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To Address Shortage of Teachers for Deaf Children, MSU Uses Grant Money to Ramp Up Program

SIgn language
Two girls practice as they learn sign language. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Missouri is facing a serious shortage of educators trained to teach deaf children. Because of that shortage, an MSU professor has been awarded over $100,000 in grants from Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. KSMU’s Jennifer Davidson explains.

If you go to the website of MSU’s Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program, you’ll see a big, black box with bold letters at the top:  “Once in a lifetime opportunity,” it says. “Grant Funding Available for up to 50% off tuition.”

MSU’s Dr. Angel Ye Wang was awarded three grants totaling an amount of $108,834. Part of which will be used for scholarships in the highly-specific graduate program.

According to a release from the university, MSU has the only program in the state that prepares its graduates to teach deaf and hearing-impaired students. That’s partly why there’s a shortage. “Currently, 18 states do not have teacher preparation programs for students who are deaf or hard of hearing,” said Wang.

MSU is also using the grant money for a workshop that uses various senses to teach hearing-impaired children how to spell and read using phonics.

“Visual Phonics is a tool that uses a combination of visual, tactile, kinesthetic and auditory feedback to facilitate the development of phonemic awareness, reading, spelling and speech production skills,” said Wang.

Part of the money will also go toward a website for professionals who are working with deaf children. Through that website, professionals can ask questions and share information in their field.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Davidson.