Episode 30 Show Notes

(Read the episode transcript below)

On episode 30 of All Ears at Child’s Voice: A Hearing Loss Podcast, Haley and Wendy are joined by Dr. Maribeth Lartz. Dr Lartz is a Professor Emerita, Illinois State University Deaf/Hard of Hearing Program. She has a B.S. & M.A. in Deaf Education from The University of Texas at Austin and Ph.D. in Early Childhood Special Education, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is also the Principal Investigator/Director of multiple U.S. Department of Education personal training grants. Dr. Lartz has trained hundreds of Teachers of the Deaf at Illinois State University.

Dr. Lartz shares her experiences, growing up in a family with hearing loss and sign language. She talks about the journey and transformation in Deaf Education from the 80’s until now. Dr. Lartz gives insight on what has changed for children with hearing loss and what she hopes for the future of Deaf Education.

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Alexia:

Welcome to All Ears at Child’s Voice, a podcast discussing all things hearing loss. We aim to connect parents of children with hearing loss with the professionals who serve them. I’m Alexia and I am the Early Intervention and Audiology assistant at Child’s Voice. My favorite thing about Child’s Voice is watching the kid’s speech progress throughout the school year.

We are so happy to announce that our annual golf event is returning to the outdoors!

Join us for our Golf Outing on Tuesday, June 8, at Arrowhead Golf Club, 25W151 Butterfield Road, Wheaton.

Help a child with hearing loss learn to listen, to speak, and to succeed, all while having a great time on the course!

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And now, to start the show!

Haley:

Welcome to All Ears at Child’s Voice, a podcast discussing all things, hearing loss. We aim to connect parents of children with hearing loss, with professionals who serve them. I’m Haley Gubbins and I’m one of the new co-hosts

Wendy :

And I’m Wendy Deters today on the show we talked to Dr. Maribeth Lartz. Dr. Lartz is professor emerita at Illinois State University in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program. She has a Bachelor’s of Science and a Master’s of arts in Deaf Education from the University of Texas at Austin and PhD in Early Childhood Special Education from the university of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She is also the principal investigator and director of multiple US Department of Education personnel training grants. Dr. Lartz has trained hundreds of deaf educators at Illinois State University. She’s an incredible wealth of knowledge, and we are so excited to be talking with her today. Dr. Lartz. Thank you so much for joining us.

Maribeth:

Well, thank you for having me, Wendy. It’s so fun because the two people that are also on with us were students of mine. And then of course, Wendy, you and I have been teaching together for many years, working together at ISU. So it’s, it’s fun seeing everybody again.

Haley :

It’s really good to see you too. I’m very excited. So before we jump into our main discussion, we like asking our guests every week for a story from the past week. It could be anything, something cute, something funny, something heartwarming. Does anything come to mind?

Maribeth:

Yes, actually. I got my COVID vaccine today, my first one and actually I had spent close to two hours trying to get one. And this morning I was doing that and I signed up in Springfield, Illinois. I got on and I was like, okay, I’m doing it. I’m driving down there tomorrow. And then this afternoon in the car, I get a call from my local Walgreens. I forgot I had put my name on there saying, “Hey, can you come in today at three? We have a cancellation.” So that was, that was my excitement today. Both my husband and I got our first COVID vaccine shots at 3:00 PM today. Yay.

Haley :

That’s awesome.

Wendy :

Exciting. So you didn’t have to go to Springfield.

Maribeth:

No, so we were ready to go. I said, okay. Instead of date night, we’re going to have date morning and drive to Springfield and get our shots and go out to eat somewhere and sit in the car if we can’t go into the restaurant, but now it’s worked out perfectly. So I’m really excited about that.

Wendy :

Awesome. Good. Oh, we’re excited for you.

Haley :

Very exciting.

Wendy :

So we want to kind of start at the beginning. You have such a rich career in Deaf Education. So we’re gonna start like at how you personally got started in Deaf Ed.

