INDIANAPOLIS—The Indiana State Department of Health has named Gayla Hutsell Guignard as the director for the Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education, set to open July 1, 2013. She currently works as a contractor for the State Health Department as the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program Director.
“We are very pleased and excited to have Ms. Guignard as the director for the Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “Her extensive experience, education and proven track record of success make her the ideal choice to lead the Center. Of course, the Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education would not be opening if it were not for the coordinated efforts of many people and organizations. I would like to thank Senator Pete Miller, former Representative Cindy Noe and Secretary Connie Lawson for working to establish the Center, as well as each member of the transition team for providing expertise and guidance.”
Ms.Guignard has a Bachelor of Science in Audiology and Speech Sciences from Purdue University and Masters Degrees in both Audiology and Speech Language Pathology from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She has 13 years of experience as an instructor of speech-language pathology, audiology and deaf education at UT-Knoxville and served for nearly four years as the Chief Programs Director for the Alexander Graham Bell Association for Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Washington, D. C. She has worked as a contractor for the Indiana State Department of Health for the past five years. Over the course of her career, she has served on numerous related national-level committees.
“I am truly honored to accept the position as the director of the Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education,” said Gayla Hutsell Guignard. “Every child is a unique being whose own life and that of his or her family is impacted in various ways because of being deaf or hard of hearing. I am dedicated to ensuring that families receive clear, comprehensive information about all options available to them and that schools around the state receive the support they need to best educate deaf and hard of hearing students.”
The Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education was established in 2012 by House Enrolled Act 1367 and will be housed within the Indiana State Department of Health. The Center’s central office will be located on the campus of the Indiana School for the Deaf in Indianapolis. The Center will also have a presence across the state through the establishment of regional locations.
The Center will be responsible for the educational needs of all deaf and hard of hearing children in the state, including:
· tracking and monitoring individual child progress from birth through school exit
· coordination with the various state agencies involved in providing services to deaf and hard of hearing children
· training and support for both professionals and parents/guardians about all communication options
· assessment services and support of schools in meeting the needs of the children in their districts
The State Health Department will be forming a committee of stakeholders to provide guidance as the Center is created.
Each year, approximately 225 to 250 babies are born with hearing loss in Indiana; more than 90 percent of those children are born to hearing parents. The Center will act as an unbiased resource for parents/guardians to educate them about their child’s language options, including American Sign Language, Listening and Spoken Language, Signed English, Cued Speech and combinations of these options to assist families in meeting their child’s individual needs.
For more information about the Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education, visit www.IN.gov/omb.
To visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website, go to www.StateHealth.in.gov.
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