A Conversation with Barbara Hecht!
Barbara Hecht, director of Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech in the Boston area (Clarke Boston), received her undergraduate degree in linguistics and psychology at Harvard University and her PhD in linguistics and child language development at Stanford University. She has a long and accomplished career as an educator and deaf education specialist. She has long been an innovator in and advocate of distance learning. Prior to her work at Clarke, Dr. Hecht directed the John Tracy Clinic (JTC) in Los Angeles, CA. At Clarke, Dr. Hecht has been a leader in the development of teleservices for families of infants and young children.
About Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech & Clarke’s Evidence-Based Teleservices
Children who are deaf or hard of hearing learn to listen and talk at Clarke. After expanding its brick-and-mortar locations along the East Coast, the national nonprofit organization continued to hear from families who were not able to access Clarke’s in-person listening and spoken language (LSL) early intervention services. In response to this need, Clarke created the tVISIT (telepractice: Virtual Intervention Services for Infants and Toddlers) Program with support from private foundations and pilot funding from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Since 2013, tVISITs give families direct access to experienced, listening and spoken language, early intervention practitioners, regardless of the family’s proximity to on-site services. The Donahue Institute (University of Massachusetts) has provided formative feedback and summative evaluation during all phases of Clarke’s implementation of the tVISIT Program. In addition to increasing the accessibility of Clarke’s early intervention services, evaluation data demonstrate the effectiveness of this mode of service delivery. Not only do tVISIT children make developmental progress comparable to that of in-person-only children, but tVISITs support professional-caregiver communication and parent coaching. For example, in a recent survey, more than 95% of caregivers participating in tVISITS said that they were able to establish effective communication and healthy relationships with their tVISIT provider and were confident that they acquired effective strategies for developing their child’s communication skills. Today, Clarke has adopted tVISITs as an evidence-based standard of care in early intervention at its five locations.
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