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As background for our overall work, the Commission initiated fact gathering efforts through presentations by various agencies, associations and service providers in Georgia by asking them to provide the Commission with their respective roles in offering resources to the hard of hearing and deaf community. We outlined the following four areas of priority identified by the Commission in our role as advocates:
- Effective early identification and intervention.
- Evidence based instruction that maximizes children's academic success and opportunity for achieving full potential.
- Graduate level audiology program in Georgia.
- Public awareness initiative to help afford population greatest possible access to services and resources for a lifetime.
Audiology Program in Georgia
The Georgia Commission for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing agreed to learn more about the requirements and resources needed for training audiologists in Georgia. The Commission decided to explore the opportunities of obtaining a Clinical/Research Audiology program in Georgia and to investigate possible resources to fund such a Program. Several contacts were made and discussions held on the need for a graduate level audiology program in Georgia.
Nova Southeastern University (NSU) expressed an interest and made a commitment to find a location to house the Audiology program in Atlanta. The original plan was to enroll students to begin study in Fall 2013. But then the time-line was moved to 2014. Job descriptions and budgets were complete and discussions began for the recruitment of faculty. The final paperwork was submitted to the Georgia Non-Public Post-Secondary Education Commission (GNPEC) for approval of the Audiology program to be located in Georgia and award the Doctor of Audiology. Approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) was received. Several meetings were held with “the Atlanta Audiology Advisory Group” ( A group of Georgia audiologists from a variety of practice settings) to discuss curriculum, equipment and funding.
On March 14, 2013, we received a letter from Barry Freeman, Ph.D. who was spear heading this initiative and the spokesperson for Nova Southeastern University. The letter simply indicated that they would not be opening a campus in Atlanta and would not be opening an Au.D. program in Georgia in the near future.
No other interest has been expressed at this point.
Georgia Adopt A Band
The Georgia Commission for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing in partnership with the Georgia Academy of Audiology and the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation launched the Georgia Adopt-a-Band program. The primary goal of the Georgia Adopt-a-Band Program is to preserve the hearing of young musicians in music programs statewide by promoting healthy playing and listening habits. The Georgia Adopt-a-Band Program provides an innovative opportunity for audiologists to inform music students, music educators, parents and program administrators about the dangers of overexposure to loud sound. The program promotes the use of Etymotic high-fidelity hearing protection during practice, performance, and competition. They reduce sound by approximately 20db across the entire frequency range and preserve the clarity of music. The earplugs are a low cost, ready-fit and reusable solution.
Georgia Pathway is a Community of Practice (CoP) of professionals, advocates, and parents who serve deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH) students throughout the State of Georgia. Its mission is to advance the literacy proficiency of Georgia’s children who are D/HH and achieve grade-level reading proficiency by the end of third grade for all Georgia students with hearing loss, regardless of their communication modality. The 100 Babies Project, a collaboration with Pathway and the Georgia Department of Public Health, kicked off on January 1, 2014 and aims to ensure that the first 100 babies born with hearing loss in Georgia in 2014 will be on path to grade level reading by 3rd grade. From the 100 Babies Project, Georgia Pathway will determine best practices and methodology for its future. Please click on facebook.com/georgia.pathway.1 for more information.