The families in our program want their children to learn to listen and speak. The birth-to-three and school-age programs provide listening and spoken language (LSL) intervention by ensuring access to sound through hearing technology, education in a language-rich environment, intensive individual speech-language therapy, and support from a multi-disciplinary team of otologists, audiologists, speech language pathologists, teachers of students who are deaf and hard of hearing, and enrichment teachers. Periodic assessments are used to determine each child’s growth over time or “profile of potential”. Therapists, teachers and enrichment teachers work with students keeping in mind the strengths and needs of each individual child. Additional support from a physical therapist, an occupational therapist and a social worker is available for students on an as-needed basis.
Keeping in mind the long-term goal of transitioning into neighborhood schools, the school program prepares children who are DHH, by creating a reverse-mainstream setting. Each classroom serves children who are DHH as well as children who have typical hearing. Learning in this setting supports language, play and social development of all children. Students have opportunities to explore science and social studies concepts, and gain experience with early music, art and both gross and fine motor skills. Small classroom sizes, highly skilled teachers, thematic lessons and hands-on learning experiences allow all students at Carle Auditory Oral School to develop skills needed to succeed in their neighborhood schools.
As a child’s first and most important teachers, we know true collaboration with parents and family members is the only way to help each child reach his or her potential. As a result, families are an integral part of our programs.
In the birth-to-three program, our early interventionists work with the family members in their home or facilitate parent child interactions remotely through teletherapy. These sessions provide families with information about hearing loss, hearing technology, and empower parents to bond with and nurture their child in the early phases of development, fostering early listening and communication skills. Extended family members are always welcome to participate.
In our school program, families continue to be involved through monthly meetings, classroom and therapy observations, and family participation activities. Parent education sessions are conducted on a variety of topics including social/play skills, behavior management, development and how to confidently advocate for their child in medical, educational and social settings. Parent-to-parent support has the potential to help parents find inspiration and hope from meeting families of older children with established communication skills who have already transitioned back to their neighborhood schools. Additionally, interactions with other parents of young children who are DHH helps create a support network of parents facing similar journeys. The school’s Parent Teacher Organization is working to establish opportunities for parents to connect in this way.