Center for Hearing & Speech and PTI: A Social College Partnership

PTI’s Social College derived from the Conversation 101 classes that were a staple of the Social Growth program for many years. During the 2013 review of PTI’s strategic plan, it was decided to create the Social College program. Later, PTI reached out to the Center for Hearing and Speech (CFH&S) to act as consultant instructors for the program. Each Social College course is four classes long and a PTI staff, who is familiar with the participants and their goals for independence and social success, is always present to facilitate the group and for additional support.

Gina Cato, Chief Speech-Language Pathologist at the CFH&S says, “When people reach adulthood, they don’t have as many resources available to help with their communication skills… The partnership with Pathways gives adults social language experiences within a peer-group format, which means they can practice new social language skills immediately with their peers in the group and long-term through Pathways’ group activities. The partnership creates the best environment for participants to learn and use communication skills.”

A sampling of the Social College courses Gina and/or her colleague, Kimberly Hufstedler, have taught in connection with PTI include: Successful Communication in the Workplace, Friendships to Dating: A Communication Crash Course, Hidden Social Expectations, Nurturing Friendships, Managing and Communicating Feelings and Emotions and Healthy Disagreements.

Gina says, “It’s rewarding to observe or hear about participants using the skills they learned [in Social College]. I’m grateful I see that often.” The goal of this program is to see the participants take the skills they learned in class to PTI events in the community and then in their daily lives outside of PTI.

Cindy W. and Gina
Gina (right) with a PTI participant during a Social College Class


Social Prespectives 1
Social College classes also take place in St. Charles County.  Volunteers help with facilitating activities and help participants role-play certain situations or conversations.