Maribeth:

Yes. Well, I was so fortunate to literally be born into it because my mother’s parents were both deaf and my mother was an only child, so she was a CODA and she is hearing. My mother now is 92. So this was a very long time ago. And my grandmother lived in the same town. My grandfather had passed away, but my grandmother lived in the same Texas town as us. And we saw her almost every day and after she had a stroke, when she was 80, she moved in with us. And so I saw her every day growing up every single day until she passed away when I was a junior in high school. And my grandparents were both used sign language to communicate. And so did my mother and, my grandparents were very active in the deaf club in our town. At that time, because we had no social media, no computers and no phones and anything like that many adults who were deaf, they would come together and these deaf clubs they called it. Now we don’t have that as much because people can connect in so many other ways. But when I was growing up, like almost every weekend, my grandmother was involved with deaf club and once a month it was a really big deal. And we would go to a lot of these things. And it was treasured experiences. They would play dominoes and they would have business meetings and they would decide what events they were going to have. And it was just a beautiful thing. And my mom was involved and I was involved. And so I had a very beautiful experience growing up that way and being able to communicate fluently with my grandparents and my grandmother actually, cause my grandfather died much earlier. Then my mother had also been a teacher of the deaf for two years at the Oklahoma school for the deaf, because, at that time it was during world war two and very interesting. Most all deaf children were educated in schools, state schools for the deaf at that time. And my mother was drafted as a 19 year old to be a teacher because most of the teachers at that time at the schools for the deaf were male CODAs and they were fluent in sign and they, they would teach. That was pretty much the whole teaching staff were these hearing men that were sons of deaf parents and they all had to go to war. So they were all drafted for World War II. So my mom, I mean almost anyone who knew sign was just, “Hey, do you want to be a teacher?” And mom took like three classes. And then she was a teacher for two years during the war. And so I just always had experience. My grandfather was a house parent at the Oklahoma School for the deaf. And they both went to the Texas School for the Deaf that’s where my grandparents met. So I always just been around it. And then when I went to college, I’m kind of on that cusp of where you could either be a secretary, a nurse or a teacher, and we were just kind of moving into, “Hey, if you want to work in business, you have to wear like a suit and a bow tie and look try to be this power person with some kind of strange outfit.” And I remember thinking I love education and I think I could really be good at this because I’m not freaking out about it. Like a lot of people are trying to figure out what to do. So that’s truly how I got, got into it. And then it was very interesting because I went to the University of Texas at Austin. I did almost most all of my practicum and student teaching at the Texas School for the Deaf. And so it was, it just came full circle because that’s where my grandparents had met. So I had that great experience growing up and learning everything I could at that time. I, I thought I was just participating, but I realized now that it was setting the foundation for the rest of my professional life.

Haley :

That’s such a like rich way to get into it. That is not at all how I got into it, but it’s so cool to hear like how it started with your grandparents and then it was your mom and how that moved through generations. So when you started in the Deaf Education field at this time what did it look like? When did it start to change into what it is now? Like have you seen a drastic change from when you started in the Deaf Education field?

Maribeth:

Well, I think for me, I had such a limited scope of deaf education, because of growing up. And then when I went to the University of Texas, it was all signing program. We did everything at the Texas School for the Deaf. So I had a very small lens of what Deaf Education looked like. And I just assumed that that was Deaf Education. And truly, I had heard about LSL schools, of course at that time called oral schools, but both my mother and grandmother and many of my grandmother’s friends, because the way technology was back then, and we didn’t have what we have now. They had some very negative experiences and my mother who was always signing because her parents both sign when she was a teacher that at that point that the schools for the deaf, we’re not signing when my mother was a teacher, but my mother would say at night, they would all go into the dorm rooms and everybody was signing. And so I had this kind of a warped sense of sign is good and everything else is bad just because, those were their perceptions and their experiences, but it was also at a time when my grandmother was born deaf, she had nothing until she didn’t go to school until she was nine years old, because at that time there was only the schools for the Deaf and we were living five hours from the school for the Deaf. And so they’d have to put my grandmother on a train. I mean, it’s just beyond how anybody got educated. And so I just had a, beautiful view, but my view was very limited. And so when I started at ISU in the 70s, until the 70s ISU had been primarily what they called an oral program, and then total communication came on the scene. And so in the 70s, early 70s at ISU at the laboratory schools, everything switched to Total Communication programming. So when I started in the early 80s, it was completely how it was set up was if, if you could not be in the classroom and you were not able to learn through listening and spoken language only, and lots of children in there that were hard of hearing, or they had progressive losses. They were had late developing hearing loss. They actually had to separate classrooms. They had the signing, and then they had for the children that did not need sign support. And the program was huge because in those days in Illinois, and in many States, we had these huge regional day schools for the deaf day programs where there would be the low incidents cooperative, that had 400 students who were deaf and hard of hearing Hinsdale South high school. I had 200 and something kids with hearing loss. And so you had this huge, critical mass and at one location. So when I came there, I was like, wow, some kids with hearing loss are not signing. And I begin to kind of learn a little bit more, but truly the program was pretty much set that it was a signing program. And we didn’t really kind of look beyond that. And the programs were very large. Oh, yes go ahead.

