Deborah Rhein, Communication Disorders Program associate professor at New Mexico State University, has received a $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education, to prepare 48 bilingual speech-language pathologists in New Mexico.
Five years ago Rhein was awarded $800,000 for CLASS for ALL (Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Speech-Language Services for All Language Learners), a personnel preparation program that prepared 25 bilingual speech language pathologists. This fall, the CLASS for ALL-NM was funded for $1.25 million. With the new grant, the bilingual specialization strand developed under CLASS for ALL in the communication disorders program at NMSU has evolved into a joint program with the University of New Mexico.
“There is a huge need nationally and locally for more bilingual speech language pathologists,” Rhein said. “It is not enough to just be bilingual. This program provides a framework that qualifies them to be competent as bilingual practitioners.”
NMSU will collaborate with UNM to train students to deliver speech-language services to bilingual students of all ages and to increase the number of communication disorders graduate programs that offer bilingual strands from 14 to 15. The university will mentor UNM as the speech and hearing program at UNM develops its own bilingual specialization strand.