November 20, 2000


LOS ANGELES - Special education teachers, early interventionists, and other professionals in the field of deaf education can now can take advanced courses online as part of John Tracy Clinic's web-based Distance Learning Program. The program, which offers continuing education units and a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Early Childhood Certificate, is the first of its kind
available anywhere in the world.

"Too often, people seeking advancement in this field have been unable to do so due to various hurdles or barriers," says Gisele Ragusa, director of the program.  "Access to educational opportunities is often limited by work hours, family needs, travel concerns, or the absence of educational courses in given geographical areas."

By providing easily accessible classes, this program, offered through the Clinic's Academy for Professional Studies, has helped ensure that educators across the country and throughout the world are better equipped to provide the guidance and instruction needed by young children with a hearing loss and their families. There are 43 advanced students currently enrolled. The Professional Distance Learning Program is open to anyone with a bachelor's degree or higher, and is recommended for those who are working in an early intervention or preschool setting.

Applications for enrollment and fee information are available by mail or on the Internet

For additional information, contact
Gisele Ragusa at (213) 748-5481, or

write to:
John Tracy Clinic
860 West Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles, California  90007.
Once enrolled, students access all lectures and discussion groups online at their own time and pace. Courses cover historical trends, ethnographic research, public policy, language development, curriculum adaptation and other topics in deaf education.  Instructors are selected based upon many factors, including their knowledge of the subject matter, experience with
Internet teaching, educational credentials and expertise in the field.  The Clinic strongly believes in providing only-top level programs, and thus has enlisted the highest quality instructors worldwide.

"Our program not only takes full advantage of the explosion of opportunities online, but also of the growing demand for trained professionals in the field," says Ragusa.  "With hearing loss being identified at significantly younger ages," she stresses, "there is a pressing need right now." The growing national movement for newborn hearing screening and the strong demand for teachers who can work with very young infants and toddlers have resulted in a national shortage of qualified teachers of the deaf.  As early as 1996, the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs reported 369 Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing teacher positions were unfilled or staffed by uncertified personnel.  The ability to provide this Internet-based curriculum allows the Academy of Professional Studies to reach many teachers and allied professionals, worldwide, who otherwise cannot further their education.

The Clinic's Academy of Professional Studies is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council, which is designated by the U.S. Department of Education as the nationally recognized accrediting agency.  Credits earned qualify toward continuing education units for professionals who teach with an emergency credential.  "The need for educators trained to work with very young deaf and hard-of-hearing children is at an all time high!" says Ragusa."

The Clinic hopes to be able to offer a master's degree in deaf education through the Professional Distance Learning Program sometime next year.  John Tracy Clinic, founded in 1942, is a non-profit education center that provides free services worldwide to parents of young children with hearing loss.

Uploaded by:  Kim Williams/Kent State University/Deaf Education Major