PACS receives $1.18 million grant from U.S. Department of Education

The Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences (PACS) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has received a five-year, $1.18 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to prepare graduate-level teachers of deaf or hard-of-hearing children.

The grant, awarded through the Office of Special Education Programs, will provide significant tuition support to students in the master of science in deaf education (MSDE) program in PACS. The grant will fund scholarships for 40 future teachers in the two-year program, beginning in 2014. Heather Hayes, PhD, assistant professor and director of Deaf Education Studies, is the project director on the grant.

Developments in newborn hearing screening programs and hearing devices have had considerable effects on speech, language and educational success of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. A combination of early diagnosis and advanced hearing devices, such as cochlear implants, has changed the landscape of educational opportunities for this population of children. However, being identified early and receiving a cochlear implant or hearing aid does not assure that a child will develop successful speech, language and literacy skills.

As a result, demand is growing for teachers with expertise in teaching listening and spoken language, as well as knowledge of the latest in audiology and speech and hearing science. The unique environment of PACS provides future teachers with the evidence-based skills they need to best serve children who are deaf or hard of hearing.