Sign Language Making Big Impact

Zoe Jagla was a frustrated little girl, throwing temper tantrums as she tried and failed to communicate what she wanted. Her parents searched for a sign language teacher for their severe to profoundly deaf two-year-old, but couldn’t find one until Becky Reeder and Beth Chilman came along and dedicated two to three days a week to teach her American Sign Language.


Gene therapy to address progressive hearing loss

Using DNA as a drug — commonly called gene therapy — in laboratory mice may protect the inner ear nerve cells of humans suffering from certain types of progressive hearing loss, researchers have discovered. While the research is in its early stages, it has the potential to lead to a cure for some varieties of deafness.


Preschool Hearing Screenings: A Comparison of Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emission and Pure Tone Protocols

From the Journal of Educational Audiology vol. 19, 2013 – Distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAE) are sensitive to both sensorineural and conductive hearing losses and have the potential to be used as an effective screening measure across all populations, including children. DPOAE offer a quick and straightforward hearing screening technique for the pediatric population that is not influenced by subjective testing and is highly reproducible. In this study, the mean test times and pass/fail rates from 198 preschool participants were compared between two DPOAE screening protocols (1-5 kHz and 2-5 kHz) and a pure-tone screening protocol (1, 2 and 4 kHz). Significantly less time was needed to conduct the DPOAE screenings compared to the pure-tone screenings. Results suggested similar pass/fail rates for both DPOAE protocols compared to pure-tone screenings. Without diagnostic audiologic test results, the sensitivity and specificity of the screening protocols could not be determined. Until the true sensitivity and specificity of DPOAE and pure-tone screening protocols can be determined, it is recommended that clinicians consider adding DPOAE to their current screening protocol, or at least having DPOAE available to screen children who cannot or will not participate in pure-tone screenings.


Webinar Presented by Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center set for May 1st

This week we are pleased to share a resource for your May calendar.

On May 1, 2014, the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center of Gallaudet University will present “What the Eyes Reveal about the Brain: Advances in Human Language Acquisition—Insights from Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) and the Brain and Language Laboratory (BL2)” with Dr Laura-Ann Petitto as faculty. This pre-recorded Webcast will air from 2:00 – 3:00 pm EST and will be followed by a live question and answer session. Click on the link below to register for this free event.

This unique format will introduce important research on the impact on brain structure and function. You will learn what BL2 research shows about the bilingual brain, early language acquisition, and the implications for deaf and hard of hearing children.

Laura-Ann Petitto, PhD is the science director and co-principal investigator of the National Science Foundation and Gallaudet University’s Science of Learning Center, VL2. For more information about Dr Petitto’s research, see her web page at

As the Q&A will take place in a live session, you and your colleagues will want to be sure to add this Webcast to your calendars right away. If you participate, we are interested in hearing your feedback and insights!


AMCHP Releases National Standards for Improving Quality Systems of Care for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs

The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP), with support from the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, announces the release of a groundbreaking set of standards and companion background white paper designed to help communities, states, and the nation build and improve systems of care for children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) – which includes children who are deaf or hard of hearing. View a press release as well as these standards by going to