Wendy :

I was just going to say there was such a big need for that. I mean, at that time in the 80s, cochlear implants were what, 10 years old? And big and boxy and didn’t deliver really good access to sound. That’s what was needed at the time. I think about when my parents were in school, my dad went to Lane Tech High School. He went to Bell in Chicago and Lane Tech. And when he describes to me what his schooling was like, it’s exactly like you were saying, everyone just sort of had to be put together because it was, that was the only way. So it’s interesting. It’s fascinating. I think how things have evolved and it’s so cool that you’ve been able to see, the evolution of how Deaf Ed has changed. You skipped over one little part though. When did you go to U of I?

Maribeth:

Okay. I was teaching in Texas, at a regional day school for the deaf right outside of Dallas, the Mesquite Regional Day School for the Deaf. And we had like a whole wing, there was 15 Teachers of the Deaf and we also housed 8 itinerant teachers. I mean, I never really saw them, but they had their offices and stuff. And so I taught there and then we relocated to Bloomington, Illinois because my husband is from here and he was taking over the family business. So we relocated here and I thought I was going to work at the lab school and the Deaf Education program. And when I got here that didn’t really pan out. And so I started substitute teaching there, right away and, and substitute taught at the lab school. But I was like and I even actually taught, did some student teacher supervision and things that I issue and realized that I really loved working at the university level and with college students, especially in teacher training. And so I decided to go back. So I commuted over and stayed in an apartment a couple of nights and a week. And, did that and got my doctorate because I figured that was pretty much the only way I was going to be able to stay full-time at ISU. And so I’m so glad I did that.

Haley :

We’re so glad you did that!

Maribeth :

So that opened the door for me to take that tenure line position. I’d been working there since 1983, but I took the tenure line position. So I was non tenure in 1989.

Haley :

Well, I’m glad it worked out because I got to experience you as a teacher and it was just the best experience you were so in the middle. And it was so great to get both perspectives. I know that you mentioned like you came from a signing program, but then when I was in the program, a couple of years ago, you really focused on Oral and it was just such a great way to kind of get this whole like worldly rounded, look at deaf education. And I know that I’m not the only student that feels that way. And so in in all of our experiences, if we talk about Dr. Lartz or we talked to somebody who graduated, or was in your class, everybody says, “I love Lartz. I love Lartz.” How do you form such a lasting connection with these students? Every time I call you or email you, “Oh, I’m so glad to see you. I’m so good to hear from you.” How do you do it? I mean, you’ve taught hundreds of students. You’ve seen hundreds of people go through the program.

Maribeth:

Well, I mean, we really do have the best students. I mean, at ISU Deaf Ed, it’s like the best students. So that’s one thing the students are always great. And then the other thing is I’ve had the beauty and luxury of being able to supervise all the students in the language practicum class. And so I feel like the reason we developed such relationships is I feel like I get to be a co-teacher. I mean, we’re really doing it together because I’m sitting on the floor of the preschool, or I’m sitting at the kidney-shaped table in the elementary school, or I’m sitting in the back of the room at the high school, and I’m just watching all of you teach. And the other thing is you, all of the students have been in my office going over their lesson plans and we’ve been racking our brains together, trying to figure out how can we engage this student in eighth grade who doesn’t want to do anything. And I just felt like the students let me be part of it. So I still felt like I was the teacher. And so every time I’d go in the classroom, I kind of felt like this is partly mine too. And I got to share that with the students and working side by side to develop language, I can’t really cannot imagine anything more important or more rewarding than doing that. Plus I can’t, I can’t remember anything except I can remember pretty much everybody’s junior practicum assignment and whatever their unit was. I mean, I don’t know why, but I guess, because we all just lived and breathe it through those lesson plans. And so I would go in to the classrooms and together we would be sitting and watching the students and we would all be saying, we got to get the language, we’ve got to get the language. And we did. I mean, we pulled that language. I don’t know how many times we would stay long and stay after. And then I would start clapping in the back of the room. And sometimes tears were shed. I mean, it was just very emotional because this was their first practicum. And I think they saw the possibilities and their role in developing language, which is the highest calling. I believe.

Wendy :

I think that’s such a unique perspective to have from a professor and not all professors in my experience, very few interact with their students in this way. Usually their professor is standing up in front of a room lecturing and not really forming connections with people. I didn’t have the pleasure of being one of your students, but it sounds like you really are just right there with them learning with them and being so open and so excited about what you’re doing. That that’s probably just one of the ways that you form those really strong connections with your students.

