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May 16, 2018

39th Annual Conference on Mainstreaming Students with Hearing Loss: Keynotes include Alexander, Nevins, and Gardner


May 16, 2018—Clarke Mainstream Services is thrilled to announce its keynote lineup for the 39th Annual Conference on Mainstreaming Students with Hearing Loss, which will be held on October 18 and 19, 2018. This annual conference is often praised for its outstanding content, which always includes inspiring keynotes and experts from the field of deaf education. In fact, a 2017 conference attendee shared her enthusiasm by stating, “So many great choices this year! Amazing speakers. One of the best conferences ever!”

Kicking off the two-day event on the morning of October 18th will be Mary Ellen Nevins, EdD, Professor and Director of Auditory-Based Intervention at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Nevins, who is also on the Board of Trustees for Clarke Schools for Hearing & Speech, will be delivering a talk on “Effective Communication Skills for Interprofessional Conversations: What’s in YOUR Toolkit?” Given the makeup of conference participants – professionals and parents who work to help children who are deaf or hard of hearing develop their communication skills – this topic is sure to intrigue and inspire self-reflection among attendees.

On the afternoon of October 18th, Nolan Gardner will be delivering the conference’s second keynote address. Gardner was the first Cochlear Implant recipient on the popular TV show American Ninja Warrior. As an infant, Nolan was born with a profound bilateral hearing loss and was the first child in California to receive a cochlear implant in 1995 through California Children's Services. After attending preschool at John Tracy Clinic, Nolan continued his education fully mainstreamed in the Santa Barbara public school system, and successfully graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in Communicative Disorders from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Nolan will be sharing his experiences and advice on navigating mainstream schools with a hearing loss.

On the morning of October 19th, attendees will hear the third keynote address from Rebecca Alexander, LCSW-R, MPH. Alexander is a psychotherapist who came to national prominence with the release of her book Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found, in which she shares her journey with vision and hearing loss due to Usher syndrome Type III. Alexander began losing her vision and hearing as a teenager due to Usher syndrome Type III, a rare genetic disorder. She now has just 10 degrees of vision (a normally-sighted person has 180 degrees), and is completely deaf without the use of her cochlear implants. Alexander will be sharing her story of determination to live a rich and meaningful life while achieving her goals, as well as her advice to professionals and families working with children with hearing loss. Following her talk, Alexander will be doing a book signing.

This year’s conference will be held at The Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center in Marlborough, MA. Workshops will focus on the many facets of hearing loss and its academic and social implications for learning in mainstream classrooms, along with topics related to the 2018 theme: “From Access to Achievement: Empowering Every Child to Succeed in the Mainstream.” To learn more about the conference, including the 16th Annual Making Connections! Program designed specifically for teens with hearing loss, visit the Annual Mainstream Conference page.