Magazine article Volta Voices

Taking Action

Magazine article Volta Voices

Taking Action

Article excerpt

Public School Caucus

In 1998, AG Bell's Public School Caucus (PSC) published a paper entitled "Components of a Quality Auditory/Oral Program" as a resource for administrators, teachers and parents to use when developing or improving the quality of programs for children with hearing loss in the public schools. The paper detailed all the components of a successful auditory/ oral program, including services, facilities, personnel, parent partnerships, assessment, curriculum and technology. For school systems looking to start a new program, the document serves as a blueprint for designing a quality program. For existing auditory/oral programs, it serves as a useful assessment tool for creating action plans for improvement. Throughout 2005, this column will focus on how professionals and parents bring these components of a successful auditory/oral program to life in public school programs for children with hearing loss.

According to the authors of the paper "The most important factor for success of quality auditory/oral programs is the commitment of all participants to an oral philosophy." To this I would add "In addition, success is most dependent on support at the highest levels of administration."

The impetus to begin an oral communication program for children with hearing loss begins with parents and teachers. Occasionally their message is not heard by the powers that be, which can result in contentious, adversarial relationships instead of true collaboration. The Public School Caucus can play a key role by educating school officials about the benefits of oral communication programs and teaching parents to advocate.

Until recently, Total Communication was the accepted communication mode in public schools. Offering an auditory/oral option is a major paradigm shift for most locations. While there are few educators, administrators or school board members who would intentionally deny an appropriate education to an eligible child, we cannot assume that these decision makers have the knowledge and resources at hand to put a quality auditory/oral program in place. …

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