Skip to main content

Deafness Specialty Preparation Program

Speech language pathology students work with the deaf and hard of hearing in the Deafness Specialization Program at Nazareth College.
For More Information

Paula Brown, PhD, CCC-SLP

Cathy Rasmussen, PhD, CCC-SLP
Department chair

Deafness Specialty Preparation Program

The deafness concentration is a unique opportunity for students pursuing a master's degree in Speech Language Pathology

The Deafness Specialty Preparation program within the Nazareth College Speech Language Pathology graduate degree program is offered in conjunction with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Students in the deafness specialization program work with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing from birth through young adulthood, their families, teachers, and service providers. They learn about the social, cognitive, linguistic and cultural factors that influence development in general and communication development in particular. This program focuses on early intervention, work in a variety of educational settings and communication options, as well as on work with individuals who have cochlear implants. Specific graduate courses for the deafness specialty concentration include:


Developmental Issues and Deaf Learners

This course provides an overview of social, cognitive, and linguistic development of deaf and hard of hearing children, as well as the educational implications of developmental differences. The course is specifically designed to provide background knowledge for assessment and intervention with deaf children and their families. It is also designed to prepare speech language pathologists for the varied roles they will play when working with families and children to maximize potential for academic and social success.

Listening and Spoken Language I and II

This course will explore speech and language development of DHOH students from preschool through grade school. The following will be addressed: language and literacy assessment and instruction; influence of spoken English, sign language, and cued speech on literacy development; and individual differences related to disability and cultural and linguistic diversity.

Cochlear Implants: Technology and Use

Students will study the history of cochlear implants, how cochlear implants work, and the impact they have on the lives of deaf children and adults who use them. Students will learn to compare various speech coding strategies and evaluate various quality of life indicators used to estimate the impact of cochlear implants on everyday living.

Early Intervention

Explores the nature and causes of infantile communication problems; covers family counseling and training, formal and informal assessment procedures, and direct/indirect intervention targets and procedures in a variety of settings, including hospital, home and school.

Educational Audiology

Provides examination of the identification and evaluation of hearing loss and central auditory processing dysfunction in children; the problems imposed by hearing loss and central auditory problems on cognitive development and academic performance; and the various services, techniques, and devices available to help minimize the effects of hearing and listening problems on a child’s ability to learn.

Contemporary Issues and Interprofessional Practice

The purpose of this course is to provide graduate students in various health and education programs with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to be effective as inter-professional team members. Students are introduced to core values and competencies derived from multiple professions, which prepares them for collaborative practice in diverse settings. This course covers research and theories that guide effective team development and interactive problem solving.

Assessment and Intervention Strategies for Facilitating Spoken Language

This course will focus on the development of the competencies required to conduct comprehensive assessment of the speech, language, and communication skills of young children who are deaf and hard of hearing. In addition, intervention strategies utilizing the gamut of current communication approaches and philosophies will be considered in depth.

Clinical Work

A significant portion of clinical practicum hours will be focused on assessment and intervention with deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Students work with linguistically and culturally diverse children and families who use a wide range of communication methods and strategies including auditory-verbal, visually-supported spoken language (Cued Speech and sign-supported speech), and American Sign Language. Practicum experience will be gained at sites in the Rochester area, including the Nazareth College Speech and Hearing Clinic and NTID at RIT.

Grant Funding

A personnel preparation grant from the U.S. Department of Education provides substantial financial aid for students accepted into the specialty program. Approximately $30,000 in tuition assistance and stipends are provided for the two years of training.

Program Application

Applications for this special concentration are submitted with the regular speech language pathology master's program application. The one-page form is available here.  For further information, see the  NTID web site.

Personal tools