New school year!

Hello readers!
We hope that you all had a fabulous and relaxing summer and are ready to start a new school year! We at the Deaf Education program at University of Tulsa had a wonderful and productive summer, and are ready to hit the ground running for the new school year. We just wanted to share some updates with all of you!

Dr. Baker spent the summer giving trainings at schools for the deaf on language development and how to use the new tool she developed with colleagues at Gallaudet University and Lamar University. Her travels brought her to Kansas and to Pennsylvania.

Jessica Scott spent most of her time close to home working on various projects in Tulsa, including planning a 5K race to benefit the Total Source for Hearing-loss and Access. She also traveled out of state to collect data for her dissertation!

This year we are looking forward to a number of things:

1. Meeting new Deaf Education students, of course!

2. Learning whether we have received the grant for our reading clinic, and if so, getting that up and running again

3. Attending the Association of College Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACEDHH) in nearby St. Louis

4. Jessica returning again to St. Louis for the International Reading Association conference to present her doctoral research and become chair of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Special Interest Group.

5. Seeing several of our amazing Deaf Education majors graduating this spring and entering the field!

6. Cooler weather! (Last on the list, but it is pretty hot and will be nice to get some more bearable weather!!)

What are you looking forward to most for this academic year? Are there any upcoming events that we should also be excited about that we missed? We want to hear from you!

End of summer update!

Hi readers! It has been a wonderful summer, and here at the Deaf Education program at TU we are gearing up to start a new school year. We just wanted to share some of what our faculty has been up to this summer!

For Dr. Sharon Baker, it has been a great summer for workshops! She has led workshops in Kansas and Pennsylvania for teachers of the Deaf and hard of hearing. The teachers were excited to learn about the latest research in Deaf Education from her, and we know that their students will benefit from what they have learned! Dr. Baker has also been meeting with collaborators from other universities for research and writing – we are very excited to see the end results of these collaborations!

Jessica Scott has been doing work more locally. She has begun to work on a team from across Oklahoma that is developing a web resource for parents, professionals (teachers, employers), and Deaf/hard of hearing students themselves on important transition times in Deaf students’ lives (including transitions from early intervention to more formal school, and transition from secondary school to work, or to college, or to vocational training). Everyone on the team hopes this resource will help answer some questions about how to support Deaf students and what the law entitles them to during the transition process.

We should also be hearing soon about the reading clinic grant – we hope to get it and will let everyone know when we do!

The summer can be a great time to catch up on this type of work that can be difficult to get done during the school year. But, we are excited to get back to campus and back to working with our Deaf Education majors and minors! And, we want to hear from you! What amazing things were you able to accomplish this summer? What are you most looking forward to doing this academic year?

Continuing language learning over the summer

Happy summer break from all of us in the Deaf Education program at TU!

All of our Deaf Ed students take American Sign Language as an essential part of their program, and we believed that ASL fluency is absolutely necessary for teachers of Deaf children. Many of our students have mentioned concerns about language loss during the summer months, so here are some suggestions to keep learning!

1. Get involved with a local organization that works with Deaf/Hard of Hearing individuals. (Here in Tulsa, there is TSHA – the Total Source for Hearing-Loss Access). Many of these organizations would love to have volunteers, and this is a great way to keep up signing as well as get involved with the Deaf Community!

2. Go to Deaf Events, even though you are not being forced to by your ASL class. All ASL classes require students to go to two or three Deaf events during the semester, but these are really the best way to improve your fluency, expand your vocabulary, and truly learn the grammar! Many cities host a Deaf Chat Coffee once a month, as well as Silent Dinners and Happy Hours – search online to find events near you!

3. Work with a local school! Many schools that serve Deaf/Hard of Hearing students have summer programming – these may be summer classes, summer camps, or family-centered activities. Schools may be looking for volunteers, or even paid paraprofessionals, to work during the summer months.

4. Use the internet! Although using ASL in the Deaf community, face-to-face, is ideal, you can always practice by watching videos online. Youtube.com has no shortage of videos featuring ASL, including ASL Comedians , ASL song interpretations (by talented Deaf performers!), and performances from ASL poets.

