A Summertime Collaboration between Speech-Language Pathology and Deaf Education

Article excerpt

* What do polar bears and cacti have in common?

* What's the best way to learn about blubber?

* How do you encourage good table manners and conversation?

* What can professionals from different fields-and preservice professionals-learn from one another?

The preceding questions-though disparate in content-are all answered in this article. Do you need good lesson plan ideas? Read on. Are you interested in promoting professional collaboration? There are some answers here. Do you want to provide summer enrichment for children who are deaf or hard of hearing-and even for their siblings and family members?

This article describes a collaborative summer program with the fields of deaf education and speech-language pathology. In addressing the features of this successful program, we discuss the issues of personnel preparation and collaborative teaching within the curriculum. (See box, "What Does the Literature Say?")

Partnership for an Extended School Year

Collaboration Models

For the past 5 years, a local school district, a university training program, and an affiliated laboratory school have worked cooperatively to provide an extended school year (ESY) program for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Educators designed the program for elementary school children in the district's Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program. The faculty wanted to provide a comprehensive program to meet the educational and communicative needs of children who are deaf or hard of hearing in a meaningful context. This program also provides an opportunity for professionals and preprofessionals in the areas of deaf education and speech-language pathology to work together.

Using various strategies of teaching, individual professionals work in interchangeable groupings. For instance, at times the deaf educator, interpreter, and student may work together to complete a research paper. The strategies used may include supportive learning and language analysis for completing the research paper. The deaf educator may help the student with developing an organizational framework. As the student writes the paper, the interpreter may expand his or her role and help the child switch from American Sign Language grammar to English grammar. Another collaboration may involve the parent, student, and speech-language pathology clinician in identifying important vocabulary for both school and home.

Many participants were involved in the program, as follows:

* Students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

* An ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist.

* A group of speech-language pathology graduate students.

* Deaf educators.

* Sign language interpreters.

* A group of volunteers.

Students. Most of the students attended the laboratory school-grades preschool through middle school. These students had hearing losses ranging from moderate to profound. Students used a variety of assistive technology devices: hearing aids, cochlear implants, FM systems, auditory trainers, and vibrotactile aids. Students were also at varying levels of proficiency in their ability to use sign language for communication purposes. Most students used a variation of contact sign language. In addition, some students involved in the program did not have an identified hearing loss, but had other needs. For example, one student was a child with Down syndrome; and several siblings of deaf students wished to learn or improve their sign language skills. These students also qualified for a language-intensive, extended school year program.

Speech-Language Pathology. The speech-language pathology (SLP) clinicians were at the end of their first year in the master's degree program. As part of their training requirements, students in the SLP program are required to take coursework in audiology, aural rehabilitation, and normal development, as well as speech and language processes (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 1997). …