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President's Message

I hope that you all had a good summer and are making plans to attend our conference. As you will see, Ruth Fletcher and Judy Egelston-Dodd have been hard at work to ensure that we have another informative and interactive conference in March. We hope to have an excellent turn-out, and to see some new faces. If you know of individuals who are involved in the preparation of teachers of children who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing, please inform them of the conference and invite them to attend. This year we extend a special invitation to doctoral students. The conference should provide them with an excellent opportunity to meet faculty engaged in teacher preparation, and a friendly atmosphere in which to present papers and engage in discussion with colleagues.

Many of you will have heard about the death over the summer of Sr. May Delaney who was a former president of ACE-DHH and was an active and valued member of our organization. We plan to have a special memorial service for her to share our memories and stories. Please bring your recollections so that we may celebrate her life.

As you see by the program included in this newsletter, our focus at this conference will be the new CED program evaluation standards. Those of you who have been following developments will know that CED has been developing separate evaluation standards for bilingual-bicultural, oral- aural, and comprehensive programs. As these evaluation procedures will affect each one of our programs, it is clear we need to devote some time to them. Since our field has long been divided over issues of communication mode and language, it is predictable that we would divide teacher preparation along the same lines.

However, there is another dimension that deserves considerably more attention than it has received. I return to the issue of the differences and similarities of educating Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children. How well will each of these programs prepare teachers to work with Hard-of-Hearing children in the public schools? The 1996 Directory issue of the Annals reports that 36% of all Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children receiving services have less-than severe losses. Most children who are Hard-of-Hearing attend their neighborhood schools and receive support services from an itinerant teacher. Some of these children are monitored, others receive only consultant services, while yet others receive direct services ranging from a few hours a month to a few hours a week. Some of these children receive direct services primarily from a teacher of Deaf children, others may receive their primary service from an audiologist or speech language pathologist. Should our programs prepare teachers to serve these children? Are there any special skills that they need to develop to serve this population that they do not develop if the focus of their preparation is children who have severe and profound hearing losses? Some of our colleagues have suggested that children who are Hard-of- Hearing are so different from children who are Deaf that they should not be grouped together in any way. However, school districts often employ one teacher to serve both groups of students. We call our organization ACE-DHH not ACE-D. How are we preparing teachers to serve children with mild and moderate hearing losses? Are we willing to concede that the primary coordinators of services for these children be educational audiologists and speech pathologists? Are we effectively preparing our students to work in a team with these professionals and with regular classroom teachers or will our focus continue to be to prepare only those individuals who provide classroom instruction to Deaf children whether they are oral or bilingual?

Clearly, the new program evaluation standards will give each of us flexibility to develop specialized expertise in our students. However, which kind of program will prepare teachers who can work effectively with children who are Hard-of- Hearing who are in public schools? Or will the CED standards apply only to those who work with Deaf children? I look forward to hearing and discussion some solutions to this issue during the conference.

Shirin Antia