National Deaf Center Director Stephanie Cawthon, Ph.D., will present at the U.S. Department of Education’s 2019 Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Leadership Conference in Arlington, Virginia, on July 22-24. 

Her presentation, Closing Education Gaps for Deaf Students: Improvement Science and the Research-to-Practice Connection, illustrates how the National Deaf Center uses a coherent, multidimensional approach to support states and other stakeholders in the development and implementation of accessible programming for deaf youth to help them achieve educational and employment success after high school. 

Using summer programming as an example, Dr. Cawthon explains how the process began with the National Deaf Center’s Engage for Change | state (EFC | state) initiative, which is an intensive TA model that emphasizes the importance of cross-agency partnerships, strengthening systems, and reducing barriers for deaf youth.

Learning from EFC | state members that high-quality summer programming is a shared interest across many states, the National Deaf Center uses improvement science to provide the necessary practical support in four key steps: 

  • Research Summary: Deaf Youth and Summer Programs: The Why and How was published to explain why summer camps and other programming are important for deaf youth, to serve as an advocacy tool for stakeholders seeking funding, and to identify focus areas for programming content. 

  • Deaf Community Interviews: The National Deaf Center collected summer camp stories from deaf people, who explained the impact such programming had on them. These compelling videos show the nuances that are important to remember when serving a diverse population. 

  • Interviews of State Agency Colleagues: Experienced state and national leaders contributed their perspectives and insights on how to launch and sustain accessible summer programming. 

  • Online Learning: The National Deaf Center has launched an online course, Developing Summer Programs, to facilitate peer engagement and synthesize all of its resources. This class includes opportunities to collaborate with state and national leaders and develop measures for success. 

Taken together, this example illustrates how National Deaf Center resources and activities are linked to represent a coherent, multidimensional approach to supporting states and other stakeholders in making the research to practice connection.

The 2019 OSEP Leadership Conference in an opportunity for state and agency leadership to learn from experts in the field, strengthen partnerships with peers, and enhance leadership roles to improve results for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and their families. 
 
Dr. Cawthon’s presentation is on Monday, July 22, at 1:30 p.m. in the Sky View room of the Crystal Gateway Marriott. Get conference updates on Twitter by following Dr. Cawthon (@swcawthon), the National Deaf Center (@nationaldeafctr), or the hashtag #DeafSuccessInEveryState.