Title: 'Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Hearing Loss: Professional Experiences'
Track: 9 - Program Evaluation and Quality Improvement
Keyword(s): Autism Spectrum Disorder, Clinical & Educational Management
Learning Objectives:
  1. Participants will describe the importance of family education for children with hearing loss and autism spectrum disorder.
  2. Participants will describe challenges encountered with American Sign Language interpreting between the medical and educational settings.
  3. Participants will understand the importance of collaboration between medical and educational professionals working with children who have hearing loss and autism spectrum disorder.


Background: There is a significant lack of evidence guiding the diagnosis and intervention for children with a dual diagnosis of permanent hearing loss (PHL) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There is insufficient evidence within the medical and educational fields to guide professionals in supporting to this population. Objective: The objective of this study was to understand the perceived educational and therapeutic needs from professionals who work with children with PHL and ASD . Methods: A focus group was held at a tertiary pediatric hospital with professionals who work with children with ASD and PHL in medical and educational settings. Topics focused on opinions and perspectives on the need for communication between professionals and families, educational support, professional training, and community resources. Results:Twelve professionals participated in the focus group. They expressed a great need for interdisciplinary education and collaboration across the ASD and hearing loss communities, noting that the most appropriate intervention and educational setting is child-dependent. Professionals from all disciplines called for better education for families in the areas of communication, educational options, and the impact of the dual-diagnosis. Without collaboration between the educational and medical teams, parents are less likely to receive uniform information. Receiving appropriate and consistent information from their child’s team may foster a better understanding and more open transmission of communication between parents and the team. Challenges with American Sign Language interpreting within and between the medical and educational settings were also discussed. Conclusions: Improved collaboration and cross-training between deaf educators and autism specialists is an important strategy to improve the care and outcomes of children with PHL and ASD.
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Justin Rozniak - Author

     Other Affiliations: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
      Justin Rozniak is a Child Life Specialist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where he has worked for the past 5 years. Justin received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Family Life in 2008 from Concordia University in Ann Arbor Michigan in 2008. He is currently enrolled at Concordia University Nebraska to obtain his Masters in Public Health. Justin was a LEND trainee at Cincinnati Children’s for the 2011-2012 school year, where he was the first Child Life Specialist to enter this training.

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Susan Wiley - Author
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
     Credentials: M.D., Developmental Pediatrician, Professor
      Dr. Susan Wiley is a developmental pediatrician with expertise in children who are deaf/hard of hearing. She has many years of experience serving children with multiple disabilities.

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Samantha Gustafson - Primary Presenter,Author
Vanderbilt University
     Credentials: Au.D., CCC-A
      Samantha Gustafson, AuD, CCC-A, is currently a PhD student at Vanderbilt University. She earned her B.S. in Speech and Hearing Science (2008) and her Doctorate of Audiology (2012) from Arizona State University. During her graduate studies, she worked as a research assistant in the Pediatric Amplification Lab at Arizona State University and also trained at Boys Town National Research Hospital in the Hearing Aid Research Lab. Samantha completed her clinical externship at Cincinnati Children's Hospital where she also served as a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) trainee. Her past research experiences include the effectiveness of advanced signal processing in children's hearing aids, procedures for incorporating real-ear measures into hearing aid fittings, and clinical measures of middle ear pathology in typically developing infants and children with Down syndrome. Her research interests are in individualizing audiological approaches to fit hearing aids for children with varying cognitive and developmental disabilities.

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