Master's degree for student with hearing disability

Posted on August 11, 2008

Elri Engelbrecht started her studies at Potchefstroom University in 1995 where she completed a B.Prim. Ed degree and B. Ed Honours degree. In 2003 Elri was selected for the M.Ed Educational Psychology course at the University of Pretoria. She mentioned that the high standard and focus on practical training was quite a challenge in the beginning since she had to develop new skills of especially combining looking and listening. In the middle of 2003 it was decided to adapt the programme in order to accommodate Elri’s specific learning needs. These accommodations included the use of a FM microphone system to facilitate hearing in a group situation, an interpreter, extra time for examinations and the appointment of a precious mentor, Dr. Elsabe Smuts-Pauw. In addition to these, lecturers accommodated her during contact sessions in the following ways: when a group discussion was held Elri and her group moved to another venue to lessen the noise and her classmates supported her by giving her access to their notes. Elri relates that she is very thankful for the way in which her lecturers and fellow students motivated and helped her.  

Elri finished her course work in 2005 and started her internship at Transoranje School for the Deaf in 2006. She says that she has learnt a lot from her time there especially how automatically the accommodations were made in a school for learners with hearing loss. She completed her dissertation during 2007. Her research focused on the socializing behaviour of adolescents with severe hearing loss in company with their normally hearing peers. She says that even though she loves working with people with hearing loss, she would like to have a typical educational psychology practice serving the community at large. Currently she is waiting for the results of the Board Exam.  

Elri wanted to express her sincere thanks to the personnel of Department Educational Psychology, especially Professor Cecilia Bouwer, who showed compassion and empathy. She says that without their availability and encouragement it would have been much harder to complete the degree. 

Elri said that she is very thankful first of all to the Lord for giving her the chance and endurance to complete this study and secondly, to her parents and husband for their continuous motivation and believing in her. Without the Lord and her parents she feels she would not have been able to complete this important goal of her life.

Published by Erhardt Maritz

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