Specialization (9 credits)

  • The Deafness Specialty Program (D.S.P.) is a graduate-level sequence that prepares professionals to work with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing across the lifespan.
  • The three-course sequence examines the social, cognitive, linguistic, and cultural factors that influence overall development and communication development. 
  • 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 Deafness Specialty Program is open to graduate-level matriculated and non-matriculated students in speech-language pathology and inclusive childhood or adolescence education. 
  • Practicing professionals in a variety of disciplines can pursue the concentration as non-matriculated students for continuing education credits at half the price of regular course tuition to get a continuing education certificate. Fill out the Deafness Specialty Course Approval form.

D.S.P. 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, speech-language pathologists, or other professionals 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 support 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

  • Three specific courses are required (detailed below under curriculum), offered in the evening during the fall, spring, and summer semesters.
  • Practicum opportunities with children and adults who are deaf or hard of hearing, for matriculated students
  • Receive a local certificate of specialization in deafness from Nazareth College upon completion
  • Earn continuing education units or professional development credits 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
  • Facilitating Language and Communication through Technology

Registration process

  • Current Nazareth students: Talk to your academic program director to determine whether you are eligible to enroll in this program.
  • Non-matriculated students: Fill out the Deafness Specialty Course Approval Form.
  • Registration occurs on a rolling basis. Starting classes in the fall is recommended.
  • If you have questions, contact the D.S.P. directors listed on this page.
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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