Clinical Experiences

Students will complete a variety of clinical experiences while enrolled in coursework and will complete an additional 20-24 weeks of full-time internships, generally in a child and in an adult setting.

Beyond the walls of the clinic, established partnerships with community agencies allow graduate clinicians to develop and refine clinical skills in early childhood centers, rehabilitation hospitals, private and public schools, adult day care centers, and agencies serving children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Internship sites are selected in cooperation with and all arrangements are made on behalf of students by the Clinical Director in Speech-Language Pathology. Students are responsible for their own transportation, travel, and housing costs for all clinical experiences and will still pay tuition while completing their internships.

Clinical Sites

Thanks to grant funding provided by the Iowa Scottish Rite Masonic Foundation, our students provide speech-language services to both children and adults at the St. Ambrose University Rite Care Clinic, located right here on campus. The clinic is a great learning site for students who want to focus on adult clients in a medical setting. About 60 percent of our clinic clients are adults. 

In the Rock Island School District, graduate student clinicians work with practicing school SLPs to provide Response to Intervention services to children at risk of literacy and/or language difficulties in three local schools. Student clinicians also provide therapy services for children with identified communication disorders.

Through a partnership between the MSLP program and Carbon Cliff-Barstow School District, graduate student clinicians gain assessment and intervention experience by working with kindergarten and first grade children in a Quad Cities area school. Student clinicians work under the supervision of a practicing school SLP while providing Response to Intervention services to children identified as being at risk for language and literacy difficulties.

At the SAU Children's Campus (SAUCC) you will have the unique opportunity to become a part of the team providing a rounded education to children in a close-knit, child-oriented center. As a team we have the opportunity to work closely with the teachers to develop plans that help children learn to communicate effectively at home and in the classroom. Some children at SAUCC have had a variety of speech and language disorders including autism, fluency, voice, language disorders, speech sound disorders, and even some feeding issues. You will have the opportunity to work with children individually and in groups. Usually, we do pull-out therapy, but for those children working on social language and social skills we often work in the classroom or even out in the Beehive outdoor learning center. Additionally, we screen all the students at the facility in fall and spring as a service for SAUCC. Through these screenings you will gain experience with a multitude of children and be able to see firsthand developmental skills and abilities.

Empower House is a brain injury clubhouse. At Empower House, those that have sustained a brain injury engage in purposeful work throughout the day. The members, those who have sustained a brain injury, make the decisions and run the club. Student clinicians work with area practicing SLPs to help provide orientation and cognitive retraining treatment to adults. Students work with members in group treatment sessions and implement at-home therapy activities to facilitate skill carryover for the members. Interprofessional collaboration is a key part of this experience as well. Often other SAU students from other programs are at Empower House working with members.

The Friendly House (FH) Preschool setting offers MSLP graduate students real-world, authentic experience with children ages 2-5. Assessment experience at FK includes formal evaluation of all students using the Brigance Screen instruments, assessment of early literacy skills using the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening for students 4 years of age and older, articulation screening, informal language skill assessment, and formal evaluation of specific speech-language skills. On-site therapy is provided to children who would benefit from speech-language services. Collaboration with FH program staff facilitates the graduate student's understanding of the important role speech-language pathologists have in literacy skill development. Clinical experience is gained with individual students, small groups, and large groups. Graduate students assigned to the FH site will also gain experience with implementation of See the Sound/Visual Phonics, an augmentative gestural cuing strategy that helps to make speech sounds visible and concrete, and facilitates phonological and phonemic awareness skills.

Hope at the Brick House is a Davenport community non-profit that focuses on strengthening children and families. Students in the MSLP program at St. Ambrose University provide support in language, reading and writing to children K-8th grade. St. Ambrose students who have an opportunity to work at this site make a direct impact on the lives of children who are from struggling families. Student clinicians see the impact homelessness, abuse, and poverty have on language development and school readiness. Clinicians learn valuable skills in how to communicate with a diverse population, how to be flexible in a therapy situation, and how to devise plans that maximize learning for children who are at an academic disadvantage. At Hope at the Brick House placement, loving and supporting kids goes hand in hand with therapeutic planning and problem-solving.

Sweet Pea's Therapy provides students the opportunity to have real-world clinical experiences with leading specialized pediatric therapists. Sweet Pea's therapist will assist student clinicians in developing their assessment, intervention, and parent education skills. Student clinicians will work with patients in a one on one "play" based therapy session. These sessions will help children address articulation, language, fluency, feeding and social skill disorders. The "play" sessions are led by the child's interest and provide student clinicians the experience necessary to be successful in the specialized field of pediatric therapy. In addition, the Sweet Pea's Therapy experience provide student clinicians a collaborative "360-degree" approach working with other specialized therapists such as Occupational and Physical Therapist. This approach will provide a well-rounded, real-world experience for St. Ambrose students.

The St. Ambrose University Interprofessional Health Clinic provides student-led interprofessional healthcare services to the underserved population with a focus on compassionate care, empowerment of the individual, management of health conditions, and overall wellness. MSLP Students who serve a clinical rotation in the clinic work solely with adult clients.

Edwards Educational Tutoring Ministry is a collaboration between Edwards Congregational United Church of Christ and Eisenhower Elementary located in the Davenport Community School District. Edwards tutors are retired, former teachers who work with students identified by district and state assessments as being at-risk in the areas of literacy and mathematics. Graduate MSLP students will specifically work with groups of lower grade students on phonemic awareness skills and oral narrative strategies to help improve literacy foundations. Graduate students will not only deliver this instruction but also monitor students' progress to determine if instruction is going well or if specific students need more assistance on specific skill sets. In addition, graduate students will provide tutors with individual strategies that can be used with specific children to enhance the large group instruction.


Elisa Huff, PhD, Program Director

Master of Speech-Language Pathology
Center for Communication and Social Development
1310 W. Pleasant St.
Davenport, IA 52804

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