Maribeth:

Yeah, it was wonderful. It was, they would let me into this sacred space of engaging with a student and developing language. Having language that was not there when they started and it was fabulous. I’ll probably start crying as I think about it because I, I really do miss that. I really, really miss that

Wendy :

Well you’ve painted this beautiful picture of what Deaf Education is and what becoming a Deaf Educator is. But unfortunately there aren’t Deaf Ed programs at every university and we see them sort of dwindling. But how, how has ISU different? Why has the deaf ed program stayed so strong there? Why is this changing in the country? That’s a two part question. Sorry

Maribeth:

Well, one thing I did want to say is I told you that I had this very small scope of Deaf Education. What was there was accurate. It was happening. Kids were learning, uh, parents and children had wonderful relationships and it was all through sign language. And that was a great model and still is. And many students and families are using sign language and many families are choosing sign language as part of an outcome, an educational outcome. But I had been at ISU probably about 15, 15 or 16 years. And I, I had gone and learned as much as I could about implants and I’d begun on that. But I was just learning, I wasn’t really doing anything to change the program. I mean, I was an assistant professor. But I will tell you what happened about 20 years ago, a woman called me on the phone, a parent and asked me, why are you not preparing teachers to work with children who are not going to sign? And she told me this story about her son who was deaf, and he was going to what then we called an Oral School. And we now call Listening and Spoken Language. And she had not known about that opportunity either. And she, I mean, she just laid it out on the phone and I hung up the phone and I was just shaking. And I thought to myself at ISU, we pride ourselves on preparing people to teach across the state of Illinois. But I realized that we were preparing them to teach across the state in signing programs. And that woman started something. So over the next couple of years, I began to work with the Moog school and said, we need to know what is going on in this oral program, because, and in oral education, because it’s getting a bad rap. This woman called me and said, why are you not prepared hearing for this group of kids? So I began and I actually, one of my first sabbaticals I did where I would go to Moog school every Wednesday and spend Wednesday night there and come back Thursday afternoon, after that day had finished. And Karen Stein and Julia Beadonstein came, oh, I bet they came at least once every three weeks to ISU and would work with us, they would guest lecture. They would teach me everything I could learn. And Sharon Litchfield was my amazing coworker at that time and Laurie Sexton. And we would just sit and try to learn because we knew it was a skill set that had to be developed and we had to get some experiences. And so I really feel like over the past 20 years is when we really began to try to develop and not just have like one observation or like read an article about it, but I mean, actually get in these classrooms. And so that was a big change too, a real big change. So then the second part, Wendy I believe that ISU is so strong because first of all, we were large. We’ve always been in the top, like three to four in the nation, large, robust enrollment. So that really helps, but also our department respects and values the Deaf Ed program. And I don’t believe that they would ever let it go. And we had such continuity. I mean, people come into the Deaf Ed program and they don’t leave until they die or they retire because they’re gonna be 65. We have a wonderful reputation across the state and the nation, because many, many of our students fan out and they’re all over the state. We’ve got down far, far, South all the way, way North and all places in between where our grads are. We’re living on our reputation and we’re tough and we don’t put out anybody unless they’re good. And that makes for painful experiences and talks and stuff sometimes. But I believe that the two grads here on this program today will say that it was tough, but it was good. You want to get out feeling like you are ready and skilled and are worthy of being in this profession.

Haley :

Yeah, it was definitely a hard program, but when I picked Deaf Ed at ISU on a whim, I saw it and I was like, I’m going to apply. I can always change it if I don’t like it. And then I had a couple of classes and then I met you. I think your passion for language and your passion for change and teacher prep just kind of shines through what you do. And so once you’re in it, you’re in it and it was inviting and it was  almost contagious. I think there’s a video of you going “language language!”  cause you were just so excited and it just showed how passionate you were. And I think all of the grads that do come out from that program feel the same way because we had you as such a great role model. And so to kind of go off of that, what has changed the most in your 37 years plus in this field? Because your views on communication modality kind of ranges you started in that sign and then you kind of shifted to this Listening and Spoken Language and that’s super admirable and you’re very open-minded about it. So where does that come from and how did that change over the 37 plus years in the field?

