The DuBard School for Language Disorders, in Hattiesburg, is over 50-years-old. It is named for its founder, whose passion for helping children with special needs evolved in the a school that has made a difference in countless lives.
In the lobby of the Cook Library, on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi, is a modest display that attempts to do the impossible; to somehow tell the story of the life and career of Dr. Etoile DuBard, a pioneer in the specialty of Language disorders.
"When she first started teaching there were no therapy materials for this type of field," said Library Records Specialist Jessica Clark. "So she ended up making quite a few materials herself."
The space limits the size of the display. The amount of material that could be placed there may fill the whole library.
This is her legacy. The DuBard School for Language Disorders on the campus of USM. Children who have special needs in the area of language skills come here for the kind of intense attention that is available few other places.
Dr. DuBard pioneered this kind of treatment in Mississippi.
"She was literally decades ahead of her time. The connection between oral communication and reading was not well known or accepted at the time," said DuBard School for Language Disorders Director Maureen Martin. "And it's VERY commonly known and accepted now. So when I think back on the work she did with no help, no picture materials except what you could go cut out of magazines, there was no Google to go find the next 700 pictures of giraffes that you needed for teaching a child, all of that she did while also training university students, and she has many legacies. But one of them was always to help each child be the best that he or she could be. And also always have university students do the best that they could do. And expect plenty. Etoile used to say that the school brought a measure of peace to families as well as hope to children. Because when a mom and dad have a child with a problem, the whole family has a problem."
Dr. Etoile DuBard translated her intangible compassion for children who needed special help in language and communication into a tangible brick and mortar building in which thousands of children have been given the help they need.
And from which thousands of students have trained to go do the same elsewhere. And in following her heart, has made a difference for many people.
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