Arkansas: Raising Awareness of Educational Audiology After 17 years as an audiologist, I finally became a real educational audiologist. In August 2007 I became an employee of the Conway (Arkansas) Public Schools, the second school district in the state to employ an audiologist. I’ve contracted with this district for the past year and a half while ... School Matters
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School Matters  |   September 01, 2007
Arkansas: Raising Awareness of Educational Audiology
Author Notes
  • Donna Fisher Smiley, is an educational audiologist for the Conway (Arkansas) Public Schools and coordinator of the Educational Audiology Resource Services program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Contact her at smileyd@conway.afsc.k12.ar.us.
    Donna Fisher Smiley, is an educational audiologist for the Conway (Arkansas) Public Schools and coordinator of the Educational Audiology Resource Services program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Contact her at smileyd@conway.afsc.k12.ar.us.×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / School Matters
School Matters   |   September 01, 2007
Arkansas: Raising Awareness of Educational Audiology
The ASHA Leader, September 2007, Vol. 12, 30. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM3.12132007.30
The ASHA Leader, September 2007, Vol. 12, 30. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM3.12132007.30
After 17 years as an audiologist, I finally became a real educational audiologist. In August 2007 I became an employee of the Conway (Arkansas) Public Schools, the second school district in the state to employ an audiologist. I’ve contracted with this district for the past year and a half while a faculty member of a local university, so I am not unknown to the students and teachers. But I will now be able to devote time and energy to my professional passion—serving students and teachers in the school setting.
In spring 2006, Conway Public Schools decided to place sound-field amplification systems in all kindergarten and first-grade classrooms. I was asked to contract with the school district to install the systems and provide training to school personnel. In the process, I established relationships with school personnel and spoke with them about school-based audiology services.
As the word slowly spread that I was providing educational audiology services, school district personnel asked me to attend conferences related to students who are deaf and hard of hearing, to provide professional development, and to work with students who have personal FM systems. Patience and perseverance finally paid off—a position was created; I applied for it and was hired.
Many audiology services can be provided in the schools, but at the very least, an educational audiologist is needed to assist with the technology that is available to both students with normal hearing and those with hearing loss. An audiology colleague said that he loves being able to provide children with top-of-the-line technology for their hearing needs—but at the same time, it is hard for him to feel good about the technology when he knows these children most likely will return to a school where no one knows how to use it to help maximize positive outcomes for students. Schools need to recognize the necessity of audiology services.
For me the focus of the 2007–2008 school year will be developing and raising awareness of a new school-based audiology program. I feel a responsibility to continue to prove the need for educational audiology services—especially in a state where few districts employ or even contract with an audiologist.
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September 2007
Volume 12, Issue 13