Requirements

The academic and clinical requirements for completing the Master of Arts in Communication Disorders – program and the specific academic and clinical requirements of Project REMOTE are listed below:

Masters of Arts in Communication Disorders – Academic Requirements

The curriculum for the master’s degree in communication disorders with a concentration in speech-language pathology is fully accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Council on Academic Accreditation and is designed to provide the academic and clinical preparation necessary for the provision of scientific, competent, and professional services by speech-language pathologists. The curriculum allows the student to meet the academic and clinical requirements for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP). In addition, students enrolled in the master’s program in speech and language pathology should be eligible to apply to the Massachusetts Board of Education for licensure as a teacher of the speech, language, and hearing-impaired upon completion of their degree program. [Note: To be eligible to participate in an off-campus practicum in a public school in Massachusetts (a requirement for teacher licensure), students who have not already done so will be required to take and achieve a passing score on the Communication and Literacy Skills Test of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) early in their master's program.]

All students must complete the required courses listed below. Students may be waived from one or more of the required courses only if comparable course work has been completed at another institution or previously at this institution. Under no circumstance, however, will a student be permitted to graduate with less than 30 graduate degree credits, as required by the Graduate School of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and/or the necessary distribution of academic course work and clinical practicum experiences to be eligible for certification in speech-language pathology. While all clinical practica must be taken for credit, no more than six credits of clinical practicum may be applied to the minimum 30 credits of graduate course work required for the awarding of the master’s degree.

Required Courses for Speech-Language Pathology Majors

COMM-DIS 520 Counseling in Communication Disorders
COMM-DIS 530 Neurological Bases of Speech, Language and Hearing
COMM-DIS 580 Cognitive Bases of Language
COMM-DIS 610 Phonological Disorders
COMM-DIS 611 Fluency Disorders
COMM-DIS 612 Voice Disorders
COMM-DIS 613 Language Disorders in Adults I
COMM-DIS 614 Language Disorders in Adults II
COMM-DIS 615 Evaluation Processes in Speech-Language Pathology
COMM-DIS 624 Motor Speech Disorders
COMM-DIS 630 Graduate Research in Communication Disorders
COMM-DIS 631 Language Disorders in Children I
COMM-DIS 632 Language Disorders in Children II
COMM-DIS 641 Advanced Hearing Rehabilitation
COMM-DIS 691A Dysphagia

Note: If a student does not have an undergraduate course in Diagnostic Audiology, the student would need to enroll in Comm-Dis 640, Advanced Diagnostic Audiology.

In addition to the academic courses listed above, students must complete a minimum of 400 hours of supervised clinical experience with individuals representing a variety of communication pathologies and ages. Clinical experience is gained initially in the Center for Language, Speech and Hearing and then subsequently in at least two additional off-campus cooperating programs (e.g., hospitals, schools, clinics, private practice offices, community centers). At least 325 of the required 400 hours must be obtained at the graduate level and the student must have achieved the appropriate distribution of clinical hours to be eligible for certification in speech-language pathology. A total of 75 clinical hours obtained as an undergraduate may be credited toward the 400 hour minimum if appropriate documentation of the supervised experience is provided. In addition to the direct service requirements, all students are required to complete at least 25 hours of observation of evaluation and management of patients with communication disorders by a professional or professionals holding the appropriate ASHA certification or by preprofessional students who are providing clinical services under the supervision of a professional or professionals holding the appropriate certification.

The M.A. program typically requires two years of full-time study (5 semesters) for those who have an undergraduate background in communication disorders and sciences. Students with undergraduate degrees in communication sciences and disorders who have not completed the prerequisite courses listed below will be required to make up any deficiencies from the department’s undergraduate course offerings and, consequently, may take more than the average amount of time to complete their degrees.  Current information about tuition and fees can be found at the website of the Bursar Office.

Project REMOTE Requirements

With respect to the additional grant related coursework that must be completed in conjunction with the course requirements for earning a Masters degree in SLP, REMOTE fellows are required to attend the 1-credit REMOTE ASD seminar (Comm-Dis 691S) for each semester of funding. The 1-credit REMOTE ASD seminar meets approximately once monthly for 2.5 hours. REMOTE fellows must also complete two additional electives, one elective is the Introduction to Autism Course (Comm-Dis 540) and the second required elective can be selected from among a list of courses, which fellows will be provided upon acceptance into the Project REMOTE grant program.

In addition to the seminar and two elective courses, fellows’ practicum experiences will be coordinated so that they have an opportunity to work with populations of children with Autism.

