Gift to the deaf education program will benefit more children
The deaf education and hearing science program received a $246,000 gift from the Oberkotter Foundation. It was the only university program in the country selected for a grant from the foundation this year, said Blane Trautwein, Ed.D., CED, assistant professor and program director.
The money will be used to create an online course about listening and spoken language outcomes for children with hearing loss. It will also go toward the program’s main practicum school, Sunshine Cottage, which will create a teletherapy program for families of children ages 0 to 3 who have hearing loss, but who live too far away to get appropriate help, he said.
“To say that we’re the only one chosen in the nation speaks fairly well for our program,” Dr. Trautwein said. “We’re pretty darn thrilled.”
The first gift from the Oberkotter Foundation was in 2008, and over the years support has topped $663,000. The foundation supports schools where children who are deaf or hard of hearing can learn listening and spoken language skills and develop their social, emotional, language and educational skills.
The Health Science Center’s deaf education and hearing science program started in 2008 with three students. Today, with Dr. Trautwein and Sarah Ammerman, Ph.D., CED, at the helm, the program has grown to 21 students and is one of the largest in the country.
“Our program is all about making sure there are professionals out there who are knowledgeable enough and have the skills to be able to help the students use all this technology and all these great advances in medical sciences to their benefit,” Dr. Trautwein said. “It’s not just a matter of identifying children with hearing loss. You have to have trained professionals to make a difference.”