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Sherri Norton (second from the left) and CAS Interim Dean Keith Garbut (seated) gather with students and staff after the Voice and Swallowing Lab ribbon cutting in May. Photo by Gary Jones.

Communication Sciences and Disorders debuts voice and swallowing lab

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Media Contact: Elizabeth Gosney | CAS Marketing and Communications Manager | 405-744-7497 |

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CDIS) officially opened its new Voice and Swallowing Lab in the basement of the Social Sciences and Humanities Building on the OSU-Stillwater campus at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in May.

“The lab gives CDIS students a chance to learn and practice procedures that would normally be learned post-graduation,” said Sherri Norton, clinical assistant professor and head of the lab. “This gives them an advantage over other schools and helps to build their confidence and understanding.”

Norton explained that voice and swallowing disorders are areas of speech pathology treatments that often need more attention during students’ academic careers in order to better prepare them for the workplace. With the help of CDIS faculty, the lab’s equipment — which includes a computerized speech lab, laryngoscope, anatomically correct head and neck models and more — will do just that.

“I am most excited to allow students the chance to perform simulated and live flexible endoscopic evaluations of swallowing because this is an opportunity that most universities do not provide,” Norton said. “We may be the only university in the state that has this equipment for students to utilize at the undergraduate and graduate levels.”

The lab is currently being used to treat clients in the CDIS Speech and Hearing Clinic. However, plans include mobile appointments in local nursing homes, research studies related to breathing exercises, Parkinson’s disease research, and collaboration with the music department to research voice and vocal pathologies that influence the singing voice.

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