Starting Sept. 8, 2015, 16 preschool-aged children with mild to profound hearing losses will have an opportunity to attend a program specifically designed for children who are deaf/hard of hearing (D/HH) at Belvedere Parkway School.
The preschool will be operated by the Connect Society, which has run a successful program in Edmonton for more than 50 years. The program provides children aged 2½ to 5½ with opportunities to develop strong language abilities and to build skills and strategies that will prepare them for success in their schools and community.
“We are excited to work in partnership with the Connect Society, a well-established leader of early intervention for D/HH children,” said Liz Gouthro, Director, Learning Services for the CBE. “This collaboration supports the importance of maximizing language abilities in the early years, and improving outcomes for children throughout their lives. We look forward to a long-term partnership with Connect Society.”
The program’s focus is on language-enriched classroom instructions, with an emphasis on speech and language skills. The program supports a full range of communication options from auditory-oral to communication using American Sign Language.
“These children benefit enormously from language enrichment at an early age,” said Cheryl Redhead, chief executive officer of the Connect Society. “Children often come to us with severe language delays, and our goal is to have them on par with their hearing peers after just two years.”
The program also accepts hearing children of parents who are deaf or hard of hearing, while limited spaces are available to hearing peers. Hearing peers provide positive language role-models for the other children.
The early childhood services team includes hearing and deaf teaching staff knowledgeable about hearing loss and its impact, and speech language pathologists. Occupational and physical therapists work on site as needed. There is no cost for programming or transportation for children who qualify, while a modest fee applies to hearing peers.
Grade 1-12 education for D/HH students
Most D/HH students can be accommodated by the CBE in their community schools through personalized programming. Students and their teachers are supported with individual program plan goals, assistive technology, accommodations and teaching strategies. Strategists may work directly with students to provide academic support, Level A and B assessment on reading and vocabulary and support for personal/social development and self-advocacy in collaboration with their teachers.
Students are supported through the use of American Sign Language and/or the Auditory/Oral Approach to meet their unique learning needs in specialized programs. Specialized programs are offered at three CBE schools – Queen Elizabeth School, Stanley Jones School and Queen Elizabeth High School.
- Stanley Jones School – Grades 1-6
The primary mode of communication is through the Auditory/Oral Approach
- Queen Elizabeth School – Grades 1-6
The primary mode of communication is through American Sign Language
- Queen Elizabeth High School – Grades 7-12
Students may be instructed using American Sign Language, Auditory/Oral Programming or one of a variety of bridging and communication strategies.
For more information about the Connect Society preschool program at Belvedere Parkway School, please contact Cheryl Redhead at 780-454-9581 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Grade 1-12 education for D/HH students, please contact Joanne Issler at 403-817-7636, or JoIssler@cbe.ab.ca.