State Allocates $125,000 to Speech Clinic

May 7, 2013

Dozens of graduate students at NMSU’s speech and hearing center are going out into the real world soon.

They’ll work to help people who have trouble speaking or hearing.

They’ve learned to use equipment specifically designed for that at NMSU. Every one of the speech rooms in this building now has a computerized speech lab and the center is specifically equipped to work with patients with a cleft palate.
Tenecia Yeboah is the Coordinator of Clinical Services at the Speech and Hearing Center.

“We can say that we’re not just adequately, but very well equipped here in the center in comparison to other centers nationwide.”

To find out, I tried out some of the equipment with a group of graduate students who know more about it than me.

One device tracks whether vocal patterns come more from your mouth or your nose.

The sentences sound strange, but the words typically come more from the mouth or nose, unless there’s an abnormality – which the graduate students are trained to find in a graph that plots the sounds.

Another machine can look right at the source of a speaking problem with a tiny camera that looks at the vocal chords as they move.

New Mexico senate pro tem Mary Kay Papen, has a personal connection to the clinic – as a grandmother.

“James, who’s 8 and he has three markers for autism and that really sent me on the road of looking at it. There’s nothing like walking in the shoes of something that affects someone in your family, particularly your grandchildren and your children that calls you to the service of doing what you need to do.”

Senator Papen allocated $75,000 of the state budget to go towards the clinic.
“I want to thank the governor for not vetoing it.”

But then…“Wow.”

In addition to the $75,000, Mary Kay Papen and state legislators secured another $50,000 for the center.

Dr. Marlene Salas-Provance is the department head for Special Education and Communication Disorders at NMSU.

“I know that those capital outlay monies are monies that the people of New Mexico are giving us to help others and when we heard that we got another $50,000, I thought well, we can help so many more people,”

She says the extra money will go into the community.

It’s a program that benefits the community, but trains people who come here from all across the country.