Title: 'FIRST YEARS: Professional Development Through Distance Education for EDHI Service Providers '
Track: 7-EHDI Workforce Issues
Audience: Primary Audience: Early Intervention Provider
Secondary Audience: State Education Agency
Tertiary Audeince: Part C Agency/Program
Keyword(s): professional development, distance technology
Learning Objectives: Describe the skills and qualifications needed to serve infants, toddlers, and children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families Describe the components of the FIRST YEARS program. Identify benefits and outcomes associated with completion of the program.


As more children who are deaf or hard of hearing receive early intervention and are later served in inclusive settings, speech pathologists, special educators, and other professionals are called upon to provide services. Many of these professionals lack specialized educational preparation related to the needs of children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families. FIRST YEARS is a unique in-service program combining coursework and a mentored practicum designed to meet the education needs of practicing professionals. FIRST YEARS is for EHDI service providers interested in expanding their knowledge and skills related to spoken language intervention with children who are deaf or hard-of hearing. Through online distance technology, FIRST YEARS brings the classroom to students anytime—any place. This presentation will provide participants with an overview of the entire program. Detailed information regarding the five graduate level courses that have been developed by a variety of experts in listening and spoken language will be discussed. Participants will have an opportunity to “go live” to the FIRST YEARS website and Blackboard, the learning management system, utilized by the program. This presentation will describe the mentorship component and address the numerous benefits associated with the mentorship. Participants will also have an opportunity to hear from current students and former graduates via video regarding their FIRST YEARS’ experience and both perceived and realized benefits resulting from participation in the program.
Presentation(s): Not Available
Handouts: Not Available