February 26-28, 2017 • Atlanta, GA


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Maribeth Lartz and Tracy Meehan

I nominate am nominating Maribeth Lartz and Tracy Meehan for the 2017 Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence. I have worked on the AIM To Be Ahead™ grant under their excellent leadership since 2012. Maribeth and Tracy currently run the AIM grant through Illinois State University. The AIM program provides Teachers of the Deaf, Speech Language Pathologists, and Audiologists the knowledge and skills they need to provide high quality listening and spoken language El services to young children with hearing loss in Illinois. This grant is the third of its kind since 2008. Together they have trained more than 100 professionals thereby increasing the number of LSL trained Teachers, SLP's, and Audiologist El providers by over 80 professionals in the state of Illinois.

Maribeth and Tracy first identified an increased need for El providers in the state of Illinois in 2008. Specifically, they found evidence of a need for professionals trained in helping children who were deaf or hard of hearing learn listening and spoken language skills. Recruitment efforts were concentrated in both urban and rural areas so that all underserved families would have access to the quality care they needed.

The Office of Special Education Programs through the Department of Education has awarded Maribeth and Tracy three grants to carry out this excellent program. Together they crafted a face-to-face and distance learning program that focuses on increasing competencies in working with families, child development, hearing technology, and listening and spoken language development. Students attend classes in two locations to ensure that providers are trained across the state. Maribeth and Tracy's creative thought process allows students to participate in both home and center based practica, which is an incredibly unique learning experience for established professionals.

The AIM grant program comes to a close at the end of 2017, I feel this is the perfect time to recognize their efforts and most importantly the impact they have had on young children with hearing loss in the state of Illinois. Maribeth and Tracy have changed the landscape of Early Intervention services by increasing the knowledge and skill level of current and future providers as well as meeting the needs of children in underserved areas across the state of Illinois.

Maribeth and Tracy have multiple professional partners in Illinois at major medical centers, schools, clinics, and in homes thereby increasing the reach of their teaching and professional development. They have presented at numerous conferences so that their work and ideas can be shared across the country with the hope of increasing the quality and quantity of services for children in all states. Most recently, they have published a chapter on Early Intervention in a book written by Dr. Nancy Young and Karen Iler Kirk on Pediatric Cochlear Implantation.

Please consider the work of these incredible women and their contributions to EHDI Excellence in Illinois and the country.