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Curriculum (Diversity/Prevention) Statements

WCU CSD Diversity Statement

A fundamental understanding and appreciation of diversity is basic to the provision of speech and language services to all age groups. WCU CSD students, faculty, and staff must be able to relate to persons of diverse nationalities, races, backgrounds, religious beliefs, disabilities, and sexual orientations.

CSD courses integrate an understanding, affirmation and respect for people from diverse backgrounds. Culture and personal identity are emphasized. Diversity content ensures that students learn to provide speech and language services that meet the needs of all groups served. Students are taught to recognize how diversity within and between groups influences practice. They also learn to define, design and implement practice strategies with persons from diverse backgrounds. Content relating to diversity is infused throughout all required courses in the CSD curriculum.


WCU CSD Prevention Statement

Prevention requires increased efforts to eliminate the onset of communication disorders and their causes and to promote the development and maintenance of optimal communication. Alternative professional roles and strategies must be developed, and the information and skills to promote and practice them must be acquired.

WCU CSD faculty promote prevention awareness by utilizing the following terminology specific to prevention: 1) Primary Prevention—the elimination or inhibition of the onset and development of a communication disorder by altering susceptibility or reducing exposure for susceptible persons; 2) Secondary Prevention—the early detection and treatment of communication disorders; 3) Tertiary Prevention—the reduction of a disability by attempting to restore effective functioning; 4) At Risk—the potential to develop a disorder based on specific biological, environmental, or behavioral factors; 5) Incidence—the rate of new occurrences of a condition in a population free of the disorder within a specified time period; 6) Prevalence—the total rate or proportion of cases in a population at, or during, a specified period of time; 7) Epidemiology—an observational science which investigates distribution and determinants of diseases and disorders in populations; and 8) Wellness—the development and maintenance of an optimal level of competence appropriate to any given stage of the life cycle.

CSD graduate and undergraduate courses address prevention by assuring that students:

  • Understand conditions that place individuals at risk for various communication disorders;
  • Understand conditions which promote development and maintenance of optimal communication abilities (wellness);
  • Interpret the existing prevention literature in order to apply the information appropriately;
  • Present primary prevention information to groups known to be at risk for communication disorders and other appropriate groups;
  • Provide individual, family and community focused primary prevention information and services;
  • Provide early identification and early intervention services for communication disorders occurring at any time during the life span;
  • Make appropriate referrals for prevention-related services not provided by speech-language pathologists and audiologists;
  • Disseminate, when possible, prevention information to various public sectors including health care professionals, social service professionals and extended families;
  • Understand methods of influencing public policy related to prevention of communication disorders;
  • Expand, when possible, research into the causes of communication disorders and variables which influence the development and maintenance of communication abilities; and
  • Educate, when possible, colleagues and the general public relative to personal wellness strategies as they relate to the prevention of communication disorders.

Prevention competencies listed above appear throughout CSD syllabi.

The statement above is adapted from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s 1988 Prevention of Communication Disorders Position Statement. Available from


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