Uma Soman, PhD, LSLS Cert AVEd
Co-Founder & Director
Uma Soman is an educator of students who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) and a certified Listening and Spoken Language Specialist Auditory-Verbal Educator (LSLS Cert AVEd). She has been working with children who are DHH, their families, and professionals for 20 years in a variety of settings. She is our co-founder and directs our Parent Empowerment, Professional Development, and Public Awareness programs. She also serves as the treasurer on the board.
Uma provides listening and spoken language intervention to children and families in the USA and India. She also provides mainstream support for children who are DHH and their families, and is available to consult with the mainstream school staff.
Uma develops and teaches online courses in English, Hindi, and Marathi on various topics related to development of listening and spoken language in children who are deaf or hard of hearing. She also mentors teachers and therapists pursuing Listening and Spoken Language Specialist Certification in India and USA. Uma presents on a wide range of topics at national and international conferences. Invite her to speak at your next event.
In addition to her role at Listening Together, Uma is an assistant professor in the Communication Disorders and Deaf Education program at Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. She teaches courses in language and literacy development to students in the deaf education and speech-language pathology program.
Uma received her Masters in Deaf Education from the Clarke School / Smith College program and earned her Doctorate in Hearing and Speech Sciences from Vanderbilt University in 2017. Uma was the recipient of the National Leadership Consortium in Sensory Disabilities Fellowship (NLCSD, 2010-2014). She serves on the board of AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language and was the co-chair the Global Matters Committee from 2017-2022.
Learn more about Uma
- Interview with Uma Soman
- All Ears at Child’s Voice – Supporting Children with Hearing Loss in Mainstream Settings
- EmpowEAR Audiology with Carrie Spangler – Dr. Uma Soman – Opportunities Listening Together (September 2022)
Board President & Parent Liaison
Uma Mididaddi is the parent of two wonderful children, Suraj who is 23 and Arya who is 20 years old. Uma has a Bachelors in Computer Science and has 18+ years of experience managing global teams at various multinational corporations. Uma and her family have lived in the Bay Area, California for 20+ years where Arya was diagnosed with a profound bilateral hearing loss at birth. Uma received early support services at Weingarten Children’s Center where Arya was enrolled as a toddler and later mainstreamed to her local public school at age five. Uma moved with her family to Bangalore, India in 2008 and lived there till 2011 before returning to the Bay Area. Her stay in India made her realize the immense challenges and needs that exist in the country for children with hearing loss.
Uma was elected the Board President of Listening Together in September 2022. She advances our mission of transforming the lives of children who are DHH by supporting families, professionals and through her community outreach efforts. Her amicable personality has resulted in strong bonds with the families and has contributed to building a strong community over years. Uma is involved in strategic planning and long term and short term operations of all the Listening Together programs. Listening Together has benefitted from her years of experience managing projects with varied requirements and scale and also from her leadership skills to motivate team members by enhancing the level of engagement leading to continuous progress at various levels.
Mary Ellen Nevins, EdD
Dr. Mary Ellen Nevins is our newest board member, joining us officially in September 2022. She has been an ally and a supporter of Listening Together since the very beginning. She brings many years of experience and a forward-looking attitude, along with deep knowledge of the listening, language, and literacy development of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Dr. Nevins started her career as an educator of deaf and hard of hearing students, and over the last 40+ years has served many roles in the field of deaf education. She has worked in a variety of school and clinical settings with other teachers, speech language pathologists, audiologists, and medical professionals. She has taught graduate and undergraduate students training to be audiologists and speech language pathologists. As the field changed, especially as a result of cochlear implant technology, Dr. Nevins was at the forefront of this change, training professionals to support children in special education and general education settings through the PPCI program. She has co-authored two books on this topic, The Parents’ Guide to Cochlear Implants and Children with Cochlear Implants in Educational Settings, and given numerous talks.
Currently, she is the managing partner of Chute and Nevins Consulting and supporting the next generation of leaders in education and health professional settings through their leadership programs. Learn more at www.propellingcareers.org
Ahladhini Rao Dugar, M.E.D.
Co-Founder, Director of Parent Empowerment (2017-2022)
Ahladhini Rao Dugar co-founded Listening Together with Uma Soman, and was the Director of Parent Empowerment till September 2022. Ahladhini received her Masters in Education of the Deaf from Smith College/Clarke School for the Deaf in 1998. As an early interventionist and teacher of the students who are deaf or hard of hearing, Ahladhini worked with families of children who are DHH for more than 15 years in the United States and India. Through Listening Together, she worked with families and professionals from varied socio-economic, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. She provided online family-centered early intervention services for children who are DHH and counseled families.