Nebraska team earns $1M grant to assist youth with hearing disorders

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Nebraska team earns $1M grant to assist youth with hearing disorders
Federally-funded project aims to close regional gap in trained professionals

 A master's student works one-on-one with a child through a Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders program. The department recently received a $1 million grant to train at least 30 master's level students to assist youth who are deaf or hard of hearing.
File photo | University Communication
A master's student works one-on-one with a child through a Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders program. The department recently received a $1 million grant to train at least 30 master's level students to assist youth who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Nebraska researchers are using a $1 million U.S. Department of Education award to close a regional gap in the number of trained professionals serving youth who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Launching in summer 2020, the five-year, Mid-Plains Professional Upgrade Partnership — Interdisciplinary Preparation in Deaf Education and Speech-Language Pathology project will provide funding to a minimum of 30 master’s level students. The cohort will be divided in half, with students pursuing training in deaf education programs or speech-language pathology.

Project leaders are Anne Thomas, assistant professor of practice and deaf education program coordinator, and Kristy Weissling, associate professor of practice and speech-language pathology program coordinator.

Anne Thomas
Anne Thomas

“There is a critical shortage of professionals who serve children and youth who are deaf or hard of hearing in Nebraska and the surrounding Mid-Plains states,” Thomas said. “We want to train high-quality teachers of the deaf and speech-language pathologists who are able to provide strong interdisciplinary services to improve the developmental, educational and post-secondary outcomes of students who are deaf or hard of hearing.”

Kristy Weissling
Kristy Weissling

In addition to the normal required coursework for master’s degrees in each of the two program areas, students in the project will complete 15 hours of interdisciplinary coursework, comprised of shared coursework and assignments, collaborative field experiences and collaborative student teaching experiences.

Interdisciplinary training is already integrated into the university’s Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders, making it uniquely suited to lead the grant.

Student applications for the program are being accepted through Jan. 15. Learn more about the program and how to apply.

The grant was awarded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Offices of Special Education Programs.