Idaho State University Receives $2.2M Grant to Support Children with Hearing Impairments

Idaho State University has received $2.2 million in grants to provide training for students and educators who will work with children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

The Office of Special Education Personnel Preparation has awarded two grants to Idaho State University’s Department of Communications and Disorders, which will make $2.2 million in grant funding available over the next five years, according to a news release published last week by Idaho State University.

The HEAR program (Idaho Hearing Education and Aural Rehabilitation program) will utilize the grant funding to cover training, tuition, and stipends for 42 students who are pursuing careers as service providers in speech language pathology or audiology. Additionally, the grant funding will support teachers who educate children with hearing impairments.

“Our university’s family-to-family support model is a one-of-a-kind program in the country and offers specific advantages, especially in a rural state like Idaho,” stated Kristina Blaiser, a Professor at Idaho State University and the grant recipient and principal investigator for the HEAR program. “The use of technology allows us to bring families together, regardless of where they are located. Instead of feeling isolated with a low occurrence diagnosis, families feel more connected and empowered.”

University officials at Idaho State University have mentioned that the program will be beneficial to parents and families in Idaho due to a shortage of speech language pathologists, audiologists, and early intervention personnel in the state.

“As a parent of a child who is hard-of-hearing, I can confirm that this type of training program is greatly needed,” said Shelly Estevez, a parent from Pocatello, in a written statement provided by ISU.

According to university officials, the HEAR program is expected to begin accepting its first group of students in the fall of 2024.

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