Dr. Christen A. Szymanski

Dr. Christen A. Szymanski

Dr. Christen A. Szymanski, Ph.D. is a trained Clinical Psychologist who currently works as the school psychologist at Kendall Demonstration Elementary School of the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University in Washington DC. She received doctoral trainings at Kennedy Krieger Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, and the University of Rochester focusing on the diverse needs of children with neurodevelopmental disorders, often with a focus on intervention and treatment. In addition to formal doctoral training, she has served as a consultant for several schools for the deaf and mainstream programs to help implement positive behavioral supports, appropriate classroom accommodations, and consider appropriate instructional practices for children who are deaf and have additional disabilities, to assure learning success. Dr. Szymanski, has presented at several state, national, and international conferences about best practices for working with children who are deaf and have complex additional disabilities, their families and the professionals/educators who serve them, often with an emphasis on Autism and other neuro-developmental disabilities.

Keynote: From Pinterest to HGTV: Rethinking How We Educate Students Who Are Deaf Plus

Presentation PowerPoint

This key-note presentation will encourage members of the audience to rethink how we approach educating deaf children with additional disabilities, such as autism and developmental disabilities. Despite the consistent presence of deaf children with additional disabilities in the education system (conservatively estimated between 40-60%), we are still faced with a lack of resources, knowledge, evidenced based practices, and even a clear understanding of how to best serve this large group of students. These difficulties are compounded even more in the Midwest, where many students are served in isolation or in small groups with scarce resources. In an effort to “re-frame” this daunting task, this presentation will touch on what we know works, what we think works, and where we should be looking and going to best serve our students in the future.


  • Participants will be able to list several of the overlapping risk factors for disabilities and hearing loss
  • Participants will identify the lack of publications and educational trainings specifically related to deaf children with additional disabilities.
  • Participants will be able to name at least 2 necessary modifications to the established evidenced based practices for children with autism so that they are applicable for deaf children with autism.
  • Participants will be able to identify the “partners” that should be considered when considering best practices for deaf children with additional disabilities.