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Students learn from experience in Scotland

Students listening to an instructor in a classroom setting

Students listen to information from a specialist speech and language therapist in Scotland.

Students from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) recently had the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from team members at the Communication, Access, Literacy, and Learning (CALL) Scotland Center at the University of Edinburgh while on a short-term study abroad trip. Nineteen CSD students from the undergraduate and graduate programs traveled to this region with two CSD instructors for this experience.

CALL Scotland is funded primarily by the Scottish government to help learners, practitioners, and parents/caregivers best utilize technology to access the curriculum. The organization was established in 1983 as a research and development center as well as a service unit. CALL Scotland provides pupils, families, local authorities, and professionals with strategic leadership, pupil assessment and support, professional learning and training, specialist information and expert advice, assistive technology loans and technical support, and knowledge transfer, research, and development to meet its mission. The work by CALL Scotland helps children and young people across Scotland fulfill their potential by overcoming disability and barriers to learning created by their environment.

Gillian McNeil

Joanna Courtney

The CSD group interacted with two specialist speech-language therapists from CALL Scotland for a half-day program at the University of Edinburgh. Gillian McNeill and Joanna Courtney provided an in-depth training and overview of the services offered from the center. These professionals described services offered to individuals with complex communication needs across Scotland.

While at the facility, CSD undergraduate and graduate students received hands-on training with various high-tech communication devices and applications.  Students practiced alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) assessment and support and engaged with case examples through online learning modules and examples. Information about the educational contexts and AAC approaches that support learning needs across Scotland were defined during this experience.

The CSD students described this experience as exciting, engaging, and loaded with learning opportunities. CSD at Illinois State University remains grateful to CALL Scotland for their time and expertise during this collaboration with the students and instructors.