Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Marks Better Hearing and Speech Month.
May 1st marked the beginning of Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM) in the United States. Families, children and individuals with hearing loss, and organizations across the nation will commemorate BHSM and raise awareness about communication disorders, available hearing technology, treatments and communication outcomes for people with hearing loss.
Approximately 46 million Americans experience some form of communication disorder, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “Adding to that number are 12,000 babies born deaf or hard of hearing annually in the United States, a number that doubles by kindergarten due to illness or late-onset hearing loss,” says AG Bell Chief Executive Officer Emilio Alonso-Mendoza.
As a global nonprofit working to ensure children born with hearing loss can hear and talk, the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) is proud to once again join this ninety-one-year-old tradition. (There are 38 state chapters operating in the United States working to provide services to the AG Bell community at the local level).
“It’s important to raise awareness about communication disorders and hearing loss because it’s a difficult disability, but it affects all sorts of people,” says Sharon Brady, whose daughter wears cochlear implants and uses listening and spoken language.
Each BHSM, AG Bell raises awareness that early hearing screening and intervention is available and that getting the help a child, teen or adult with hearing loss needs is key to ensuring communication access and successful and independent lives. This year, AG Bell is launching a digital media campaign to raise awareness about hearing loss and the communications options available to those with hearing loss.
“This Better Hearing and Speech Month, we want to remind parents about the importance of early hearing detection and intervention and the communication outcomes available for those with hearing loss. A child’s brain is ready to learn language from birth, so parents can provide access to the family’s (spoken) language(s) right away with support from their audiologist and listening and spoken language specialist,” says AG Bell Chief Strategy Officer Gayla Guignard, who is also a licensed audiologist, speech-language pathologist and certified Listening and Spoken Language Specialist through AG Bell’s Academy.
Launched in 1927 by the American Society for the Disorders of Speech, which is known today as the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), BHSM serves to encourage hearing loss screenings and promote hearing loss prevention and treatment. U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who wore hearing aids, expanded this scope by naming May as BHSM in 1986. The president’s signature elevated the weight of BHSM to not only raise awareness and understanding about hearing health but also to spotlight issues faced by individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing.
About the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing:
The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) helps families, health care providers and education professionals understand childhood hearing loss and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. Through advocacy, education and financial aid, AG Bell helps to ensure that every child and adult with hearing loss has the opportunity to listen, talk and live a life without limits. With chapters located in the United States, AG Bell International in Europe and a network of international affiliates, AG Bell supports its mission: Working Globally to Ensure That People Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing can Hear and Talk. Visit www.agbell.org.
Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and financial aid:
AG Bell offers financial aid programs for families at every stage of raising their child.
Financial Assistance for Hearing Technology. Many organizations provide financial assistance for the evaluation and purchase of hearing aids for children. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information).
AG Bell College Scholarship Program:
For full-time students who are deaf or hard of hearing and use listening and spoken language. The application period for 2018 is now closed.
George H. Nofer Scholarship for Law and Public Policy:
For full-time graduate students with a moderately severe to profound hearing loss who are attending an accredited law school or a masters or doctoral program in public policy or public administration.
Arts & Sciences Award Program:
Available to students who are deaf or hard of hearing in grades one through twelve. Awards allow students to participate in after-school, weekend or summer programs that develop skills in the arts or sciences.
The AG Bell AVEd Scholarship:
AG Bell has established a professional scholarship to support certification of educators through the AG Bell Academy. The purpose of this scholarship is to assist one LSLS professional per year in fulfilling the requirements for certification as a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS™) in Auditory-Verbal Education (LSLS Cert. AVEd).
Parent & Infant Financial Aid Program:
For families of infants and toddlers under the age of 4 who have been diagnosed with a moderately-severe to profound hearing loss who are pursuing a spoken language outcome for their child. This program will open for applications in July 2018.
School-Age Financial Aid:
The School‐Age Financial Aid program is for students with a pre‐lingual bilateral hearing loss in the moderately-severe to profound range who use listening and spoken language and who are in first through twelfth grades and attending a parochial, independent or private mainstream school.
Preschool Age Financial Aid Program:
The Preschool Financial Aid program is for families of preschool-age children who have been diagnosed with a moderately-severe to profound hearing loss and who are pursuing spoken language education for their child. Families who apply should be committed to a listening and spoken language approach for the development of their child’s listening, speech and cognitive skills. The 2018 application will open on May 18th.
The Doreen Pollack AVT Scholarship:
AG Bell and The Listen Foundation have established a professional scholarship in the name of Doreen Pollack, a pioneer in the standards of excellence in listening and spoken language. The purpose of this scholarship is to assist one LSLS professional per year in fulfilling the requirements for certification as a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLS) in Auditory-Verbal Therapy (LSLS Cert. AVT).
Source: Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Image credit: Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
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