Maribeth:

Well, I think a lot of it started with that woman called me 20 years ago and I had gotten my doctorate in Early Childhood Special Ed. I had my own children, but until I really began to explore and feel that woman’s pain and need, I realized I’ve been picking, what’s going to happen to all of these children. I’ve been promoting what’s going to happen. So we began to say, okay, we want to provide a lot of information on as many modalities and languages as we can. And so, there’s a lot of Cued Speech information that comes through. We’ve done visits down there. We’ve just tried to do a lot of education on the different systems and then having respect and value and trying to make the perspective be what are the parents wanting? What will the parents use? How can we develop these relationships, communicative relationships between families and their children. And so then that just guides you. If this family says we want to do American sign language, this family says, we want to do Cued Speech, this family, then we have a right and an obligation to show. Now we can’t be in depth experts at all of those, but I feel like we can be a surface level for most of them and end up for wherever you could get the practicum. And then the teachers are going to be on their own to know more. And I mean, both of you had experiences and ended up at Child’s Voice, but you also had other experiences teaching experiences and  practicum. And so I just feel like that’s, that’s the way we need to go. Because we need to honor the parents. And then that brings me into all the work that Wendy and I did on the, the grants that ISU was awarded and then our good friend Tracy Mehan and that helped us out. We were a great team if I do say so myself and again, I was learning because I had never actually done Early Intervention. And so Wendy, the queen of Early Intervention and Tracy, I mean we just, and again, it was hard. We were hard, we had high expectations and we tried to share everything. I mean, it was beautiful. And I think that ISU was continually awarded those grants because we put out quality and we put out a of people into the Early Intervention system and deaf and hard of hearing the Developmental Therapist hearing there is such a shortage, even now after all of the, the professionals we’ve put out, there’s still a shortage, but before we had our grants, I mean, Wendy can attest. There was like a handful of people that were really doing it consistently. And that meant children were on the waiting list with their language, just sitting out in the front step and they had no way to access it because the parents didn’t understand it.

Wendy :

I think to put, to put it into perspective for everyone just to give a little background, the grants that Maribeth is describing. So she created these amazing teacher preparation programs through the Department of Ed, got these incredible grants to train Speech, Language Pathologists, audiologists, and Teachers of the Deaf to work in Early Intervention with children, with hearing loss, with a focus on Listening and Spoken Language. And I don’t know all of the work that went into how you created those. I know it was immense, but after sort of taking the pulse of Illinois and what services are needed, you guys determined that there was this huge gap in services and that the providers weren’t there. So you were awarded these really incredible grants. So almost all of the people that we had as students in those programs were teachers in public schools. And then were learning these skills for Early Intervention. And as Tracy always talked about the paradigm shift, we’re sort of moving from more of a Total Communication, teaching style to working in early intervention, using Listening and Spoken Language, if that’s what the parent chose. Because they kind of already had that good TC background. We had to teach Early Intervention and we had to teach Listening and Spoken Language. And it was really hard for some of the students, but you again, did such a nice job of being open and allowing that paradigm shift to develop over time and have just like really good open conversations. What do you think allowed you to do that, to continue growing like that as a professional, who has you at that point were already teaching for what, 25, 30 years? So how do you do that? How do we as we age and get into our careers continue to be open to growing?

Maribeth:

Well, I think I just began to see that we were preparing students, at ISU, they would come and that the teaching licensure is from 3 to 21. And like, we all know now 3, you might as well be 80 if you’re not getting good professional input and education. And if the parents don’t know anything. And so I was like, what’s happening from birth to 3? So I put together a lot of like focus groups around the state and we talked to people and the supervisors were all saying, “Hey, families are coming to us saying we need some Listening and Spoken Language programming.” And then the teachers were like, yeah, we’re getting all like implants. And we never had any experience with that when we were at ISU or anywhere, we didn’t have the skills really. And, and still today we have very limited practicum sites. That give us the full depth of the different communication modes. And, and so I just felt like there is such a need. And again, the woman from 20 years ago, I kept hearing her in my mind and saying, okay, we have got to get to that birth to 3 gap. And I think that’s how it started. And I think we had such good statistics from all those focus groups and the surveys that, that kind of really helped write that first grant. And then once they saw how many people we were putting through and how highly it was rated, it made it easier to get the subsequent ones. And that was just that a lot of people say they have a midlife crisis. I had a midlife, but it was the most exciting midlife crisis ever because it was a professional midlife crisis. And so finally I felt like once, or for all, we’re actually meeting birth to 21, If you were enrolled in that grant and got that special birth to three, I mean, I just felt like, okay, I’ve done a lot as much as I can to meet all that age range. So let’s just hope we can keep it, keep it going. We just have to keep people wanting to learn and, and wanting to do things. So

Haley :

I think I went into your office before I even graduated asking if I think I’ve texted you a couple of times throughout the years about that grant. And I know that there’s been some pushback from the state, so I was really sad. One of these days, one of these days I’ll get in there because yeah, I definitely we’re seeing it now. I’m teach those three-year-olds and sometimes it’s like, Oh, but if we would’ve just been able to do a little bit more like when they were younger and I think birth to 3 is so important. And Wendy, I know you do so much

Maribeth:

That one year Haley when we didn’t have funding. And that was, I think, would have been the ideal year for you, but there’s a grant running right now that  it’s actually preparing DTH as Developmental Therapist Hearing and Developmental Therapist Vision with speech pathology because the federal government, the department of ed is doing everything interdisciplinary now. But those folks were really learning together. I left that when I retired, but the grant is still going on and there’ll be another cohort. So that’s something else that, yeah, that’s exciting. And that’s still going on.

