Fontbonne University: Collaboration in Speech-Language Pathology and Early Intervention in Deaf Education
Rice, Gale, Lenihan, Susan, The Volta Review
Children with hearing loss are best served through the collaborative efforts of their parents and a team of professionals. For communication development and educational achievement, speech-language pathologists and teachers of the deaf working together can have a profound impact. A collaborative approach to assessment, direct instruction, and consultation with parents, general education teachers, and other professionals provides the best support for a child with a hearing loss in all stages including early intervention and mainstream services (Chute & Nevins, 2006). A collaborative approach involves more than multiple professionals providing services to a child; it is a way of problem solving and interacting that optimizes outcomes for a child's development and educational achievement. While many professionals learn how to collaborate on the job, the Center for Teacher and Therapist Education at Fontbonne University was intentionally designed to encourage the development of collaborative skills in future speech-language pathologists, teachers of the deaf, and general and special education teachers.
A Collaborative Program
Fontbonne University began offering undergraduate programs in speechlanguage pathology and deaf education in the 1960s and the graduate program in speech-language pathology was established in 1975. In 2001, the university established a graduate program in early intervention in deaf education in response to universal newborn hearing screening programs that were identifying children with hearing loss at younger ages and to meet the need for professionals to provide services to these infants, toddlers, and their families. Also in 2002, the speech-language pathology program began offering an emphasis on education in deafness to increase the depth of coursework and practicum in that field. Both the early intervention in deaf education and speech-language pathology graduate program with an emphasis on education in deafness were designed through the coUaborative efforts of advisory groups of speech-language pathologists and deaf educators who were experienced leaders in auditory-based education. A collaborative approach based on the recommendations of the Joint Committee of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Council on Education of the Deaf (CED) was implemented (Joint Committee, 2004).
Both programs develop competencies in pediatric audiology, auditory technology, communication development, assessment, cultural factors, additional disabilities, collaboration and communication with professionals and families, and strategies and approaches to speech, and language, listening, and Uteracy development. The speech-language pathology students meet aU ASHA requirements, and the early intervention in deaf education students meet requirements for CED certification. Students from both disciplines take a shared core of six required courses:
* Intervention with Children who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing
* Auditory Technology and Cochlear Implants or Pediatric Audiology and Habilitation
* Communication Development for Children who are Deaf or Hard-ofHearing
* Language and Literacy in Learners "At Risk"
* Introduction to Research Methods
* Counseling Issues in Communication Disorders
Both groups of students take a number of elective courses and required courses that are specific to the profession. Case studies, projects, and small group discussions are often designed for interdisciplinary groups to encourage crossdiscipline communication and collaboration. A seminar course that focuses on collaborative skill development and case study analysis was piloted in fall 2009 and may be added to the curriculum.
In addition to in-class opportunities for collaboration, a number of co-curricular opportunities also encourage communication and shared experiences for students. …