ON- and OFF-CAMPUS practicum experiences:

Fellows (graduate students) funded on Project REMOTE need to participate in specific grant-related practicum experiences working directly with individuals Autism or Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder, in conjunction with their assigned practicum experience. REMOTE fellows will complete a clinical experience using specific technologies to provide direct services to individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities (such as Autism or SCD) or other communication disorders. These practicum experiences will be scheduled as the primary practicum experience (on- or off-campus) or concurrently with other practicum sessions in the on-campus clinic. The grant-related requirements to be fulfilled on- and off-campus needs to be assigned and approved by the clinic director, Lisa Sommers, and Dr. Andrianopoulos, Director of Project REMOTE. A list of grant-related practicum requirements follows:

REMOTE fellows must complete at least one diagnostic evaluation of an individual with a neurodevelopmental disability (preferably Autism or SCD) either in the on-campus clinic (Center for Language Speech and Hearing) or off-campus at a school or off-campus practicum experience.

REMOTE fellows will engage in a training and practicum / research experience using Telehealth / Telepractice technologies and methodologies to provide services to individuals with a communication disability. This rotation will be arranged and overseen by Dr. Andrianopoulos and her lab manager/grant coordinator.

REMOTE fellows must complete at least one OFF-CAMPUS placement with a caseload of 50% children or individuals with ASD/SCD. This practicum can be completed during the Summer, Fall or Spring semesters of a fellow’s graduate program. If this is not feasible, then fellows are advised to have in total at least two placements with at least a caseload of at least 25% individuals on the spectrum. However, the contact hours required working with individuals with Autism or SCD can include both ON-campus and OFF-campus practicum experiences. For example, Fellows can complete ONE placement (summer or your school placement) with at least 50% individuals with ASD/SCD or TWO placements with at least a caseload of 25% with ASD at each of the two-practicum settings (e.g., on-campus clinic/Center AND/OR an off-campus practicum placement (non-school) AND/OR your school placement). Please keep in mind that as long as 50% of the clients you see have ASD/SCD, then fellows are fulfilling the ASD requirement of the grant. This does not have to mean that your supervisor’s caseload has to be 50% ASD. More information on this topic follows in sections below. Please note, that REMOTE and DOE fellows have not experienced any hardship meeting these practicum requirements and they are completed as part of the practicum experience required of the Masters Program in Communication Disorders.

We have collaborative relationships with a number of public schools and practicum placements that have a variety of programs for children with neurodevelopmental problems and ASD. A specific list of schools and programs that offer these experiences will be provided to REMOTE Fellows.

Recruitment

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder that significantly affects verbal and nonverbal communication, social-emotional interactions, and educational outcomes. Current estimates indicate that one in 68 children have been identified with an ASD (Center for Disease Control, 2014). As fiscal constraints increase and the prevalence of Autism skyrockets, the responsibility to better assess, manage, and educate students with ASD from Pre-Kindergarten to grade 12 has been falling onto inadequately prepared school staff, especially related personnel, such as school Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs). Yet, there is a critical shortage of SLPs in this country. The demand for qualified SLPs exceeds the number matriculating with masters’ degrees in Communication Sciences and Disorders (American Speech-Language Hearing Association, 2004e). There is a vital need to build capacity of SLPs who are knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced as effective collaborators in the public schools to use technologies to improve achievement and educational outcomes of students with ASD, including children with ASD from racially and culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) backgrounds and English Language Learners (ELLs).

The focus of the REMOTE training project will be to expand the ASD personnel preparation training masters program in SLP at UMass-Amherst to include the use of technologies to deliver SLP services to students with ASD and/or acquired neurologic involvement, such as stroke. The objectives of the REMOTE project are to: 1) prepare a small cohort of SLP graduate fellows who will gain knowledge, skills, and experiences in a specialty-training program to be better serve the needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and with neurodevelopmental disabilities; 2) expand our masters SLP specialty training program in collaboration with our grant –related faculty to include the use of technologies to deliver SLP services, collect empirical study to help demonstrate evidence-based practices utilizing technologies for management and remediation of neurologically-based communication disorders; 3) engage in inclusive and collaborative teaching environments; 4) provide professional development opportunities both on- or off-campus; 5) disseminate state-of-art knowledge and empirical data regarding the training of SLP specialists using evidence-based procedures through the use of technologies; and 6) build capacity of qualified SLP personnel to serve the needs of individuals with complex and multiple neurodevelopmental problems, such as ASD.

Knowledge and Skills

Certification in Speech Language Pathology

Being “certified” means holding the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC), a nationally recognized professional credential that represents a level of excellence in the field of Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP).

Knowledge and Skills Needed by Speech-Language Pathologists for Diagnosis, Assessment, and Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders Across the Life Span
This knowledge and skills document is an official statement of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Professional Issues in Telepractice for Speech-Language Pathologists
This professional issues statement was developed by the Ad Hoc Committee on Telepractice in Speech-Language Pathology, which was appointed in 2008 by the ASHA Board of Directors.

Knowledge and Skills CEC Standards for Students with Autism and Developmental Disabilities

Published Reports on Evidence-Based Practice regarding Interventions for Autism

Evidence-Based Practices for Children, Youth, and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The National Autism Center’s (2009) National Standards Report 

Application Forms

REMOTE Letter of Intent 2015

REMOTE Abstract

US DOE Service Obligation Q+A