Fun, friendly social club for teens kicks off spring 2024 season - The University of Tulsa
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Fun, friendly social club for teens kicks off spring 2024 season

The University of Tulsa’s Mary K. Chapman Speech & Hearing Clinic is excited to launch its second semester of offering Social Club for teens with social language impairments. An outgrowth of the successful High School Social Skills Camp held in summer 2023, Social Club enables participants to meet new people and practice their social skills in a safe, welcoming environment. These skills include peer negotiation, active listening, social problem-solving, language, recognizing and understanding alternative viewpoints and conflict management.

The club’s director is Sarah Launchbaugh, a clinical assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders in TU’s Oxley College of Health & Natural Sciences. Sarah Freeman, an adjunct faculty member, assists with planning and running the sessions, along with two speech-language pathology graduate students.

During Social Club’s fall 2023 season, between four and six students attended each session: a game night in September, pumpkin-carving and a fall festival in October and Friendsgiving plus a show-and-tell in November. The line-up for spring 2024 is just as varied:

  • Humor and Sweet Treats: Feb. 13
  • Memes and Emojis: March 11
  • Detective Work: April 18

The sessions begin at 5:30 p.m. and run 90 minutes. Light snacks are provided, and registration is not required.

After brief introductions and a review of expectations, graduate students prepare and lead interactive instruction on one or two of the evening’s topics. “Game night last fall was especially fun,” Launchbaugh noted, “because we were able to utilize some of our bigger yard games and enjoy the outdoors. Pumpkin night was a great success, too. We talked about teamwork and had the participants partner up and turn each other into mummies using toilet paper. One of the moms was blown away that her son not only took part but was willing to be wrapped up!”

Each semester, a graduate assistant (GA) takes the helm and another graduate student helps out. For Launchbaugh, they are the “real stars of the show,” working together to develop the sessions’ content and activities. In summer and fall 2023, Emma Clark was the lead GA, and this season it’s Chloe McEachern.

“Beyond the fun of Social Club activities and the satisfaction of helping students flourish, taking part is an ideal way to gain experience working directly with social language deficits,” McEachern commented. “It’s such an important part of the speech-language pathology field, but there aren’t a lot of readily available clinical opportunities. Social Club is equipping me to address my future patients’ needs.”

For more information, parents may contact Launchbaugh at