UA audiologist provides support group for hearing-impaired teens05/12/2014
The University of Akron’s School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology is partnering with the educational service centers in Summit and Medina counties to provide a support group for hearing-impaired teens called HIT IT! (Hearing-Impaired Teens Interacting Together).
HIT IT! provides a nonthreatening environment in which hearing-impaired middle school and high school students can communicate and learn about hearing loss, technology, coping strategies, and the transition to work, college and independent living.
Carrie Spangler, founder of the support group and educational audiology clinician at UA, says she wanted to provide hearing-impaired teens the opportunities she lacked while growing up.
“The motivation for the support group was my own personal experience of living life with a hearing loss,” she says. “Attending a mainstream school, I did not have the opportunity to meet other students who were ‘in my shoes’ and had hearing loss. In addition, I did not understand the communication barriers of my hearing loss and how to successfully advocate for my own hearing and listening needs. Professionally, I chose the field of audiology so that I could make a positive impact on the lives of children and individuals who have hearing loss.”
The support group had its first meeting at the Summit County Educational Service Center on April 11, where participants discussed educational topics related to hearing loss and communication, advocacy, leadership and teambuilding, and took part in a variety of social-emotional support activities, Spangler says.
Spangler and graduate students in speech-language pathology and audiology will collaborate with school districts in Summit and Medina counties over the next year, she adds.
“Students with hearing loss know that there are many people with hearing loss, but they may never actually meet them. They feel like they are alone and wish they had just one other person to talk to and connect with. Having a support group is a great way for teens with hearing loss to come together and talk about what life is like with hearing loss and how they overcame certain obstacles and what they found worked or did not work for them,” Spangler says.
Those interested in participating or learning more can contact Spangler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story by Nicholas Nussen
Media contact: Sarah Cupples, 330-972-7429 or email@example.com.