Dr. Jane Puhlman (née Messier) graduated from the School of Communication Science and Disorders at Florida State University in 2015. Jane’s specific area of interest is the language literacy development of children with hearing loss. She has been investigating topics related to children with hearing loss such as; the family role, itinerate teacher knowledge and practices, and effective vocabulary interventions. In the fall of 2014, she began a position as an associate professor at Edinboro University in Edinboro, Pennsylvania.
Messier, J. & Jackson, C.W. (2014). A comparison of phonemic and phonological awareness in educators working with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. American Annals of the Deaf, 159(1), 522-538.
Jane’s dissertation project explored the immediate and delayed word learning in children with cochlear implants. Capitalizing on the multimedia options available in electronic storybooks, the intervention incorporated elements such as videos and illustrations to support a vocabulary intervention that includes evidence-based teaching strategies. The extent of the children’s word learning was assessed using three assessment tasks that require an increasing level of word understanding; receptive pointing, expressively labeling and word defining. The children demonstrated greater immediate word learning gains for words taught in the treatment condition compared to those in the comparison condition. In addition, the children’s performance on delayed post-test vocabulary assessments indicated better retention across receptive and expressive vocabulary tasks for words taught within the treatment condition compared to the comparison condition.
In a published study, (Messier & Jackson, 2014), the phonological awareness (PA) competency and confidence of educators working with children who are deaf or hard of hearing was explored. Performance comparisons were made between the two professional groups surveyed, Teachers of the Deaf, (TOD) (n=58) and Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) (n=51). Study results indicated that both groups of respondents demonstrated gaps in PA knowledge and skills; however, SLPS showed significantly better performance on average than TODs. Feelings of moderate confidence in skills related to teaching and assessing PA to children with hearing loss were expressed by educators. Correlations between educator demographics or levels of confidence to educator performance on PA measures did not yield significant findings. Results support the need for improved personnel preparation and PA continuing education for educators supporting literacy education of children who are d/Deaf and hard of hearing.
In a nation-wide survey sent to 174 teachers of the deaf and speech pathologists working with children who are deaf or hard of hearing, teaching and assessment strategies for targeting literacy for this population was reported. These findings were presented at the annual Pennsylvania Speech and Hearing conference in Pittsburgh, PA (April, 2014). When the educators were asked to rate helpfulness in specific literacy strategies for teaching children with hearing loss, the top rated strategies were: Visual Phonics, Fairview, Lindamood, Whole Language approaches and Earobics. In addition, the Expressive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test (45% of respondents), Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (40% of respondents), and the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (40% of respondents) were the most frequently cited assessments that are used to examine the language skills of children with hearing loss. An interesting finding developed when educators were asked to rate the level of importance to teach phonological awareness to children with hearing loss and to children with typical hearing. When using a Likert scale (1= unimportant to 5= very important), educators rated the importance for PA instruction for children with typical hearing, ,() =4.84, SD=.43) significantly higher than for children with hearing loss, (=4.38, SD=.96), t(127)=5.84, p<.00. In summary, these findings suggest an inconsistent philosophy and approach to teaching literacy to children with hearing loss. Further research is needed to determine effective assessment and intervention practices.