March 8-10, 2020 • Kansas City, MO


 Interdisciplinary Preparation of Teachers of the Deaf and Speech-Language Pathologists to Provide Early Intervention Services to Young Children Who Are Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) and Their Families

Fontbonne University has developed the Interdisciplinary Preparation of Teachers of the Deaf and Speech-Language Pathologists to Provide Early Intervention Services to Young Children Who Are Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Their Families project, funded by a $1.25 million OSERS grant, to increase the number of qualified teachers of the deaf and speech-language pathologists prepared, through interprofessional practices, to provide family-centered early intervention to children who are deaf/hard of hearing (DHH) and their families. With a project start date of January 1, 2018, the first two cohorts of scholars (40 scholars total in 4 cohorts) working towards master’s degrees in two disciplines, speech-language pathology and deaf education, are completing 23-hours of interdisciplinary coursework and field experiences focused on family-centered early intervention, speech and hearing, language and literacy, infant and child development, assessment and intervention planning, and early childhood educational practices. Project activities consist of coursework, field experience with young children who are DHH and their families, participation in a collaborative seminar, attendance at annual forums presented by nationally-recognized experts, attendance at professional conferences, and participation in various activities within a professional learning community (e.g. journal clubs, advocacy opportunities, service). The project focuses on preparing professionals to participate on interdisciplinary teams with parents and caregivers, general and special educators, early intervention and related service providers to design, implement, and evaluate focused instruction and intensive individualized interventions based on the unique learning and developmental needs of each individual child. Opportunities to apply similar activities and interprofessional practices across EHDI systems will be offered for participant consideration.

  • 1. Identify program competencies regarding the interprofessional preparation of deaf education and speech-language pathology professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to work with children who are DHH and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
  • 2. Examine preliminary project data to understand how interprofessional preparation prepares scholars to provide family-centered practices to support inclusion of children who are DHH in natural and least restrictive environments.
  • 3. Describe key project activities, including interprofessional case studies, journal club, cohort meetings, simulated patient encounters, field experience, and mentoring, while considering which activities might apply to one’s own engagement with EHDI initiatives.


Presenter: Jenna Voss

Jenna Voss, PhD, CED, LSLS Cert AVEd, is an Assistant Professor and Director of Deaf Education in the Communication Sciences and Disorders & Deaf Education program at Fontbonne University. She received her undergraduate degree in Deaf Education, and her master’s degree in Early Intervention in Deaf Education from Fontbonne University. As a National Leadership Consortium in Sensory Disabilities (NLCSD) fellow, she completed her PhD in Speech and Hearing Sciences in the Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. She holds teaching certification in the state of Missouri in the areas of Deaf Education and Early Childhood Special Education. Her background, as a educator of the deaf and early intervention provider, has informed research interests including promoting resilience for children and families experiencing adversity, provider use of strategies and techniques implemented in family-centered practice, and interprofessional preparation of pre-service listening and spoken language (LSL) practitioners.


Financial -
• Receives Salary,Grants for Employment from Fontbonne University.
• Receives Grants for Management position from Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS).

Nonfinancial -
• Has a Professional (serve as AG Bell Academy Board of Director) relationship for Board membership.

Presenter: Laura O'Hara

Laura O’Hara, PhD, CCC-SLP, Project Co-Director is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Speech-Language Pathology Graduate Program at Fontbonne University. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in the areas of early childhood language disorders, school-age language disorders, sound system disorders and language and literacy disorders in at-risk learners. She provided speech, language, and literacy prevention and intervention for students 3-21 years old as a full-time public school speech-language pathologist from 2005 until 2013, when she began teaching at Fontbonne full-time. In addition to teaching and providing clinical supervision, she presents at the local, state, national, and international level in the areas of prevention and intervention for speech, language, and literacy disorders.


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Nonfinancial -