School of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences

New Interdisciplinary Programs Take Flight

The School of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences is excited about two new programs that will ultimately help many high needs children. Puede! and Mainsail are both about providing better training to professionals who will work with high needs students—children with autism or trauma in their backgrounds and who have language difficulties. Puede! concentrates on training school psychologists who will work with children who, in addition to having high needs, are English-language learners with speech or language difficulties. Mainsail concentrates on training for special education teachers who work with children who have special needs as well as language or speech delays. Both the special needs teachers and the psychology students will be working towards master’s degrees in their field. Both projects are funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Education and both demonstrate the growing trend of interdisciplinary collaborations to solve complex health issues. These project also work to teach the newest research findings to graduate students before they begin their careers. SDSU is the only university that will be undertaking both projects.

Puede! Students
Puede! scholars are ready to start.

Puede!, stands for Partnering to Unify Education Services for Dual Language and English Learners and means, “I can” in English. It is being led by Dr. Carol Robinson-Zanartu and Dr. Jennica Paz from the School of Psychology. It will prepare 30 qualified bilingual school psychologists and speech-language pathologists to collaborate in assessment and interventions for dual language and English learners with high needs. All of the students will earn either a master’s or doctorate degree in special education es and California credentials as speech-language pathologists. The program includes both classroom learning and field placements, as well as specialized seminars and mentoring, all designed so that students will be equipped with the latest evidence-based practices for helping the children they will serve.

Meanwhile, students in the Mainsail program will be engaged in similar specialized classes and field placements in preparation for working with young children with high needs and speech challenges, with a particular emphasis on children on the autism spectrum. Mainsail stands for “MA degree Interdisciplinary Preparation for Speech-Language And Early Intervention Leaders” in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The program will be led by Dr. Yasemin Turan Qian and Dr. Laura Hall of the department of Special Education. Mainsail will produce 32 specially trained early education specialists – 16 with a master’s degree in early education and 16 speech-language pathologists. There will also be 10 mentor trainees who will be graduates from these programs who are working in the field and they will earn certificates in leadership and supervision. All of these professionals will be well equipped to work with young children with high needs and autism using evidence-based practices and the latest research discoveries in the field.

Dr. Sonya Pruitt-Love, who is overseeing the implementation of these programs with SLHS is very excited about the interdisciplinary collaboration this will foster and the creation of 66 “super professionals” in the next five years. She notes that learning to most up-do-date techniques and incorporating the latest research will create better teaching professionals, and that will have a wonderful impact on the children they serve. She hopes that a better student experience will translate into wider use of new techniques and better overall services for the children in the greatest need of help.

Save the Date for SAID 2019

You are invited to the 5th annual Speech-Language-Hearing Awareness and Information Day (SAID) on April 22, 2019 on the SDSU campus. SAID is a collaborative community event that aims to raise awareness about speech-language and hearing disorders and to provide educational interdisciplinary resources to students, faculty, and related professionals in the San Diego area. More information will be available on the school website ( soon.

Development Connection

The school operates two clinics on campus that provide free services to members of the San Diego community who need them. These clinics also provide hands-on training for the speech language pathologists and audiologists of the future. The Speech-Language clinic would be able to expand services to more children with ASD, stroke survivors, wounded warriors, and others in need of services if it had more resources to hire additional supervisors and purchase additional supplies. The Audiology Clinic would be able to offer more hearing tests and low-cost hearing aids to those in need with more funding. To make a donation, please visit or contact any member of the development team.

CHHS Dominates Aztecs Rock Hunger – for the Sixth Year in a Row

Aztecs Rock HungerAssistant Dean of Student Affairs Jason Ramirez says, “I’m ecstatic to announce the College of Health and Human Services added another shiny new plaque to our trophy shelf for donating the most pounds of food in the competition between the academic colleges! A big thank you to everyone who helped contribute to the collection of 14,019 pounds of food which was instrumental in helping us acquire a sixth consecutive trophy! As a college, we exceeded last year’s total by 681 lbs!” SDSU raised 590,503 pounds of food in this year’s Aztecs Rock Hunger event. Food and monetary donations were given to the San Diego Food Bank as well as stocking the Associated Students on-campus food pantry and providing dining meal plans for needy students.