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Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (EDHH) Program Approved for Expansion

 

Following two national panels and 25 years of research, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is calling for improved education for deaf students in order to meet their unique communication and related needs.

And, beginning this fall, Augustana students majoring in the Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will be one giant step closer to meeting that national charge.

Following a recent vote of approval by the South Dakota Department of Education, Augustana’s existing K-12 Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (EDHH) Program will expand to a Birth through Age 21 Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program. Augustana continues to be the only Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program in the region.

Dr. Monica Soukup, associate professor of Education; Julie Simko, professor and certification officer; and Dr. Sharon Andrews, associate professor of Education, collaborated to write the proposal, which had the full endorsement of Augustana’s Education Department.

“Over the last 30 years, there’s been a shift from educating Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in self-contained classrooms to inclusive settings within general education schools. Therefore, teachers of the Deaf must be prepared to work with students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing in various educational placements,” said Soukup. “In addition, universal newborn screening, innovations in assistive listening devices, and early intervention services have created a demand for teachers of the Deaf to be prepared to work with infants and toddlers who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. As a result, the curriculum in college programs training teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing must include content and experiences that enhance the development of knowledge and skills for serving Deaf and Hard of Hearing children ages birth to 21 who are using the newest listening technology and receiving services in a variety of settings.”

According to Soukup, the change will benefit the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. It will also improve the certification process for Augustana’s EDHH graduates.   

“[Even before this change, Augustana had] been incorporating the [birth-21] information and experiences into our coursework,” she said. “This change will make the certification processes easier for graduates.”

In addition, Augustana was recently re-accredited by the Council on Education of the Deaf (CED).