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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

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Johnathan Robinson Anthony, Ph.D. student & speech-language pathologist speaks with a child in SDSU’s Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences Clinic. Johnathan Robinson Anthony, Ph.D. student & speech-language pathologist speaks with a child in SDSU’s Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences Clinic.

A Playful Pediatric Clinic Room Honors Its SDSU Founders

The School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences unveiled a plaque dedicating a children’s clinic room to the two pioneering women who founded it.
By Peggy Pico

Pint-sized furniture, a big colorful play kitchen and plenty of enticing toys make play-based therapy look like a lot of fun, especially in the newly dedicated Dr. Sue Earnest and Nancy Reed Pediatric Clinic Room at San Diego State University's School of Speech, Language and Hearing Services (SLHS)

The Children’s Speech Clinic grew in leaps and bounds since its humble beginning in 1953. Sue Earnest, Distinguished Faculty at SDSU, and then-graduate student Nancy Reed, founded their groundbreaking clinic that operated from the basement of the original campus library on Saturday mornings.  

The donation-based clinic, now in the SLHS building, continues to serve children, adults, and families five days a week. 

“The Children’s Speech Clinic started small and now is the SDSU Speech-Language Clinic, where we provide children and adults over 5500 hours of services each year while educating and training future speech-language pathologists, educators and researchers,” said Ignatius Nip, interim SLHS director at the Pediatric Clinic room dedication on April 6. 

About 40 guests, including Reed’s daughter Susie, celebrated the founders’ immense impact on their lives and in the community–as an eloquent plaque was unveiled at the celebration, naming the pediatric clinic room in honor of Earnest and Reed– who remained life-long friends. 

“There’s no part of my life–professionally and personally that Sue and Nancy didn’t play a significant role in,” said Darlene Gould Davies, SDSU Faculty Emeritus, and close friend and former student of the founding women. 

Leaving an enduring legacy, Earnest died at the age of 100 in 2007.  Reed died in November 2020, at the age of 92.

“Dr. Earnest and Ms. Reed’s legacy includes not only the SDSU Speech-Language Clinic but also the thousands of Speech-Language pathologists trained over the years at SDSU, who have gone on to help countless others with speech, language, and communication disorders,” said Nip. “SLHS offers the only Ph.D. program in the field in California, along with our bilingual specialization and certificate programs.”  

Decades of research show hearing, speech, and language therapy for those with communication disorders are vital. Effective communication is directly linked to academic achievement and participation in society, especially in young children, who may be unable to articulate their needs. 

Earnest and Reed’s dedicated Pediatric Clinic room provides a fun space and the essential building blocks for learning through SDSU’s Speech, Language and Hearing services for children with communication disorders from a range of cultural and language backgrounds.