A teacher working with two children
Graduate Studies Program in Listening & Spoken Language for Children with Hearing Loss

About The Program

2014 LSL Seminar with Dr. Lauri Nelson and students discussing around a table

Today, with universal newborn hearing screening, early diagnosis, fitting of advanced hearing technology—such as digital hearing aids and cochlear implants—and enrollment in early intervention and preschool programs, children with hearing loss have more opportunities than ever before to use audition to develop spoken language. Rapid progress in these areas has created a critical shortage of appropriately trained professionals who can meet the unique communicative and learning needs of children with permanent hearing loss and their families.

The Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education at Utah State University, recognizing the opportunity to provide in-depth training to graduate students in Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology, and Deaf Education has developed an innovative training program for these graduate programs. In addition to the standard coursework and requirements for a Masters degree (MS) in Speech-Language Pathology or a Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree, students can take additional courses and complete specialized practica and field-study experiences to develop specific knowledge and skills in the practice of pediatric audiology, Auditory-Verbal Therapy and Auditory-Oral Education for children with hearing loss, aged birth through six, and their families.

Students who have completed a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Special Education can receive a Master's in Special Education with an emphasis in auditory learning and spoken language. This specialized training program for educators is a joint effort between the Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education and the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation.

Sound Beginnings of Cache Valley, a newly established early intervention program and preschool, serves as the primary training site for graduate students and provides a range of practicum placements and experiences, such as audiology diagnostics, Auditory-Verbal Therapy sessions, speech-language therapy, Parent-Infant intervention, Toddler Group intervention, and Auditory-Oral Education within the Preschool.

The Program is built on a strong foundation of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary service provision to young children with hearing loss and their families. Therefore, students enrolled—regardless of their major—take courses together and are often assigned as teams in practica settings and field study projects. Best practices and guiding principles in family-centered intervention, Early Childhood Education, Deaf Education, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology are incorporated throughout the Program.

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