SCSD Travels to Orlando for Special Olympics USA Games

Dr. Selena Snowden, along with Dr. Chelsea Alexander and several graduate and undergraduate students from the School of Communication Science & Disorders, traveled to Orlando, FL from June 4th-11th to conduct hearing testing on athletes, coaches, and unified partners for the Special Olympics USA Games. 

Audiology and Speech Pathology students from the University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of South Florida, and NOVA Southeastern University joined SCSD to test approximately 2,300 individuals at the Special Olympics games.

“Partnering with other universities provides the opportunity to learn from and network a variety of professionals and students,” said Snowden. 

FSU SCSD students have been participating with Special Olympics USA since 2006. Students who volunteer their time are able to gain experience in working with those with a variety of intellectual disabilities. 

Clinical training in Communication Science and Disorders is a prerequisite to providing quality care. Students gained experience at this event not only through hearing screenings, but also through identifying conditions that might warrant additional medical referrals. Students were also able to counsel athletes and their families on the impacts of untreated hearing loss and evaluate athletes of all ages and communication abilities.

“Having been involved with the Special Olympics for many years, my favorite part is knowing I am a part of a movement to not only decrease health disparities for individuals with intellectual disabilities but also to invite others to think, feel, and act differently. You leave the event knowing you are helping create a world of inclusion and acceptance,” said Snowden. “The smiles of the athletes are truly the only ‘thank you’ that I need and is what keeps me coming back year after year.”