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Roundtable looks to help students

The Daily Nonpareil
PHIL ROONEY , Staff Writer

A shortage of signers and captioners is one of the biggest hurdles facing deaf/hard-of-hearing students in the Midwest.

That was one of many thoughts offered during a roundtable on deaf/hard-of-hearing services held Tuesday at Iowa Western Community College."The difficulty is a lot of post secondary schools (are) in a rural environment," said Ginny Chiaverina, outreach specialist for the Midwest Center for Post secondary Outreach. From her base at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she directs the center's programs in Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.Discussions and presentations focused on planning and policy suggestions that can help hearing-impaired students do more than just get by.

Among the biggest concerns for people serving hearing-impaired students are providing real-time captioning, hiring and managing sign language interpreters and how to accommodate hearing-impaired students during examinations.

"Do they get extra time?" Chiaverina asked. "The law is never black and white."More signers and captioners are needed, she said, but the requirements for those needed to work in post secondary education are high.This was the 17th roundtable she has held in eight years of managing her part of the federal grant-funded program and the third to be held in Iowa, Chiaverina said. Another part of her work on the grant is hosting workshops to help people develop the skills needed to help the hearing-impaired, she said."We're trying to increase the number of skill people available," Chiaverina said.

The IWCC roundtable was attended by about 20 people, mostly from post secondary schools in Iowa or local agencies that serve the deaf.

©Daily Nonpareil 2004



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