At the age of four, back in 1951, Sandra Bissignano received a scholarship to study at the U.
Bissignano was a participant in a summer program through the Speech and Hearing Center, which focused on helping children with hearing loss communicate and understand those outside of the deaf community. Due to how well she responded to the lessons and teaching, the American Legion offered her a scholarship through the Child Welfare Program to continue with her lessons in the fall.
Today, the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic continues to help children, students and adults with hearing disabilities. Susan Naidu, a professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and program director of the center, said the U’s clinic plays a vital role in the communities surrounding the U and Salt Lake City.
“We provide various payment options in working with our clients, and so we accommodate a large part of the community with a communication disorder,” Naidu said.
The center today is very different than it was in the past. In a July 1951 archive of The Daily Utah Chronicle, “teachers from Texas to Canada [were] enlisted to train and learn the methods of helping children” learn. Today, the center works with graduate students working toward degrees in audiology and speech-language pathology.
The center is part of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and provides diagnosis, evaluation and treatment services to more than just those with hearing loss, they also work to help those with stutters and delayed language as well as those with more serious communication barriers, such as brain injuries and Parkinson’s Disease.
Naidu said people seeking their services can contact them directly at 801-581-3506. She said while they don’t have any programs like the one Bissignano participated in, they do offer hearing-screening opportunities for $25 in the summer.