Haley :

Well, yeah, with that, what do you think the future of Deaf Education looks like? You just mentioned that they’re trying to be more interdisciplinary, which I think is such a big push right now, especially with just the, the students we see coming in. It’s not necessarily just hearing loss or we need to address it in a different way. Maybe cultural backgrounds play a role into it. And so what do you think the future of Deaf Education and teacher preparation programs look like?

Maribeth:

Well, I hope that we keep the ones that we have. We’ve lost an alarming number of state teacher preparation programs. I mean, there’s like 21 States that do not have a single teacher preparation program. In-depth education.

Wendy :

Why, what happened?

Maribeth :

Well, one of the things it’s very expensive because now the one thing is that there’s not very many positives from COVID, but one, I think will be that we are going to realize that we do not have to drive to Champaign, Illinois to do a visit at a school. And I don’t have to drive to Wood Dale to do a visit to supervise a student teacher or a practicum student. And we know that now because of Zoom and how none of us drive anywhere anymore, we do everything through Zoom. So I’m hoping that that’s going to cut the supervision bill in half. And that’s one of the main things, because Deaf Ed programs are so spread out and there’s a wonderful thing about children being educated in their homeschool. I mean, that’s what many, many parents want. And the flip or the downside of that, and only just selfishly the downside is that then you have to travel miles and miles and miles to go see different students. And so actually the transportation was a huge problem. You just can’t see that many people. And also know historically enrollment has been very low in the sensory disability programs in both Vision and Deaf. And so they just don’t bring as much money in now. We’ve been fortunate for the most part at ISU to have fairly robust enrollment, but I think overall teacher education is down and Special Education enrollment is down and therefore Deaf Education enrollment is going to be down. But I do hope that with this possibility to do more remote supervision and remote training, that we will be able to build that back up. And I’m hoping that maybe other states could even re-institute their programs because actually Illinois at one point had five Deaf Ed programs. The U of I and Champaign had a program when I moved here had still had their program. Steven Quickly had started a program at the UI and, Murray, which has been the most recent to go, but there was probably many programs and now we’re the only one and we’re strong and doing well, but I just really hope that the other states can stop the closures. And then maybe some that don’t have any, we’ll be able to bring back. I mean, for example, there’s no teacher prep program in Iowa and Wisconsin just Louisiana. They don’t have a single Deaf Ed program. I mean, it’s just beyond me because we’ve always had such a strong and with multiple faculty that I can’t even imagine not having a program to meet the needs of the children and the families.

Wendy :

Yeah. That’s interesting that you’re, you’re talking about distance learning. I feel like I should point out that you were like the pioneer of distance learning because I am sure you remember the beginning of the grants when we had a cohort at Northern and Southern and we taught on Google hangout. It was ridiculous. I wouldn’t.

Maribeth:

And remember how you would always have to like talk me off the ledge and you’d be texting me. Okay. Look on the right side of that. I mean, I didn’t even have a Google account. I didn’t even know what that was. And Wendy’s like, “you have to, because that’s the only way you can get the camera to turn on.” And I’m like, what? And so yes. Think of all the changes just because I had you and Tracy there to like lead me down the way. Thank Kevin’s. I’ve always worked with such collaborative people  that we’ve always brought out the best in each other. I’ve been so fortunate. ISU they’re just so collaborative and yeah, wonderful, wonderful place to work.

