Specialization (9 credits)

  • The Deafness Specialty Program is a three-course, graduate-level concentration — rarely found at a college — that prepares professionals to work with children (birth to young adulthood) who are deaf or hard of hearing and with their families, teachers, and service providers on language and literacy to maximize the potential for academic and social success.
  • Learn about the social, cognitive, linguistic, and cultural factors that influence overall development and communication development. 
  • Gain experience in early intervention, clinical, and/or academic settings. 
  • Become prepared to interact with children and families who are linguistically and culturally diverse and who use a wide range of communication methods and strategies including listening and spoken language, visually supported spoken language (Cued Speech and sign-supported speech), and American Sign Language.
  • The courses are open to graduate-level matriculated and non-matriculated students and to advanced undergraduate students. 
  • Students pursuing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology may pursue this concentration as part of their graduate studies. 
  • Practicing professionals can pursue the concentration as non-matriculated students for professional development. 
  • The courses align with the knowledge domains for Listening and Spoken Language Specialist certification and can be taken to gain content knowledge for that certification.

Program is Ideal For

  • Matriculated or non-matriculated graduate-level students seeking a specialization in deafness, including individuals pursuing degrees in speech-language pathology, and inclusive childhood or adolescent education.
  • Anyone who wants to be better prepared to teach, parent, or support individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. This is especially needed in the Rochester, NY region, which has one of the nation’s highest per capita populations of people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Certified teachers seeking additional education for teaching students who are deaf or hard of hearing

Career Information

  • Half of speech language pathologists in schools have at least one deaf or hard of hearing child on their caseload, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's 2014 Schools Survey.
  • There is a continued shortage of highly qualified professionals with the knowledge and skills in evidence-based practices to supporting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Recent employment data on graduates with this specialization indicates that employers recognize the value of this certification and are seeking professionals who have this specialized knowledge.

What to Expect
  • Course content addressing language and literacy development, assessment and intervention, and cochlear implant technology and use.
  • Exploration of characteristics of deaf learners and how they learn language
  • Practicum opportunities with children and adults who are deaf or hard of hearing, for matriculated students
  • Experiential learning opportunities available, for non-matriculated students
  • Opportunities for inter-professional collaboration, including with teachers of the deaf in the Rochester area
  • Evening courses offered during the fall, spring, and summer semesters
  • Opportunity to take courses in ASL and Cued Speech through the department
  • Receive a local certificate of specialization in deafness from Nazareth College upon completion

Curriculum (9 credits)
  • Language and Communication in the Early Years: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children Birth to Five Years
  • Language, Literacy, and Communication in School-age Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students (including the influence of spoken English, American Sign Language, and Cued Speech) 
  • Facilitating Language and Communication through Technology: Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants, and Assistive Devices

Registration process
  • Contact Kristin Bergholtz, kcolema6@naz.edu
  • Program typically begins fall semester
  • Deadlines are on a rolling basis for fall, spring, and summer terms.
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Program Directors

Carly Maldonado Alicea

Carly Maldonado Alicea

Assistant Professor in Communication Sciences & Disorders
York Wellness & Rehabilitation Institute 202
Kristin C. Bergholtz

Kristin C. Bergholtz

Clinical Assistant Professor, Clinic Director in Communication Sciences & Disorders
York Wellness & Rehabilitation Institute 252

Education: M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology, Nazareth College; B.S. in Communication Sciences & Disorders, Nazareth College

Areas of Academic Interest: Development of speech, language and listening skills of children who are deaf/hard of hearing; parent coaching; speech and language development in early intervention and preschool children; childhood apraxia of speech; and supervision