SXU Welcomes Kyle the "Deaf Ninja" Schulze to Celebrate 60 Years of the Ludden Speech and Language Clinic
Marked by a beautiful bright day on October 12, Saint Xavier University (SXU) came together to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Ludden Speech and Language Clinic. Named for its founder, Sister Mary Antonine Ludden, R.S.M., the clinic has been serving adults and children with communication disorders since its inception in 1959. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members gathered in the Butler Reception Room to commemorate the achievements of the clinic.
The celebration began with student-led tours of the updated clinic. A new cloud-based video observation system, additional materials and change in decor are among the many positive upgrades made. A table displaying historic photos and materials gave the community insight into just how much the clinic has grown and developed over the years.
Many returning alumni joined together to reflect and connect. Alumna Nora Bryar '11 was excited to celebrate the anniversary, marveling at some of the exciting changes the clinic has undergone. Now a speech-language pathologist for Spotter, a therapy staffing company, Bryar reminisced on her time at the clinic. "The clinical and practical experiences truly prepared me for my career," Bryar said.
After the tours, the celebration continued on with a prayer led by Jenny DeVivo, Ph.D., Executive Director of Mission and Heritage. DeVivo remarked on how the special day was shared with SXU's 173rd birthday and told the community, "God has important work for us to do in serving others," something that especially resonated with the faculty, alumni and students of the clinic, who make it their mission to serve with compassion and excellence daily.
Following the prayer, Pamela Klick, director of the Ludden Speech and Language Clinic, took a look back at how many moves and changes the clinic has had over the years. From once having only a couple observation rooms and hand-made materials, the clinic has grown into a larger, more advanced facility and now serves more than 200 clients weekly with a very robust adult and pediatric program. As a donation-based clinic, they were able to drop their fees five years ago with the support of the University and conduct more than 210 diagnostic evaluations without charge each year.
Guest speaker Kyle the "Deaf Ninja" Schulze continued the celebration with a moving speech about the many obstacles he's overcome as an individual with bilateral profound hearing loss, which wasn't discovered until he was three years old. After 16 years of speech therapy, Schulze uses multiple modes of communication including speech, lip reading and American Sign Language (ASL). As a competitor on "American Ninja Warrior," an American sports entertainment competition, Schulze is the first and only deaf person to make it to finals.
"I go around to break the stigma of what people perceive deaf people are capable of doing," said Schulze. Schulze reflected on how being able to endure criticism, hardships and exclusion is what pushed him to be stronger. "It's okay to make mistakes," Schulze said. "We must accept failure and then focus on persistency. You have a chance to be able to make an impact. It's not about winning; it's always about the journey." Schulze showed the audience a video of his participation in the competition and shared the story of how he overcame his many obstacles, making the SXU community laugh and cry as they rooted for him.
When asked what advice he had for SXU's Speech-Language Pathology students, Schulze said, "The best way to work is to understand the background of your clients and don't force what you think is necessary. Learn what works for them to give them more options and help them succeed."
As the celebration of a remarkable 60 years ended, Schulze reminded the SXU community, "We have the choice to influence others. I want to help you spread your wings and make this a better place for all of us. You can achieve the impossible no matter what people say."