Demand for specialist teachers of speaking deaf children is so high that all graduates from the teaching program at California Lutheran University (CLU) were hired out of their course before summer 2017 began. Summer camps for verbal children with hearing issues to build peer support and address learning gaps are similarly growing in the US, with varied formats.
Intervention Is The Constant Theme
Consistent intervention is practised from the one-three-six months best practice approach for infants with hearing devices through to young adulthood, like any other social group. This sample program list (below) runs from infancy, to practical life skills for college-age students. Children and young adults who get this ongoing support along their life path, will do great.
- CLU graduate speech therapists working with speaking deaf children in a one-on-one Saturday program for parents to learn about teaching their children.
- UT Dallas inviting teen camp counselors with cochlear implants to mentor children aged 4 to 11, attending the Callier Center for listening and spoken language therapy.
- Tertiary-level summer college preparation programs to give deaf students life skills for transitioning to college, in partnership with state departments of labor and industry.
Attainment Gaps Will Shrink
In the US, 83% of students with hearing issues, finish high school education. Fifty-one per cent complete some college education, with a high dropout rate. Eighteen per cent got their bachelors’ degree, versus 33% of the general hearing population in the US, meaning that one-third of students with hearing issues graduate (NDC Postsecondary Outcomes, 2017).
Statistics from Ireland are similar, where 5000+ students with hearing issues are mainstream-educated, with just 30% of this cohort moving to third-level education, versus 58% of the national population. With Ireland having newborn hearing tests only since 2011-13, some college-age students in both Ireland and the US were (1) late-detected as deaf and/or (2) lacked consistent infant intervention, with related impact on their educational attainment.
Earlier Detection Boosts Educational Outcomes
Deafness is a language difficulty – not a learning disability, and recent studies of younger children, show earlier detection and hearing-device use are boosting education outcomes. International standards favour 20 auditory-verbal therapists for each 100,000 in a national population, but Ireland has less than three AVTs working with the deaf population cited.
Educators can review a summer program at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), for students with hearing issues to establish what college supports work for their situation, with real-live tests where students have to advocate for teaching accommodations. The burden of personal advocacy is noted but will fall as more deaf students move into third-level education and colleges learn what might best fit a person’s individual study requirements.