A major charge of ASHA Special Interest Group 9, Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood, is providing its affiliates (both audiologists and speech-language pathologists) with up-to-date information and resources to help serve this population. The SIG 9 Coordinating Committee (on which I serve) wanted to find out what we need to share and how we can best share this information, so we recently surveyed ASHA members. This survey compared confidence levels, educational experiences and resources requested by SIG 9 affiliates with providers who aren’t part of our SIG. Working with the ASHA Research and Surveys team, all 695 SIG 9 members were surveyed, plus approximately 2,000 ASHA-certified audiologists and SLPs who indicated they serve children with hearing loss.
We learned that a significant number of non-SIG-9 affiliates serve children who are who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH), for example, but many lack confidence about treatment approaches. Most SIG 9 affiliates look beyond their graduate training to receive extra support and/or mentoring for serving this population, while professionals who are not SIG 9 affiliates indicated they often don’t seek continuing education or other forms of outside support.
Both groups—SIG 9 affiliates and those who aren’t—want more information on serving children who use American Sign Language (ASL) and listening and spoken language (LSL). For resources and information related to ASL, professionals can find more information at the National Association for the Deaf, American Society for Deaf Children and Gallaudet University’s Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center. For resources supporting children who use LSL, professionals can find more information about mentoring at AG Bell, Hearing First, Hear to Learn and Success for Kids with Hearing Loss.
Interestingly, both groups of professionals responding to the survey also wanted more information on aural rehabilitation techniques and hearing activities. The ASHA Practice Portal also provides evidence-based information on a number of topics including newborn and childhood hearing screening, and permanent childhood hearing loss. Upcoming topics will include central auditory processing and cochlear implants for children.
Coordinating Committee members will also use responses to help us select topics for Perspectives articles, invite speakers to ASHA conventions and collaborate with other SIGs. We also hope to engage a broader audience of providers serving children with hearing loss. We chose three topics—cochlear implants, educational audiology and central auditory processing disorders—as topics for focused discussion on our online community. Look for future blogs highlighting these discussions, in addition to an upcoming web chat about hearing loss and autism in early September.
Kristina Blaiser, PhD, CCC-SLP, is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Idaho State University. She’s also the professional development manager for ASHA Special Interest Group 9, Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood. Kristina.Blaiser@isu.edu.