Academic journal article The Volta Review

Professional Development for In-Service Practitioners Serving Children Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Academic journal article The Volta Review

Professional Development for In-Service Practitioners Serving Children Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Article excerpt

Because children who are deaf or hard of hearing are being identified at birth, fitted with advanced hearing technology, and enrolled in early intervention programs, families increasingly seek professionals who can provide services that support their choice of listening and spoken language. The increased demand for these services and shortages of qualified personnel has led to the development of model in-service training programs for teachers of the deaf, speech-language pathologists, and audiologists. Three of these programs - the Carolina Summer Institute in Auditory-Verbal Practice, First YEARS, and Professional Preparation in Cochlear Implants - provide in-service training opportunities that allow participants to significantly increase their knowledge and skills to serve the needs of children who are deaf or hard of hearing and who are learning to listen and talk.

Introduction

Numerous studies show that university training programs are failing to adequately prepare graduates to provide family-centered, evidenced-based early intervention services to children with disabilities and their families (Campbell, Chiarello, Wilcox, & Milbourne, 2009; Bruder, Mogro-Wilson, Stay ton, & Dietrich, 2009). Likewise, the scarcity of preservice training programs to meet the developmental, communicative, and educational needs of children who are deaf or hard of hearing continues to plague various disciplines, including deaf education (Rice & Lenihan, 2005; White, 2007), speech-language pathology (Moseley, Mahshie, Brandt, & Fleming, 1994; Rowan, Sommers, & Wray, 2005; Watson & Martin, 1999), and audiology (JCIH, 2007). In the United States, only a limited number of university training programs in deaf education, speech-language pathology, and audiology prepare graduates to work with today's generation of early identified infants and toddlers with hearing loss whose parents choose listening and spoken language (Lenihan, 2009). Whereas appropriate preservice training programs are critical for preparing new professionals, the needs of the current workforce also must be addressed. Many practicing professionals received their education and training before universal newborn hearing screening, digital hearing aid technology, and cochlear implants were available (Marge & Marge, 2005). Three unique in-service programs have been established in the United States to increase the number of knowledgeable and skilled professionals who support listening and spoken language development. These programs, the Carolina Summer Institute in Auditory-Verbal Practice, FIRST YEARS, and Professional Preparation in Cochlear Implants (PPCI), will be described as models of high quality, in-depth training for practicing professionals.

Proctor, Niemeyer, and Compton (2005) provide additional support for broadening access to ongoing in-service and professional development opportunities for the current workforce. Responses to a survey to determine the training needs of professionals working with infants and toddlers who are deaf or hard of hearing in the United States demonstrated that appropriate services were difficult for families to obtain. Approximately half of the states surveyed reported more training opportunities were needed for professionals in listening and spoken language approaches and developmental intervention. Proctor and colleagues concluded that the "lack of available trained professionals presents tremendous challenges to states in responding to the legal mandates delineated by IDEA" (p. 125).

The Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH, 2007) also recognizes the importance of qualified personnel for today's new generation of children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families. The JCIH is comprised of representatives from organizations such as the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), and several other nationally recognized professional organizations. …

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