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Home > Clerc Center > Clerc Center Presents at Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Conference

Clerc Center Presents at Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Conference

Image: EHDI Conference

March 1-2 in Chicago, Illinois

The attendees at the ninth annual Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Conference (EHDI) came from state and local programs to the federal level and from academics to families. The Clerc Center exhibited at the conference and sent two presenters, Richard Jeffries and Debra Nussbaum, who addressed key issues related to early literacy, effective practices for young children with cochlear implants, and a collaboration with an auditory-verbal center. Here is a synopsis of their presentations:

Reading to Deaf Children: Learning from Deaf Adults

Richard Jeffries, Training Specialist, Clerc Center

The Reading to Deaf Children: Learning from Deaf Adults workshop emphasizes the importance of parents laying the foundation for future literacy development through reading with their children. Reading to children remains the single most important factor in achieving high levels of literacy.

At the EHDI workshop, Jeffries shared the research supporting the need for early literacy exposure and intervention. "The Reading to Deaf Children workshop explains 15 principles based on successful book sharings between deaf adults and deaf children," he said. "I shared tips for hands-on activities to help parents get comfortable using sign language to read books to their children. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for parents to read to their children."

The Clerc Center offers a variety of literacy-related trainings and workshops. Click here for more information.


Effective Practices for Young Children with Cochlear Implants: What We are Learning

Debra Nussbaum, Coordinator, Cochlear Implant Education Center

The Clerc Center's Cochlear Implant Education Center (CIEC), on the campus of Gallaudet University, established in 2000, is focusing on designing, implementing, evaluating, and sharing educational practices for children with cochlear implants that are inclusive of both sign language and spoken language and reflective of Deaf identity.

Nussbaum shared information on the national initiatives and findings of the CIEC for supporting children obtaining cochlear implants. "The diverse population of children with cochlear implants warrants a broad look at what constitutes effective practices-in language development, social-emotional growth, and learning for each child," she said. "At the conference, I shared how research and our observations of the Early Childhood Education program at Kendall Demonstration Elementary School indicate that not all children achieve similar spoken language outcomes with their cochlear implant(s), and that the path to developing spoken language will be varied."

During her presentation, Nussbaum discussed the highlights of two national conferences hosted by the CIEC-Cochlear Implants and Sign Language: Putting It All Together (April 2002) and Cochlear Implants and Sign Language: Building Foundations for Effective Educational Practices (April 2009).


Collaboration between an Auditory-Verbal Center and a School for the Deaf

Debra Nussbaum, Coordinator, Cochlear Implant Education Center, Clerc Center

Sarah Wainscott, Chattering Children

School programs inclusive of American Sign Language are often not viewed as environments that also support development and use of and auditory and speech skills and spoken language. Auditory-verbal centers that promote development and use of spoken English and philosophically do not include visual supports to learning are typically not viewed as likely partners to work with students enrolled in school programs that support the use of sign language. While this may be a common impression, increasing numbers of children who use cochlear implants and/or other listening technologies are enrolled in signing educational programs that also actively address spoken language development and use. Children enrolled in these programs may be receiving services from auditory-verbal therapists. Nussbaum told her EHDI audience, "While use of sign language and auditory-verbal training have historically been viewed as mutually exclusive, this presentation will discuss how collaboration between a school for the deaf (or other educational program for deaf children inclusive of sign language) and an auditory-verbal center can collaborate to promote the mutual goal of linguistic and communicative competence for deaf and hard of hearing children." The presentation included a discussion of how the philosophies, beliefs, and strategies of each program can work in partnership to support children and families, and how cross training can occur between centers to support a child's language and communication development.

Click here for more information about the CIEC.