The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences has received a three-year extension on a private foundation grant to develop a state-of-the-art graduate program in early oral intervention.
The recently renewed $525,000 grant, originally obtained in 2006, will partially fund the program through June, 2012.
Southern Miss Professor Christina Perigoe, coordinator of early oral intervention for children who are deaf and hard of hearing, serves as the grant project’s director. She said the emphasis on early intervention with the child and family can reduce or eliminate the need for traditional deaf education services such as sign language interpreters.
“The purpose of the program is to prepare specialists to work with infants and young children who are deaf or hard of hearing, ages birth to 6, and their families,” said Perigoe. “USM has one of only three programs in the United States with an early intervention focus.
“The program here is designed to be a regional graduate degree program of excellence – attracting applicants from the southeastern United States.
Using the latest technology, such as digital hearing aids and cochlear implants, children with all levels of hearing loss are being taught to learn spoken language through listening.
Dr. Henry Teller, director of programs in deaf education at Southern Miss, said the grant is already paying dividends.
“The first cohort of students will graduate this month with a Master of Science degree in Education of the Deaf with concentration in early oral intervention and will be eligible for a Class AA teaching credential from the Mississippi Department of Education,” said Teller.
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.