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Students Learn About Disabilities and Communication

photo of students in special education and communication disorders combined programA new program at the University of Kentucky is uniquely preparing school personnel who are in high demand – those who work with students with moderate and severe disabilities and intense communication needs.

Special educators and speech-language pathologists typically are not trained in the same program. A grant from the U.S. Department of Education is making interdisciplinary training possible for students focused on special education and communication.

“There is synergy between the College of Education teacher leader master’s program in special education (moderate and severe disabilities) and the College of Health Sciences master’s program in communication sciences and disorders,” said Dr. Judith Page, associate professor in the College of Health Sciences Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. “We believe that by partnering scholars in these interdisciplinary fields during their training, they will become agents for change through working together.”

The program provides funding for eight master’s level scholars to study in a combined program during graduate school at UK. Four are studying for careers in special education and four are focusing on communication disorders. Through studying in a combined program, they are learning to develop skills for solving communication challenges for students in special education classrooms.

“This summer, the students attended shared classes on campus and had shadowing opportunities. They also gained hands-on experience using assistive technologies found in school settings,” said Dr. Margaret Bausch, professor in the College of Education Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Rehabilitation Counseling and associate dean for research and graduate student success.

The Special Education and Communication-Interdisciplinary Training (SPEAC-IT) grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.

For more information about graduate degrees in special education, contact Dr. Melinda Ault at mjault@nulluky.edu. For more information about degrees in communication sciences and disorders, contact Dr. Joseph Stemple at jcstem2@nulluky.edu.