SIU clinic, students join health awareness month

By Diamond Jones, Daily Egyptian

SIU’s Clinical Center is promoting Hearing and Speech and Mental Illness Awareness Month to inform people of the different specializations and prevention of communication disorders. 

The Clinical Center, which was founded by former SIU President Delyte Morris in 1958, provides services to the community and trains professionals for work in psychological, educational, speech and language services.

Sarah Vadnais, a graduate assistant in physiological services, said clients take an assessment to help clinicians diagnose what psychological disorder they are dealing with. She said these assessments help assistants create treatments for clients.


“There’s the anxiety of the unknown that holds people back and not knowing what therapy looks like,” Vadnais said. “Validating and educating these clients and letting them know they’re not alone is powerful.”

But the clients aren’t the only ones who gain from the service.

“When our students leave here, they go off to hospitals, rehab centers, schools and private clinics where the feedback of their education and training is highly positive,” said Diane Muzio, speech and language coordinator of the clinic.

Muzio said the graduate students involved in this program are exposed to the best practices available that deal with many problems including, stuttering, receptive and expressive language, swallowing and articulation.

Colleen Horan, a master’s student in communication disorders and science from Chicago, is also one of the speech and language graduate assistants.

“It’s always important to create awareness and reach out to people who may be struggling with something they’re unaware of,” said Horan, who received a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing sciences from Indiana University in 2011.

Horan said her sister, who has autism, is her reason for going into this field. She has committed to 400 hours of work in the clinical center, exams and undergraduate courses and that helped her earn a highly selective internship at North Shore Hospital in Chicago this summer.


Vadnais, who is pursuing a career as a child clinical neuropsychologist, said she has a cousin with ADHD.

“Everyone deals with tough situations in their life and it’s really beneficial for someone to have support,” Vadnais said. 

Client or clinician, Holly Cormier, director of the center, wants to use this month as a way to inform people of the services available.

“For some people, they may not come from a culture of acknowledging their issues,” Cormier said. “Information is always changing and we want to try and improve and grow therapy with access to support.”

For more information visit the SIU Clinical Center website here or contact 618-453-2361.

Diamond Jones can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3325.