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First Years Continuing Education

Kathryn Wilson

Photo: Robert Ladd

Kathryn Wilson, MA, Assistant Professor, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, and Program Director, FIRST YEARS

The FIRST YEARS Certificate in Auditory Learning for Young Children with Hearing Loss is an inservice program committed to enhancing the knowledge and skills of professionals practicing in the fields of deaf education, speech-language pathology, audiology, and early intervention. The FIRST YEARS courses combine convenient distance learning with a hands-on mentorship experience to meet the needs of practicing professionals.

The program is designed for graduates who have been out of school at least 2 years and who have a current caseload of children with hearing loss (birth to 8 years).

”I feel much more confident in providing appropriate services to the children on my caseload, and with sharing the knowledge I gained with other team members.”

Mentorship Experience


FIRST YEARS student Anne Oliver talks about her experience in the program
Courtesy of Kathryn Wilson

A mentorship experience is required of every FIRST YEARS student. The mentorship is an opportunity to implement new skills and knowledge learned in the FIRST YEARS courses under the guidance of a mentor. Students are assigned a mentor who works with them to identify areas of emphasis for improvement. The student visits the mentor’s site and works closely with the mentor to make changes in their intervention. Students also submit three video tapes of their teaching or therapy during the course of the program. These tapes help to document change in teaching behaviors over time. Mentorship sites are in clinics, hospitals, universities, and public and private schools throughout the nation and in Canada.


US Map of students and graduate of the First Years program

Courtesy of Kathryn Wilson

Map shows practice sites of current students and graduates of the FIRST YEARS program


Special Topics in Speech and Hearing: A Survey

Basic Speech Acoustics

Audiology Interpretation and Hearing Technologies

Spoken Language Development and Intervention

Literacy Development in Young Children with Hearing Loss