Council for Exceptional Children

Accommodations Considerations in Pre-College and Postsecondary Assessments for Deaf Individuals, Stephanie Cawthon; January 29 - February 2, 2019

Presentation Summary: This session will present information that highlights issues and considerations in the provision of accommodations in pre-college secondary and postsecondary assessments for deaf individuals.

Recommended Resources: Test Accessibility for Deaf Individuals: What Professionals Need to KnowTest Equity Courses 1 & 2

Raising the Bar to Empower Deaf Youth, Kent Turner; January 29 - February 2, 2019

Presentation Summary:  This workshop will discuss the impact of high expectations and self-determination on postsecondary outcomes for deaf individuals. Research and evidence-based resources will frame an interactive discussion on empowering deaf youth to choose their future in strengths-based approach framework.

Recommended Resources: Deafverse: Choose Your Future, Self-Advocacy: The Basics (Infographic), Research Summarized! Promoting High Expectations for Success


Stephanie Cawthon, PhD

Caucasian woman with brown shoulder length hair and white shirt

Dr. Stephanie Cawthon’s mission is to translate research into practices that helps millions of deaf Americans succeed after high school—at work, in training programs, or at a college or university. 

Her 28-year career in teaching and research has been dedicated to studying the different ways deaf people achieve educational success, how it leads to life satisfaction, and what schools, governments, and parents can do to help make sure #DeafSuccess happens. 

A national expert who presents regularly at international conferences, Dr. Cawthon’s research examines the multiple factors that affect how deaf people succeed after high school, investigates issues of equity and access in education, explores accommodations and accessible learning environments, and challenges systemic standards that may be holding some students back. Her research has been funded by nearly $25 million in federal and other grants. 

She literally wrote the book on the topic. Dr. Cawthon co-authored Shifting the Dialog, Shifting the Culture: Pathways to Successful Postsecondary Outcomes for Deaf Individuals with Associate Director Carrie Lou Garberoglio, Ph.D., a publication that a leading journal called “an important contribution to the field.” They also co-authored Research in Deaf Education: Contexts, Challenges and Considerations in 2017. 

Her first book, Accountability-Based Reforms: The Impact of Deaf or Hard of Hearing Students, won the Exceptional Book of the Year Award in 2012 from Exceptionality Education International. 

Dr. Cawthon grew up hard of hearing herself, and her own transition to college was not seamless. Raised oral in mainstream schools, she attempted the accommodations strategies she used in high school, then quickly realized they were inadequate in a large university setting. She went on to earn her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Psychology from Stanford University, where her initial line of research in the language development in deaf children launched her career. Dr. Cawthon received her doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 2002, where she became a systems thinker focused on educational access, equity, and attainment. 

Current Affiliations and Appointments 

  • Professor, Department of Educational Psychology | University of Texas at Austin
  • Board of Directors and Director of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Institute | Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at the University of Texas at Austin 
  • Provost’s Teaching Fellow Emeritus | University of Texas at Austin 
  • Director of Research and Evaluation | Drama for Schools 
  • Associate Editor | Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
  • Book Review Editor | American Annals of the Deaf
  • Principal Reviewer | Journal of Educational Psychology
  • Editorial Board Member | Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability; American Annals of the Deaf; Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
  • Member | Advisory Board of School Psychology Forum; Student with Disabilities Assessment Advisory Task Force for the Council of Chief State School Officers; Technical Advisory Committee for the National Center on Educational Outcomes; Technical Advisory Committee for ELPA21 Assessment Consortium at UCLA; Advisory Committee of Assessment of English Language Learners for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium

Kent Turner

Photo of Kent Turner

Kent Turner brings more than five years of experience in classroom instruction and curriculum design. Gamification, the process of adding game-design elements to school curriculums, is his passion and he wrote his thesis on this approach at University of California, San Diego, where he received his M.A. in Bilingual Education. Wielding a Sword of Learning and Shield of Gaming, Kent’s idea of dungeon-crawling is coordinating NDC’s development of Deafverse, an educational game that allows players to make choices and navigate life as a deaf person. Deafverse continues to grow to this day, with new episodic adventures and a curriculum toolkit. On any given day, you can find Kent tinkering away at the latest innovations in gaming.