Donald Finan

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For medical professionals in any field, it is vastly important to be culturally sensitive to one’s clients and patients. The history of audiologists, speech-language pathologists (SLPs), and the Deaf community is complicated and painful, causing distrust towards medical professionals among many Deaf people. There is little research looking into the area of awareness of Deaf culture among practicing audiologists and SLPs. Select studies into this area, that focused on other medical professionals, have shown that many clinicians have had experience with American Sign Language (ASL) and the Deaf community, but there is still a lack of important knowledge and discomfort when interacting with the Deaf community. The goal of this project was to discover how aware of Deaf culture the students studying audiology or speech-language pathology at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) are. This project used a survey that was sent out to students through Qualtrics. Data was collected in a two-week timeframe. Quantitative analyses were done on survey results utilizing Qualtrics software. These areas of growth are discussed, recommending information to the deans and professors of the CSD program about what needs to be taught to audiology and speech-language pathology students at UNC to increase the cultural sensitivity of future clinicians. While this study is limited to data from one school, it adds valuable information to the fields of audiology and speech-language pathology in two ways: by increasing the awareness of a common gap in knowledge and sharing ways to close this gap.

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