Moderated by Denise Cruz, Director of Clinical Education and Clinical Services, the panel was comprised of four clients who survived strokes and now have communication difficulties, a caretaker of one of the clients, and Renee Royles ’19, the MMC senior who leads their group sessions in clinic.
The clients spoke to an audience of MMC students, faculty, staff, and administrators about their emotional recovery journeys from strokes that resulted in aphasia—an impairment of language, which affects the production or comprehension of speech, as well as reading and writing abilities. While each person had unique experiences with a variety of medical and therapy teams, there was one common thread: each of them were incredibly grateful for the compassionate, transformative services they discovered at the Ruth Smadbeck Center.
“Tuesdays with Marymount have changed my life,” one person shared. “Your program is like a ray of sunshine and a bright light in our lives. The services I receive here are such a comfort to me and my family.”
The Ruth Smadbeck Communication and Learning Center provides free services to the community, while also serving as a valuable educational asset to MMC students studying Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Students learn a wide variety of diagnostic testing and treatment techniques in the clinic and have the opportunity to work directly with clients, obtaining on-site clinical observation, training, and supervision—learning opportunities rarely available at the undergraduate level.
Royles, who completed her clinical rotation last year, was so moved by the group therapy sessions she led as part of her training, that she has continued to do so this year on a volunteer basis.
“Being a student clinician is emotionally and academically rewarding. It helps grow soft and hard skills,” Rene explains. “Reading it in a textbook is one thing, but being there with the patients is beautiful and just so rewarding when you see growth happen.”