If children who have hearing impairment are to achieve their personal and educational potential many things have to be in place including early diagnosis, appropriate amplification and a highly motivated support environment from families, educators and other key professionals. Well trained specialist practitioners in education, health and social care figure highly in all aspects of the support and education of deaf children – working in partnership together, supporting and advising families, encouraging good use of hearing aids, advising mainstream teachers at all levels, carrying out supportive teaching in resource bases or units and acting as the main teacher in special schools of various types. A very clear focus of this programme is the raising of achievements of deaf children and the confidence of families in meeting their child’s needs as a result of effective early intervention and support.
The programme is part time, but mixed mode, giving concentrated opportunities for students to meet and be taught by some of the leading professionals in this highly specialist area. The use of ICT plays a substantial part in the programme and also links students and staff during the electronic / distance learning part of the course. The programme will stimulate and challenge within a supportive framework provided by lecturers, tutors and mentors and provide access to the latest technology to aid learning.
We are excited by the possibility of contributing to the professional development of a range of practitioners who are committing themselves to the working with very young deaf children and their families and carers, and welcome you to the course.
The programme comprises three modules, all rated at 20 Masters level CATS points. Each student will be guided by a personal tutor and will be supported in their own professional setting by a mentor; each module includes one residential weekend.
This programme was constructed as a direct response to the newborn hearing screening programme (NHS) and the consultation documents from DfCSF and the Department of Health ‘Together from the Start’ and ‘Early Intervention for Deaf Babies 0 to third birthday’. All of these policy developments stressed the importance of professionals involved in supporting families having additional training with respect to:
* understanding very early child development;
* understanding the impact of specific needs and disabilities on this;
* working in partnership with families and what effective family centred services should encompass;
* effective multi-agency working, including the team around the child.
The course is made up of the following three modules:
The Developing Deaf Infant 0-2 years
The aim of this module is to place the development of communication of deaf infants within an overall framework of the developmental process. Students explore a range of approaches to monitoring development of babies who are deaf but with particular emphasis on areas at risk because of early childhood deafness. This includes training in the use of tools such as the Early Support Monitoring Protocols and Developmental Journals, Video analysis and how to interpret and respond to the evidence gained.
Early Audiological Management.
The aim of this module is to consider issues in relation to the effective prescription of and fitting of amplification aids for very young deaf children; this includes different approaches to hearing aid management and evaluation and relative roles in gaining the evidence to support these. Issues relating to advising families in relation to establishing aids and promoting effective listening behaviour are also explored.
Partnership Working with Families and other Professionals
The aim of this module is to provide an overview of family models and parenting styles current in the UK; to explore different models of working with the families of very young deaf children, including those reflected in Early Support (DFES) and in international initiatives, such as the Family Partnership model. Integrated working practices and how these might be developed or improved to secure consistent and effective services for the child are explored.
Teaching, learning and assessment
The teaching and learning experiences offered include core units and activities for each module, lectures, tutor-led and student-led seminars, discussion groups as well as a range of workshop activities.
External guest lecturers are used to provide up-to-date expertise and experience as well as the core team. Reflecting the team around the child approach within Early Support these include practitioners from health, social care and education background and families.
Course units and lectures/workshops are set within the context of current government guidance and initiatives such as Every Child Matters, Early Support and Newborn Hearing Screening research and quality standards, as well as an international context.
Throughout the programme, students are encouraged to relate general principles and issues to their own experience of working with hearing-impaired children, young people and adults and potential pitfalls if early intervention is not effective, as well as draw on their current working practices with babies and young children.