City, University of London’s Language & Communication Science Division enters the final phase of DOTDeaf, a 2-year project to encourage collaboration between speech and language therapists and Deaf language specialists
City, University of London’s Language & Communication Science Division is entering the final phase of DOTDeaf, a 2-year project to encourage collaboration between speech and language therapists (SLTs) and Deaf language specialists (DLS). Through the project online learning modules are being developed for a course about language therapy in signed language for these two groups of professionals.
DOTDeaf is funded by Erasmus+, and originated from a PhD study. This showed that DLSs and SLTs wanted to collaborate on language therapy to support children who are struggling to develop language but needed a way to bridge their different skills and backgrounds. The online course responds to this: SLTs learn more about deaf culture and signed language, and DLSs gain a deeper understanding of language development and language difficulties.
The project involves international partners based in the UK, Spain and Portugal, with support from an additional partner in Brazil.
In each team people who are Deaf and hearing people from language therapy, education, and research backgrounds work together to develop, adapt and interpret the course content and delivery. This has highlighted the different challenges within deaf education in each country, and the differences in the professional role of people who are deaf working with children who sign.
Each partner will complete at least two modules in their written and signed languages within the project lifespan. These modules and associated learning will be shared at workshops in each project country and at an online International Conference planned for June 2021 to share learning and resources more widely.
Reflecting on the project and how it has had to adapt to the unexpected challenges of Covid-19, DOTDeaf Project Research Fellow, Dr Joanna Hoskin of City, University of London, said:
“Through the project we came to understand that educational provision and the roles of SLTs in our project countries vary widely depending on the countries’ attitude to signed languages and their Deaf community.
The escalation of the Covid-19 pandemic and the switch to virtual interaction in almost every area of our lives has highlighted the importance of online learning. We have adapted so that the piloting of module content now takes place remotely, and our project partners have worked hard to overcome the challenges of working with three written (and spoken) languages and three signed languages, and to ensure the learning is accessible for deaf and hearing people.”
At the end of the project the completed modules will be made freely available to SLTs and DLSs. We anticipate these shared learning opportunities will increase future co-working and collaboration.