Northern Voices adheres to an auditory/oral philosophy. Most children who are deaf or hard of hearing, regardless of their severity of hearing loss, can learn to speak and to understand the speech of others. Developing the ability to speak makes it possible to communicate independently with other hearing individuals, thus providing greater independence to participate in the world at large.
Through its program, which recognizes effort and improvement as well as achievement, Northern Voices provides a supportive and stimulating learning environment in which children who are deaf or hard of hearing can grow socially, emotionally, and academically. Our student/teacher ratio of better than four to one allows for programming that is specifically designed to fit the unique abilities and learning style of each child.
Northern Voices has a before/after school program that extends our hours of operation from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm.
Parent Infant Program
Getting started early is the key to success. The goal of our Parent-Infant Program is to empower parents to communicate with their young children with hearing loss. This means helping parents to understand about hearing loss and communication options, and how hearing loss can impact communication development. When parents feel comfortable in their communication with their children, it impacts the bond and future language development. Sessions occur with a speech-language pathologist or a teacher for the deaf/hard-of-hearing one to two hours a week.
Our Toddler Program is for children who are ready to begin social interactions in small group settings, usually around age two. Students meet Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to noon. The group provides an opportunity for learning social language and for playing with other children in a linguistically rich, supportive environment. Individual therapy is provided for each toddler by a teacher of the deaf/hard-of-hearing or a speech-language pathologist. The focus of this program is on developing communication, including listening, language and speech skills. Toddlers attend this half-day program between three and five days a week.
When children are ready to begin a full day, at about age three, children enter our full day Preschool Program; students meet Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The focus is on the development of auditory, receptive and expressive language, and speech skills. Children are organized in small groups for focused spoken language instruction, which includes listening, syntax and vocabulary. They are grouped with language-matched peers in each of these areas. The schedule provides a balance for children, moving between periods of focused instruction in small groups to larger group activities to maximize generalization of skills. This includes typical preschool experiences such as circle time, centers, art, motor, and cognitive activities.
After transitioning to mainstream classrooms, some students can benefit from supplemental speech and language therapy from Northern Voices teachers during their early elementary years. These are provided on an individual need basis. Teacher and peer in-services, as well as student observation, are also provided at the mainstream schools by Northern Voices staff.
As a result of the focused nature of our instruction, and the urgency attached to capitalizing on the critical age for mastering spoken language skills, virtually all of our students participate in the four-week summer program.
Tele-intervention expands access to quality listening and spoken language services for children with hearing loss. Through weekly or bi-weekly one-hour online sessions, Northern Voices provides coaching strategies to empower parents or caregivers to be their child’s first and best teacher. For families that are not able to attend Northern Voices, teletherapy offers education, tips and strategies from highly trained and trusted professionals in oral deaf education, right at home — anywhere!