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December 23, 2004

USM shares deaf program

From: Hattiesburg American - Hattiesburg,MS,USA - Dec 23, 2004

Representatives from the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of Southern Mississippi and the Magnolia Speech School recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to share their unique model of collaboration with other universities and schools.

In 2001, a grant from a private foundation made possible a program to enhance auditory-oral communication at Southern Miss with the help of faculty, pupils and parents of the Magnolia Speech School in Jackson.

Through the program, students in deaf education at Southern Miss are taught by educational audiologists, speech-language pathologists, parent educators and auditory-oral teachers who are working daily with young deaf children and their parents in a state-of-the art program. The college students not only have opportunities to interact with faculty but also with the children and their parents.

"Our graduates serve the whole state and teach in the mode of communication that is best for the individual child and his or her family, but this arrangement is as near an ideal situation as one could outline for offering an auditory-oral education course," said Henry Teller, associate professor and director of the Education of the Deaf Program in Speech and Hearing Sciences at Southern Miss.

"Since 2001 the grant has allowed us to develop a cooperative relationship in which the Magnolia Speech School teaches the oral education portion of our courses and our students visit Magnolia several times during the semester and havea lot of interaction with the students, faculty and parents," Teller said. "They are getting an excellent foundation, and they have opportunities to experience auditory-oral education with the children and their families."

Many deaf education programs, Teller said, send student teachers out to work in schools as part of their curriculum, but few allow members of the school to give input into the classroom curriculum.

"Our cooperative agreementallows for faculty from the Magnolia Speech School to come teach here on campus," he said.

In addition, the grant has provided money to set up a direct video link between the department and the Magnolia Speech School. The Polycom ViaVideo system that runs through the Internet will allow students to participate in live discussions and view teaching demonstrations in real time.

Anne Sullivan, executive director of Magnolia Speech School, traveled with Teller to Washington in November to share the model of collaboration with the private foundation's Teacher Education Committee and other universities and schools developing or contemplating similar cooperative relationships.

"We were really honored to be chosen because of the number of really strong partnerships in this country," Sullivan said. "Just the invitation acknowledged that we were being singled out for doing some good work over the last few years."

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