Communication Disorders & Sciences | Rehabilitation Institute | SIU

Southern Illinois University



Communication Disorders & Sciences

CDS brochure

The Communication Disorders and Sciences (CDS) program specializes in the area of speech-language pathology. Speech-language pathologists are professionals educated in the study of human communication, its development, and its disorders. By evaluating the speech, language, cognitive-communication, and swallowing skills of children and adults, the speech-language pathologist determines what communication problems exist and the best way to treat them. Students in the CDS program study normal communication as well as procedures for assessment and intervention of persons with communication disorders.

What is Communication Disorders and Sciences (CDS), speech-language pathology, and audiology?

CDS is a program that trains speech-language pathologists and audiologists. The CDS program offers both bachelor's and master's of science degrees, during which classroom instruction is integrated with practical experience. The undergraduate program is broad in scope and provides the necessary pre-professional background for the academic, clinical and research aspects of the master's level. Professionals in these disciplines are concerned with evaluation, treatment and research in human communication as well as disorders of human communication. Unfortunately, millions of persons in the U.S. have communication disorders.

Those who have disorders of speech, language, voice, and fluency (for example, stuttering) may be treated by speech-language pathologists. If you want to be a speech-language pathologist, then you should plan to attend our undergraduate and graduate program. People who have hearing disorders may be treated by audiologists. If you want to be an audiologist you can attend our undergraduate program, but then you will need to plan to go elsewhere for your advanced degree because there is no graduate program in audiology at SIUC.

Scope of Practice for Speech-Language Pathologists

  • Speech: articulation, voice, resonance, fluency (stuttering), non-speech communication
  • Language: comprehension and expression in oral, written, graphic, and manual modalities
  • Cognitive Aspects of Communication:  attention, memory, problem solving
  • Swallowing
  • Persons with a wide variety of diseases/disorders: hearing impairment, autism, cerebral palsy, cognitive impairment (dementia), traumatic brain injury, cancer, laryngectomy, Down syndrome, cleft palate, learning disabilities, degenerative diseases (e.g., Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), Parkinson's), surgical trauma, infections (e.g., AIDS), inflammatory processes (e.g., encephalitis, meningitis), Guillian-Barre, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Rett syndrome.

Scope of Practice for Audiologists

Audiologists are concerned with the non-medical management of the auditory and balance systems. They specialize in the study of:
› Normal and impaired hearing.
› Prevention of hearing loss.  
› Identification and assessment of hearing and balance problems.  
› Rehabilitation of persons with hearing and balance disorders.  
› Diagnosis of auditor processing disorders.

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