KU announces speech-language program for American Indian children

Kansas University will soon create a program that trains speech-language pathologists to work with children from American Indian communities, the university announced today.

A $1.2 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education will help fund the Culturally Responsive Early Literacy Instruction program at KU.

The program is meant to address the need for early intervention for preschool- and elementary school-aged children with some form of speech-language impairment. It also addresses the importance of cultural competence among clinicians and the benefits of using culturally relevant materials in treatments, said Matthew Gillispie, a clinical assistant professor of speech-language-hearing at KU who won the grant.

With American Indians making up only .3 percent of speech-language pathologists in the U.S., the program will try to fill a gap by recruiting American Indian students to KU’s speech-language pathology master’s program program. The five-year grant from the education department will help fund tuition, books, supplies and mentoring for graduate students.