Child's Voice instructs young children with hearing loss

January 10, 2013 10:09:41 AM PST
A child's early education is essential. Child's Voice has been providing deaf children from birth to 8 years old an oral education for more than 15 years.

Located in Wood Dale, Child's Voice gives children tools and skills that will enable them to continue their education and succeed as they mainstream back to local schools.

Small class rooms with trained professionals is the focus at Child's Voice.

"We have a family of approximately 85 families that attend child's voice. We have about 44 families in our birth to three program and another 45 families in our school program," said Dr. Michele Wilkins, executive director of this not for profit school. "A child needs to have a significant need in their speech and language development in order to qualify to be a student at Child's Voice... Also it needs to be the parents' choice and parents request to have spoken language as the home language."

Half of the children have cochlear implants, and the others wear hearing aids.

Since the school opened, they have more than 150 "alumni."

Dara Sanders, 15, started Child's Voice when she was 3.

"I remember hanging out with my friends at the old park at Child's Voice, and I remember all the videos that we have to learn how to talk with the teacher to, like, pronounce the words and stuff," she said. Dara left Child's Voice when she was 7.

Dara is now a student at Mother McAuley High School. Communication can sometimes be challenging.

"if I misunderstood the teacher talking, and if I miss something, after class I would come up to the teacher and ask what was she saying in the class," Dara said.

"We're very excited about those opportunities that in the past may not have been an opportunity for a child with a hearing loss," said Wilkins.

"I was thankful for the teachers teaching me how to speak and Child's Voice to teach kids how to talk and to be successful in life," Dara said.

Child's Voice is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education. Tuition is expected to be paid by local school districts. Child's Voice has no waiting list, and they are looking to open an early intervention program in Chicago.