sources: Jeanette S. Leonard, (765) 494-3802,

Hope Gulker, (765) 494-3800,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Purdue speech, language and hearing science students Heather Redden (left), a junior from Greenfield, Ind., and Laura Phillips, a senior from Carmel, Ind., read to (from left) Dash Driggs, Isaac Ringstrom and C.J. Murawski, who are participating in the Preschool Language Program. The program, which helps children with language delays, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The program is part of the Purdue Audiology and Speech-Language Clinics, but is housed in the Redeemer Lutheran Church in West Lafayette. (Purdue News Service Photo/David Umberger)

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