Don’t let the summer slow you down, students! Keep on learning, and feel free to add more suggestions for summer language learning in the comments!

The Gift of Reading (or TU’s First Deaf Ed Reading Clinic)

Below read a guest blog post from the parent of one of the children who participated in the first ever TU Free Reading Clinic for DHH Students!

When Anna was selected for TU’s first Deaf Ed Reading Clinic, my initial reaction was relief. As the mother of a Deaf+ child, I am constantly searching for help:  help with language, help with schooling, help with her grades. All of that would improve if her reading skills improved, and here was a FREE program!photo 3[1]

As a girl who has spent several days of every week of her life in some sort of therapy, Anna may not have been excited about her first session … but that quickly changed when she realized that it was all about books. And these are fabulous books – colorful books, funny books, talkative books, even one with absolutely no words! Image

The 10-week clinic included evaluations in the first and last sessions to not only assess the effectiveness of the program, but also to help the tutors plan their lessons. While every session including reading, there was also writing, sentence building, grammar lessons on ASL vs. English, some doll play once our tutor learned about Anna’s obsession with all things Barbie, and an Easter egg huntImage with fun sentences hidden inside each egg. They didn’t just sit at desks; they stood, they taped words to walls, they played, and they laughed, oh yes, they most definitely laughed.

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Thank you, Erin Hoefer, for planning engaging activities and lessons, and for building that all-so-important rapport with my child. Thank you, Jessica Scott, for choosing excellent books that are enjoyable and have a learning purpose built into each one, and for supervising these terrific students. But mostly, thank you for creating this amazing program and for writing a grant which will hopefully ensure its continuance next year. Anna is more excited about reading than ever, and when the grant gets approved, we’ll be waiting right outside the Chapman Center.

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2013-2014 Highlights

It’s hard to believe, but we have reached the end of the 2013/2014 academic year – today was the last official day of classes here at University of Tulsa. We had a really incredible year! Let’s recap.

-We started off the year with the wonderful news that TU’s Deaf Education program received a grant to fund our juniors and seniors for up to 50% of their tuition! Thanks to the hard work of Dr. Sharon Baker writing this grant.

-The beginning of this year also saw the beginning of Jessica Scott’s joining the Deaf Education faculty!

-As part of her literacy course, Jessica set up a free reading clinic for Deaf and hard of hearing students in the Tulsa area – which went amazingly well! Thanks to generous individual donors and The Frugal Bookworm we got some excellent children’s and adolescent books to start off our collection. Thanks so much to the AMAZING undergraduate students enrolled in the Literacy course who spent an hour every week working with a struggling Deaf or hard of hearing reader!

-Dr. Baker and Jessica Scott had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. and stay on Gallaudet University campus for the Association of College Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACEDHH) conference, where we heard from politicians, university professors and researchers about the latest theory and research in teaching Deaf students!

-Dr. Baker had a number of very exciting guests in her Deaf History and Culture course, including Laurent Clerc’s great great granddaughter, who works at Oklahoma School for the Deaf, Dr. Peter Crume, who does research on Deaf and hard of hearing students in Kenya, and Marie Guard, a local preschool teacher who is deaf and recently chose to have cochlear implants.Image Image

 

Wow! What a year – we feel truly lucky to have the opportunities that we do. Some things to look forward to:

-Jessica Scott is working on a grant to expand the reading clinic to an academic year, where tutors trained in the spring course will be paid to tutor students in the fall. The grant will also give us access to better assessments, more materials and more books!

-The OKRID conference will be on TU campus this summer! Anyone in the area interested in ASL interpreting or Deaf Education should register and join us!

-The TU faculty plan to start some collaborations with the Deaf Education faculty at USAO in Chickasha, OK – we will keep you updated as those develop next year!

Readers – what new developments are you most excited about? What other ideas do you have for our program? We’d love to hear from you!

Deaf Education at the University of Tulsa

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