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Training Consultant Specialists: Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Barry L. Griffing & David J. Mercaldo, Idaho State University

This presentation explained the development and initial field testing of an Educational Specialist degree program to prepare Consultant Specialists: Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, who can provide (a) technical assistance, (b) inservice training, and (c) collaborative resources for teachers and related specialists working in local school programs.

This career role in the education of the deaf and hard of hearing is somewhat akin to the center school supervising teacher role. An important difference is that the position is designed to function in a collaborative consultation mode working with many schools, regular education teachers, school site principals, teachers of the deaf, an array of support service specialists, and parents.

Today, two decades since the enactment of legislation which gave impetus to the shifting of enrollment of deaf and hard of hearing students from state residential schools to local public school programs, approximately 75% of deaf and hard of hearing students are in public schools. The majority of these students are in schools with no more than three other deaf or hard of hearing students. Some 6,000 deaf children are the only hearing disabled students in the entire school. Despite sincere efforts of the regular and special education teachers, the complexity and technical aspects of educating deaf and hard of hearing students require expert resource assistance if these local schools are going to provide appropriate programs. This is especially true in rural/remote regions in many states.

A Consultant Specialist can be provided through a cooperative or consortium of school districts, regional arrangements, or through states. This expert can bring needed technical assistance to local school programs, conduct inservice training, and organize resources through collaborative consultation strategies.

This presentation explained a pilot project to train Consultant Specialists.