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Auditory Consultant Research Network in Akron Public Schools

​​​Akron, Ohio is more than 800 miles from Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. Yet, the distance is no deterrent for the professionals of Akron Public Schools who look to the Hospital’s Auditory Consultant Resource Network to help maximize the educational outcomes for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“With the recent legislative mandates including early identification, intensive intervention and dramatic advancements in hearing technology, our district felt compelled to reach out to one of the finest institutions in the country for assistance in providing optimal services to our deaf or hard of hearing students,” said Wendy Woods, Deaf/Hard of Hearing Supervisor of Akron Public Schools.

During an initial consultation visit, the professionals of Akron Public Schools and Boys Town’s Auditory Consultant Resource Network defined strategic goals to enhance the following areas: Auditory Skills Facilitation, Developmentally Appropriate Educational Practices, Assessment Frameworks and Effective Team Function.

To achieve their educational goals, Akron Public Schools contracted a combination of onsite training, distance coaching and professional education services with Boys Town’s Auditory Consultant Resource Network.

Akron’s onsite services have included developing and implementing student Communication Profiles, demonstrating teaching strategies to incorporate auditory development into daily practices, and facilitating team formation using current leadership practices.

“Boys Town has had a tremendous impact upon the daily practices that I use in my classroom,” said Joyce Johnson, Deaf/Hard of Hearing Preschool Intervention Specialist at Akron Public Schools. “Collaborative planning with a fellow team teacher and our SLP has become a priority in our monthly planning sessions.”

Akron’s distance coaching services have included virtual observation of therapy sessions, classroom activities, and panel discussions with psychologists, audiologists, and interpreters. Akron educators and professionals have also participated in distance study groups focusing on student case studies, speech perception testing, and the Reggio Emilia approach.

For more than seven years, Akron Public Schools has partnered with the Boys Town Hospital’s Auditory Consultant Resource Network to develop and enhance programs and services to meet the ever-changing needs of their deaf or hard of hearing student population.

“This long standing partnership has resulted in a strong sense of pride and enhanced professional practices among our deaf and hard of hearing staff,” said Karen Liddell-Anderson, Director of Special Education at Akron Public Schools. “I personally look forward to our continued partnership and growth.”