Grant Will Support Efforts in Deaf-Blind Education

Grant Will Support Efforts in Deaf-Blind Education

Asst. Prof. Susan Bruce (LSOE) has received a five-year grant of nearly $1.5 million from the United States Department of Education to prepare teachers to work with pupils who are deaf and blind or otherwise multiply disabled.

Asst. Prof. Susan Bruce (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
Bruce coordinates the Lynch School master's degree program in the teaching of children with severe multiple disabilities, including deaf-blindness and autism. Some 25 student-teachers currently are enrolled.

The veteran specialist in deaf-blind education said her approach to teaching has been shaped by her own experience as mother of a grown daughter with multiple disabilities.

"I bring a parent's perspective to my classes," said Bruce.

She said the federal grant is intended to address a "dire shortage" of teachers trained to work with children who are deaf and blind, autistic, or otherwise severely disabled.

Only 6 percent of children with deaf-blindness are educated by university-prepared teachers, she said, while a 244 percent increase in children identified with autism was reported between 1992 and 1998.

The grant will support some 135 students over five years, with more than 80 percent of the funds put toward student tuition costs.

"The Lynch School of Education has a long history of preparing teachers to serve students in urban settings, including the training of teachers for children with severe disabilities," she said.

"At the heart of this effort is the belief that all children learn and are entitled to well-prepared teachers who provide an inspiring curriculum."

Bruce is in her second year at Boston College. Previously she was coordinator of programs in visual impairment, deaf-blindness, and orientation and mobility at Michigan State University, where she earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees.

-Mark Sullivan


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