100% of 1 Students
So first of all, I want to welcome you to the wonderful specialty area of being a speech-language pathologist within Deaf education. I am currently a speech-language pathologist at an elementary school for Deaf and hard-of-hearing students. It is located on Gallaudet University's campus. We serve students from birth (we have a parent-infant program) to the eighth grade. We are a bilingual program. This means that all academics and school-related functions and activities (yes, this includes after-school activities, IEP meetings, staff meetings, professional development, etc.) are in American Sign Language and written English. The development of spoken English skills are encouraged but not required.
I provide my students with a large variety of services. This includes producing spoken English (articulation, grammar), listening (this is a specialized skill that I do borrow some auditory-verbal techniques with students working on this skill), speechreading (this is both receptive and expressive), language in general (including ASL development), vocabulary (in spoken English, ASL, and/or written English), social skills (in English and/or ASL), life skills (in English and/or ASL), AAC, and literacy. It is just dependent on the student and the family's goals for their child. I also do a lot of collaboration with my school's ASL specialist and school psychologist.
So to answer your question, you 100% can work in the field of speech-language pathology in a Deaf space. We are a small area of our field and we need graduate students who are passionate about supporting deaf and hard-of-hearing students using a visual language.
I have some advice for you: Do not let your professors influence your passion and look for a graduate program that has a positive and open-minded view of collaborating with professionals within Deaf education. In other words, does the school's deaf education masters program support signing or is it an oral only approach? Ask the graduate program if there are opportunities to intern at the local school for the Deaf. My graduate program did not have a lot of resources for me and so I created my own independent study classes in collaboration with the ASL department. This opened up a conversation with my supervisors about finding clinic placements that matched my passion. In addition, find your local Deaf community. It will only improve your signing skills and will get you involved in the community. I would also highly recommend looking into Gallaudet University's graduate program. I was very intimidated to apply due to my signing skill level at the time, but I have since learned on the job that all speech-language classes are in English and they have mandatory ASL classes for all students in order to support the development of their skills.
Feel free to reach out to me for any other questions about this area in our field. It is wonderfully challenging. There are no ready-made materials and almost no teachers-pay-teachers printable activities for this area. It involves a lot of critical thinking and creativity and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has a spark of an interest and passion for the population.
I also want to leave you a link to a wonderful resource: https://languagefirstlab.com/ The woman who runs this website is a very talented SLP from the American School for the Deaf. Her instagram is full of wonderful resources as well.
I hope I answered your questions and, again, feel free to message me directly with any additional questions.
100% of 1 Students