Wendy :

I think the lesson in that is like, you created this thing with a vision that like, I think this could work. I think this could happen. And maybe all the details weren’t there and maybe we spent a lot of money on technology whereas today it’s like, all you need is a phone, but you put it out there and you created this thing without every single detail and it still worked. So I, I feel like there’s a really valuable lesson in that for other educators. And I mean, really,

Maribeth:

That’s a really good point because that adage of you build the plane while you’re flying it. And I definitely think we were doing that with the grants and with the beginnings to look into starting practicum sites for LSL placements and things. But I guess my thing is I want to encourage people. I had never even been in Early Intervention. I had a lot of training. I mean, I had my doctorate, so I worked with tons of families and kids through college and through my doctoral program. But I had never like knocked on the door and said, “I’m here to work with your family.” And if I hadn’t had Wendy and Tracy to do that, they had actually been in the trenches. So yes, I encourage people have the dream, see the need and then go find people to work with. I mean, otherwise, if we all try to do it by ourselves, we’re never going to get anything done. But when we come together we can build the plane while we’re flying it. And we did, I didn’t know anything about technology. Y’all knew all of that. So yeah, that’s a great thing, Wendy, to remind us of that, we need to just have that vision and then go find the people to work with to make that happen.

Wendy :

Yeah. And then the people need to trust the person flying the plane. So luckily we had you to fly the plane as we were building it.

Maribeth:

Yeah. I had like three co-pilots and I would go, I was going on a break and the copilots were like taking over. But yeah, that was great times.

Haley :

I feel like that’s the nature of Deaf Ed though, or Early Intervention. Let’s try it. Let’s get a group of us who have you specialties in this area. I have specialties in this area. Let’s figure it out. And so, yeah. I just feel like that’s the nature of what we do and we always do it because we know it’s best for the kid. We know it’s best for the family. And you got to trust the process.

Maribeth:

Yes, absolutely. And I love how I feel like more in-depth than maybe other places, but we’re not like competitive and like, I wanna, I know more than you and I don’t want to tell you that. I mean, we pretty much lay out and say, “I don’t know that much about Autism, but I’ve got several children I think that are coming through that may have hearing loss and Autism. And I need to know more about that”, There’s going to be somebody that knows something about what you’re interested in and it’s just a matter of knocking on the door or texting or calling. And I find that people are also when we’re all focused on what we want and that is to improve the language and literacy skills for all of our students, then people are willing to work with other people because most people in our field want that more than anything. So that’s good. It’s a great model.

Wendy :

I think I cut off part of Haley’s question of where you think the field of deaf ed is going. So can you, I know you talked about distance learning. What else do you think is going to change over the next 5, 10, 20 years in deaf education?

Maribeth:

Well, I know one thing that I hope changes and that is that I know one of the questions that was on the email was what are some of the real challenges for teaching and at the university level. And one of them is I would talk about best practice and what we need to do to develop language and the best approaches evidence-based, but then we send them out and depending on where they end up for practicum or for student teaching, they may not be seen that in practice. And I just feel like there’s many children that are underserved and for a variety of reasons. They don’t know what is available and what is best practice, but financial situation, the parents are unsure, whatever myriad of reasons, but that is always been a challenge, and how can we bring everyone along so that everyone has the vision and doesn’t give up on the vision. So that’s something that I that’s always been in the back of my mind. How can we make sure that everybody has all of the information and can use that in their education with children?

Haley :

That’s interesting that you say that because I’m currently getting my masters through ISU right now. And one of the biggest issues I’m running into is evidence-based practices for children, with hearing loss and especially children with hearing loss and additional needs. That has been like the biggest roadblock for me to carry out all of this research. And I love that you said that because yes, as an educator, I’m still a young one this only year four, but I don’t see it, or I don’t know, or I don’t know how to even start. And so that is a wonderful thing to put focus on because I definitely think it’s needed, in our field. And I hope that that is becomes more common practice to look for evidence-based practice and have that research background.

Maribeth:

Yes. And that’s, that has always been a problem with low-incidence disabilities is we just don’t have the research and the evidence because our numbers are so small and we’re so spread out that it’s hard to have some of that, but you, Haley are getting in multiple disabilities and Anna Tess is doing something with a focus on multiple disabilities. I mean, people are, we just need to find our people. We need to go to our state conferences, we need to do podcasts like this. We need to share the word because there’s other people out there that can also help with this. And I, I’m hoping that we’ll see some good research come from this younger generation of teachers coming up that know we have to get the evidence so that we can use these strategies efficiently and appropriately with our students.

