Academic journal article The Volta Review

Washington University School of Medicine: A Distinctive Program in Deaf Education Studies at the Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences (PACS)

Academic journal article The Volta Review

Washington University School of Medicine: A Distinctive Program in Deaf Education Studies at the Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences (PACS)

Article excerpt


Developments in universal newborn hearing screening programs and assistive hearing technology have had considerable effects on the speech, language, and educational success of children who are deaf or hard of hearing (Blarney et al., 2001; Connor, Craig, Raudenbush, Heavner, & Zwolan, 2006; Geers, 2003; Geers, Brenner, & Davidson, 2003; Geers, Nicholas, & Sedey, 2003; Geers, Tobey, Moog, & Brenner, 2008; Peng, Spencer, & Tomblin, 2004). Several recent research studies of children who are deaf or hard of hearing and who use spoken language as their primary method of communication show that many are able to achieve vocabulary, language, and reading skUls comparable to their peers who have typical hearing (Hayes, Geers, Treiman, & Moog, 2009; Geers, 2003; Geers et al, 2008; Nicholas & Geers, 2006). Thus, it is not surprising that many parents embrace the dramatic results that can be attained with a combination of early diagnosis, auditory access through hearing aids or cochlear implants, and the use of spoken language as a primary communication method. Demand is strong for teachers who have expertise in teaching Ustening and spoken language to children who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as knowledge of and experience with the latest trends in audiology and speech and hearing science. The unique environment of the deaf education graduate program at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, provides future teachers of the deaf with the cutting-edge, evidence-based skills they need to serve children with hearing loss. This profile describes the historical roots of the program, explains how its history has shaped it into a distinctive program, and proposes some future directions in teacher preparation.


The current teacher training program is steeped in history dating from 1914 when Dr. Max Goldstein, a St. Louis physician, opened the Central Institute for the Deaf (CID). Dr. Goldstein's vision was to establish an institute that included an oral school for children who were deaf or hard of hearing and a college program to train teachers of the deaf. With enthusiastic support from the local community, Dr. Goldstein's vision became a reality and CID quickly established a world-wide reputation as a premier research facility, hearing clinic, teacher training program, and school for teaching children with hearing loss to talk.

In 1931, the Teacher Training College at CID became affiliated with nearby Washington University in St. Louis, becoming the first deaf education teacher training program to partner with a university. This affiliation continued until 2003 when the CID graduate program was formally transferred into the School of Medicine at Washington University. The newly-formed Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences (PACS) includes three degree programs: Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.), Master of Science in Deaf Education (M.S.D.E.), and Doctor of Philosophy in Speech and Hearing Sciences (Ph.D.). Although the deaf education graduate program is now housed within the School of Medicine, a close relationship is maintained with the CID school, whose long history and accomplishments helped shape the university program that exists today.

Structure of the Program

Graduates of the program are awarded an M.S.D.E. degree. They are eligible to be recommended for initial teacher certification in the state of Missouri (Deaf /Hearing Impaired, birth-grade 12) and provisional certification by the Council on Education of the Deaf at the early childhood and elementary levels. Upon graduation, graduates may be employed in a variety of educational settings across the country, helping to alleviate not only the local shortage of teachers of the deaf but also the nationwide shortage (U.S. Department of Education, 2009).

Students in the M.S.D.E. program proceed from broadly-based classroom instruction and observation to progressively more specialized coursework and practica. …

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