Lights! Camera! Action!

Three days a week, special education students at Grace King High School gather together to produce a new broadcast program which Grace King’s speech language pathologist Bridget Seals calls “the power of the microphone.”

Seals developed the communications training program seven years ago when she first came to King.

“I started to see a lot of my students out in public and they could not communicate with me,” she said. “So we devised a program in which we could train them in all the functional areas of communication in all different settings.”

The broadcast program uses a different format than the traditional speech therapy session, which is only about 30 minutes and offered once a month. Students who participate in Seals’ program receive three hours of communication training and interaction per week.

Within the broadcast, students report on current events, sports, health and even Hollywood gossip. The goal is to have the students take the information that they have learned and apply it outside of the classroom.

The broadcast team has many opportunities to showcase its talents outside of the classroom. Students participate in the school’s morning announcements and pep rallies – they even announce at King football games.

“It really builds their self esteem and confidence,” Seals said. “It’s very heart warming to see their faces when their peers compliment them on a job well done.”

Seals would like to see this type of program in every school. She recently started a communication interactive language club at Bissonet Plaza Elementary School.

“We have so much equipment available to us today that any group of students can be a broadcast team and any room can be a broadcast studio.”

Seals was recently recognized for her program at the annual Speech Pathologists and Audiologists in Louisiana Schools conference, where she was awarded the highly coveted Liz Borel Award. This award is given to a nominee who demonstrates outstanding work in the communication field.