Sophomore communication disorders major Meredith Hoerner chose to attend Truman State University because its smaller size offers abundant opportunities for one-on-one field experience, one of these opportunities being the newly opened Greenwood Interpersonal Autism Center. Truman’s communication disorders department has a therapy clinic available to all students within the field to create personal relationships. Professors guide them through how to conduct therapy and interact with patients of different backgrounds and needs.
“The clinic is free and available to anybody in the community who wants to come in and receive therapy from any of our Senior Clinic clinicians or graduate clinicians,” Hoerner said. “Patients can come in and receive free therapy, and Truman students get excellent education out of those opportunities.”
The Senior Clinic at Truman works with clinicians around the Kirksville community to provide students with contact information and connections to advance their post-graduation careers. In addition to this clinic, the Greenwood Interpersonal Autism Center was purchased by Truman during 1999 and has recently opened to the public. Hoerner explains she had heard buzz about the building but was never given specific information because of the building’s renovations.
Despite not being fully knowledgeable on the functions and purpose of the building in relation to Truman students, Hoerner is excited for its opening and the many opportunities it presents students working toward a communication disorders degree.
“Every student is looking to get out into the field and have real world experiences,” Hoerner said. “The more places that we have to do that is great. I know a lot of people within our major love to volunteer and give their own time to get field experience. We value that so highly. Having another place where we can go to do that is so vital to our learning.”
Andrea Richards, clinical supervisor in the communication disorder department, described the Greenwood building as a blessing to the Kirksville community. The opportunities it presents are not limited to just aiding student research.
Richard explained the center will offer locals more immediate connection to services they would otherwise have to travel further distances to obtain.
“This center will provide many opportunities for Truman students to observe therapies and gain needed clinical hours, participate as student workers or volunteers and learn about individuals with autism,” Richards said. “It will provide clinical observation and/or experience for many majors and minors.”