Society & Culture

Free speech and hearing screenings to be held Nov. 7 at UGA

Speech and hearing clinic cats-h
A student at Live Oak Morning School correctly identifies an orange cat on a page of a speech

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Speech and Hearing Clinic will provide speech and hearing screenings for children and adults on Nov. 7 in its Aderhold Hall office.

The free screenings, which are offered twice a year, help identify issues such as stuttering, hearing loss, cognitive issues and swallowing disorders. Those who suspect possible speech or hearing issues may make an appointment for either test by calling the UGA Speech and Hearing Clinic at 706-542-4598.

This service is in addition to the more than 1,000 child screenings done each year at preschools, public schools and private schools in the Athens area. All evaluations are an outreach service of the UGA Speech and Hearing Clinic, which is part of the College of Education.

The tests are conducted by graduate students in the communication sciences and disorders program and are part of the students’ required clinical experience. This allows the students to gain valuable experience with a range of personalities and testing situations.

Speech tests ask subjects to point out familiar objects in pictures and describe them, while hearing tests check for a range of sounds. All patients leave with information about the results and resources for a follow-up, if necessary.

Nancy Dellaria, assistant clinical professor in the department of communication sciences and special education, said screenings can give parents a baseline for how their child is developing among their peers and provide an early indicator if intervention is needed.

“We test language, articulation or speech sounds, and also test for fluency to see if they stutter, their voice to see if their voices are appropriate for their age and social interactions,” said Dellaria. A separate group of UGA students, led by audiologists and clinical professors Alice Sanderson and Holly Kaplan, does more focused hearing screenings in Clarke and Oconee County schools and preschools.

At one school screening, Dellaria said she discovered a child had a cleft palate. And at times the screenings may result in a referral for a developmental assessment due to suspected autism. Other graduate students visit area senior centers to screen for cognitive functioning and dementia.

The earlier these issues are caught, Dellaria said, the faster an intervention plan can be put in place. “They can get services at an early age to help them be more successful when they enter kindergarten,” she said.

For more information on the UGA Speech and Hearing Clinic, see