Rural Outreach

Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists work with children and adults in a varie ty of settings. Our work is about making a difference. While classroom-based learning is an integral part of the programmes, students receive hands-on, practical training from the first year of study.

In first year, students mainly observe work in clinical settings and have some opportuni ties to observe and interact with typically developing children. Clinical training starts more formally in second year with students attending community clinics and pre or primary schools where they are supervised by Clinical Educators, either in the practice of SLP or Audiology. In third year, clinical learning intensifies in line with the increased development of knowledge through academic courses. In 4th year, students spend 4 days a week in a variety of clinics to ensure that they are able to meet the high standards expected on graduation.

Vanguard Student Learning Centre

Vanguard Clinic

Vanguard student learning centre (VSLC) is one of the sites used for the clinical training of UCT Health Sciences students, and is located at Vanguard Community Health Centre (VCHC) in Bonteheuwel.

This clinical site serves the Bonteheuwel and Langa communities, and provides a number of healthcare services that includes disciplines such as Medicine, Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.

At the VSLC, the clinical environment provides our students with a unique learning experience that equips them for community-based service delivery in a multi-professional team. UCT students - under supervision - are responsible for service delivery in SLP and Audiology.

The Audiology Department forms an essential part of the SLC service package and audiological services include:

  • Adult & pediatric diagnostic testing
  • Adult hearing aid fittings
  • Neonatal hearing screening
  • Health promotion
  • Monitoring hearing status of TB patients
  • Implementation of community projects to facilitate community development/empowerment & address audiological needs of community

UCT Speech-Language Pathology students conduct assessments and provide intervention for children and adults who experience communication and swallowing difficulties. Projects are implemented to address the needs of the community which may range from a need to provide information on stuttering, or a support group for carers of stroke patients.

Rural Placement

Rural Outreach

Our third year students are afforded the exciting opportunity to spend a block of time (1-2 weeks) actively engaged in providing Speech-Language Pathology / Audiology services to an underprivileged rural community on a rural residential placement. These students are supervised by one of the Divisions' clinical educators and have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the community and establish services where few have been offered before

Students carry out a careful needs analysis of the community and learn to negotiate the logistical challenges of providing services in an under-resourced community with languages and cultures often different to their own. Audiology students may be involved in setting up hearing screening programmes and giving talks to educators on how to identify children with hearing loss; SLP students may offer talks to new mothers about how to stimulate their babies' language and establishing support groups for adults with severe communication difficulties.

SHAWCO, the Students' Health and Welfare Centres Organisation, is a dynamic, innovative and passionate student-run NGO based at UCT, constantly striving to improve the quality of life for individuals in developing communities within the Cape Metropolitan area.

SHAWCO was founded in 1943 by Andrew Kinnear, a medical student who was moved to action by the need which he saw in the impoverished communities of Cape Town. What started off as a one-man initiative quickly grew into one of the country's largest student volunteer organisations, now boasting over 1200 volunteers running over 15 health and education projects in 5 SHAWCO centres as well as other locations around the Cape Metropolitan area.

In 2006, physiotherapy students began volunteering at some of the clinics, beginning the much-needed holistic health care model which SHAWCO aims to provide. In 2008, SHAWCO saw its first full Health & Rehabilitation service come into reality, with Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Audiology and Speech Pathology services being offered at our Monday night Simthandile clinic (in Khayelitsha). At this clinic, another pilot project has seen sign language interpretation being offered to members of Cape Town's deaf community - a project we hope will see real growth as the news spreads.

To find out more about SHAWCO click here.