Top Education Official to Speak at Conference Offering New Strategies for Helping Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing Listen and Talk

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AG Bell 2011 Listening & Spoken Language Symposium to Offer Courses, Workshops, and New Perspectives on Children with Hearing Loss

Early identification and intervention is critical for children with hearing loss to develop language and cognitive skills.

At a three-day conference on July 21–23, 2011, in Washington, D.C., Melody Musgrove, director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), will present the keynote address to more than 400 professionals serving children with hearing loss and their families at the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) conference titled, “Listening and Spoken Language Symposium.” Musgrove will be joined by Tawara D. Goode, a national expert in culturally competent service delivery. Visit http://www.agbell.org.

Founded in 1890, AG Bell (http://www.agbell.org) is the only national organization dedicated to supporting families, children, and adults who are deaf or hard of hearing and who use spoken language to communicate, as well as the professionals who serve them.

OSEP is dedicated to improving results for children and youths with disabilities ages birth through 21 by providing leadership and financial support to states and local school districts. Musgrove will provide an update on federal education initiatives for children with disabilities, highlighting the federal education agenda as it pertains to special education and the relationship between early hearing detection, early intervention and school-age services.

Musgrove’s career is distinguished by her commitment to collaborative frameworks that find creative solutions to difficult educational problems. She is focused on improving outcomes for all children and is experienced in using data to influence systemic improvement decisions. During her tenure as Mississippi’s State Director of Special Education, students with disabilities achieved improved results in reading and math, schools implemented more inclusive practices, graduation rates increased, and drastic steps were taken to halt disproportionate identification of minority students for special education. “It is critical that students with disabilities are identified early, and that no procedures or practices result in delaying the identification so that children with disabilities may have access to the special services that they need,” Musgrove said. “Early identification and intervention are critical for children with hearing loss to develop language and cognitive skills.”

Tawara D. Goode, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., will present a keynote on “Working with Families: How to Master Cultural and Linguistic Competencies.” Goode will explore changing demographics and dynamics in working with families today and provide foundational approaches for culturally and linguistically competent service delivery. As director of the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, Goode has been involved in developing and implementing programs and initiatives in the area of cultural and linguistic competency at the local, national, and international levels.

The AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language offers certification for Listening and Spoken Language Specialists (LSLS) who involve the family and work directly with children in individual, group or classroom settings. The Listening and Spoken Language Symposium will offer attendees a unique opportunity to expand their professional knowledge with a wide range of clinically and educationally relevant topics, including innovative assessment tools, telepractice for professional development and service delivery, and family coaching.

The Symposium features two general sessions, 15 workshops, and six short courses. Topics to be covered include:

  • Outcome data on children with mild to severe hearing loss
  • Evidence on the importance of supporting parental linguistic input
  • The use of innovative assessment tools for diagnosis and intervention
  • Distance learning strategies and technologies for educating families and mentoring professionals
  • Strategies to effectively advocate for educational rights, as well as proven strategies to pass local and state legislation for insurance coverage of hearing aids.

Symposium attendees include teachers of the deaf, speech-language pathologists, Listening and Spoken Language Specialists, audiologists, researchers, administrators, and clinicians. For more information, visit http://www.agbell.org.

“This symposium is designed to highlight current issues in the field today, and provide cutting-edge research and innovative strategies for professionals who serve children and families,” said Kathleen Treni, AG Bell president and principal of the pre-kindergarten through 12th grade programs for students who are deaf and hard of hearing in the Bergen County Special Services District in Northern New Jersey. “We are excited to offer this program which provides the latest research in listening and spoken language development today.”

About the AG Bell Association

The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (http://www.agbell.org) helps families, health care providers and education professionals understand childhood hearing loss and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. Through advocacy, education and financial aid, AG Bell helps to ensure that every child and adult with hearing loss has the opportunity to listen, talk and thrive. With chapters located in the United States and a network of international affiliates, AG Bell supports its mission: Advocating Independence through Listening and Talking!

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