Revealing the Dedication of Great Prairie AEA’s Hearing Team During Deaf Awareness Month



In honor of Deaf Awareness Month this September, we bring you an inspiring story of dedication, compassion, and profound impact from the heart of Great Prairie Area Education Agency (GPAEA). Did you know that GPAEA is responsible for hearing screenings at your school? Did you know GPAEA has audiologists and teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing? That's just the tip of the iceberg.

The spotlight this month is on GPAEA's exceptional hearing team, a group of highly skilled audiologists, audiometrists, and itinerant teachers and assistants of the deaf and hard of hearing. Their mission? To make a lasting difference in the lives of individuals with hearing impairments.

Our educational audiologists play a pivotal role in identifying, evaluating, and addressing the unique needs of those with hearing loss, and they're not stopping at the classroom door. Together, with the entire GPAEA hearing team, they help empower students, parents, and teachers by shedding light on the far-reaching consequences of hearing loss, encompassing communication abilities, academic achievements, and psychosocial well-being.

Consistency is key, and GPAEA's audiologist, Alyssa Ottmar, has a heartwarming success story to share. Thanks to her efforts with our school hearing screenings, Bentley, one of her students, was referred to the University of Iowa Hospitals for further testing and even featured on their website. “Bentley was a part of the school screening, and I found potential hearing loss in one ear. The family did a phenomenal job of following up, so now we are able to give her the services she needs in school to help her hear in her classroom.” Alyssa continues to provide support to Bentley, making sure her new hearing equipment is in optimal working condition, and maintains ongoing communication with her teachers and family, ensuring that she will always have the support she needs.


But GPAEA audiologists don’t stop there. They work tirelessly from birth to age 21, traveling from schools to community health centers and collaborating with families and educators to address individual student needs specific to hearing. Their early identification efforts, evaluation and intervention services, school screenings, and educational support create a holistic framework for success.

GPAEA also employs Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing who provide services in a variety of ways. “We work as partners, coaching parents to be strong language models for their children with identified hearing difficulties, in classrooms supporting teachers, paraprofessionals, and students, and by providing direct instruction for students with hearing challenges from preschool till the age of 21 in high schools or one of our 4 PLUS programs,” explains teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing Maureen Mark.


In a world where hearing loss can sometimes seem like an insurmountable barrier, GPAEA's hearing team serves as a beacon of hope. Their commitment, compassion, and expertise ensure that no child's hearing loss goes unnoticed and no one's dreams and aspirations are hindered by their hearing status.

Join us in celebrating the extraordinary work of GPAEA's hearing team during this Deaf Awareness Month. Stay tuned for more inspiring stories and insights as we shine a spotlight on the remarkable individuals at GPAEA who are making a profound impact in our community.