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Research on Education and Employment Outcomes for D/HH to be Funded by $1.3 Million Grant

Research on Education and Employment Outcomes for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
to be Funded by $1.3 Million Grant

October 27, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas — University of Texas at Austin educational psychologist
Stephanie Cawthon has received $1.3 million from the U.S. Department of
Education to spearhead a nationwide effort to reduce dropout rates and
improve postsecondary education and employment outcomes for individuals who
are deaf and hard of hearing.

Cawthon will use the grant money to oversee the research arm of a newly
formed national Center for Results in Education and Employment for Deaf
Students.

“I’ll be evaluating the resources, accommodations and policies that are in
place now and determining what changes may be needed to help deaf and hard
of hearing individuals successfully transition from high school to
postsecondary education and then into jobs,” said Cawthon, an assistant
professor in the College of Education’s Department of Educational
Psychology. “Center activities will focus on evidence-based practices and
will be developed from the most current scientific findings from
interdisciplinary fields.”

Cawthon will spend the first year of the five-year grant conducting a
national needs assessment and literature review to identify gaps in services
for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing.

“Many who are deaf may have unidentified issues such as learning
disabilities and aren’t receiving help and resources for those needs,” said
Cawthon. “Also, at the secondary level, education and transition needs often
are left unaddressed. The needs assessment will give us a clearer picture of
the current situation and help the center be more efficient and
effective.”

Cawthon said it is not enough to make resources such as online chat forums
and informational blogs available to professionals who work with deaf and
hard of hearing students. It also is important to place those resources
where a widely dispersed target population can easily find and access them.

Estimates vary, but recent federal statistics and research indicate that two
to four of every 1,000 people in the U.S. are “functionally deaf” and
anywhere from 37 to 140 of every 1,000 people are hard of hearing. The most
recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and
Program Participation suggest that about 0.38 percent of the population over
5 years of age is deaf.

“Many institutions, like universities, may only have two or three deaf
students and may not have had anyone in place to administer tests in
American Sign Language or help them with career counseling and placement,”
said Cawthon. “The center will be able to help these institutions build
capacity and tap into resources that may already exist somewhere else in the
nation.”

Cawthon’s $1.3 million in funding is part of a total $20 million, five-year
grant from the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education
Programs. In addition to The University of Texas at Austin, the center also
includes university partners California State University-Northridge, St.
Paul College in Wisconsin, the University of Montana at Missoula and the
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

For more information, contact: Kay Randall, Office of the President, 512 232
3910.

Source:

http://www.utexas.edu/news/2011/10/27/cawthon_educational_psychology/

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