Wendy :

Yeah. I think your analogy of flying the plane as we’re building it as a really good one for all of Deaf Education, because the technology has moved so quickly and we’ve been able to keep up and we know what works, and then we have to work backwards to provide the evidence for that, which is not the way science should work as we all know, but we really haven’t had another choice. And there are so many variables. And like you said, the numbers are so low. I think that that’s something we’re finding, we’re part of the Option Schools, the Listening and Spoken Language Data Repository, that’s now housed at the University of Miami. And we’re hoping that there’s some really good research that’s going to come out of all of that, but something like that had to be built in order to aggregate the data from across the country. Because like you said, we’re not big enough. So hopefully as technology continues to improve distance learning and communicating across the country, like you said, maybe one of the positive things that comes out of COVID maybe we’ll, we’ll see some really great research coming out of, of that collaborative too

Maribeth:

Well and also mean you, you teachers probably have some good ideas that have worked and you’re passionate about something. And I feel like now with all of the different technology and Zoom and all these podcasts, that if you’re passionate about something and you’ve studied and you’ve got some database of some kind,  it’s not like you’re saying, “Oh, let’s try this”, but you’ve really looked at it. I bet there’s 10 other people in Illinois that are also interested in it. So I, I visualize maybe these small little tutorials or, I mean, I think gone are the days where we’re going to sit for three hours, two times a week. And I just, I think we’re moving away from that. I think it’s going to have to be smaller chunks from people that are passionate and knowledgeable about a specific practice in deaf education and then get other people. And I think that’s going to be a great way. And I mean, you’re already doing it with these podcasts, I think. And I think you could take some of your listeners and send some things out and say, “Hey, we’re going to do a mini lesson on or a mini lecture on working with children with Autism and something.” If you’ve got the passion and you’ve got the knowledge, then you just need to find the people to work with. So I feel good. A lot of people are gloom and doom because things are closing, but I feel like we’re going to be able to take advantage of all of this online and the passion that still exists. The passion has not gone away. The desire for our students to have the best possible outcomes have not gone away. So we just need to find a group of people to work together and it can be a small group. So that’s what I’d like to really encourage people with is to, state your passion, as they say at ISU all the time, state your passion, and then find a few people to do it wit some accountability partners and, and do it. Don’t, don’t wait anymore. It’s kinda like,  that I’m going to buy a treadmill and six months goes by and I’m going to buy, just buy the darn treadmill and start just do it.

Wendy :

Is there any one last piece of advice? And then we can wrap up.

Maribeth:

I don’t know what my last big piece of advice is other than what I’ve been saying. I’m just realizing it’s more, it’s just finding a few people that are as passionate as and knowledgeable about that area, because that’s the only way real change is going to, I don’t think we can wait for the school districts to come up with something or with the federal government to come up with a new IDEA disability category, or, I mean, I think we’re just gonna have to start doing some things on our own and solving the problems ourselves using evidence and research and and passion and knowledge. I mean, I’m not suggesting to just go off and do something wild and crazy without any kind of research backing, but I just think we can’t wait for the textbook to come out about X, Y, and Z. If we have those students in our classes right now, we need to start doing something now. And we all know the most important thing is language and communication. So I just visualize a bunch of people sitting at a table and there’s a little circle in the middle that says language, and then we have to start figuring out, okay, with this particular student or this particular group of students, how do we get that? And then be building that plane as we’re flying it every day just doing it. I don’t really have another other advice than that!

Wendy :

Oh, that’s pretty, pretty fantastic. Right?

Haley :

Profound. Yeah. It’s pretty profound, but you just said.

Maribeth:

Well, don’t you think it’s true? I mean, really, I just realized all the classes we’ve had, I assume, and I’ve taught, it really comes down to you having a problem you need to solve so that your student can develop language and communication. And how do you do that? Certainly you’re gonna read textbooks and you’re gonna watch podcast and listen to lectures about it, but it really comes down to what you are passionate about, and what students you, you want to solve a problem for.

Wendy :

Well, I think that’s a really great piece of advice to, to end on, we’ve learned so much from you, Maribeth, and we’re really excited to have all of our listeners learn from you as well. Hope a lot of them I’m sure are your former students. But we hope that even more people now have the opportunity to have learned from you. And we’re really grateful for that. So thank you so much for being here.

Maribeth:

Thank you for the opportunity.

Haley :

Yes. Thank you so much. And thank you for joining us for another episode of All Ears at Child’s Voice. Be sure to join us for our next episode. We release episodes once monthly,

Wendy :

You can follow us and this podcast on our new Instagram with the handle at child’s voice podcast, make sure you check it out. It’s really great.

Haley :

We love to hear from you. So please send us an email at podcast@childsvoice.org, and you can find episodes, show notes and archived episodes at our Child’s Voice website, childsvoice.org.

Wendy:

And if you’re interested in learning more about Child’s Voice, we’re on Facebook as well as Twitter with the handle at Childs_voice. No apostrophe.

Haley :

Thanks for listening. Bye bye.

 

Wendy:

Bye!

 

Children:

Bye! Thanks for listening!

 

Alexia:

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