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Deaf Infant Program Information

Deaf Infant Program

The Deaf Infant Program setting at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf offers a unique opportunity to foster language experiences and concepts for children from birth through age three who have hearing loss, as well as children who are speech and/or language delayed.  The goal of the Infant Program is to develop cognitive, language and communication skills through family-centered early intervention and support services.  The Deaf Infant Program utilizes the Ski-Hi Curriculum, a Family-Centered Program for Young Infants.  Monthly themes incorporate new language learning opportunities.   Stories are read daily.  Hands-on learning and visual presentations provide a language-rich environment to motivate the youngest learners. 

Through immersion in our language-rich environment, babies and their families are given the tools to learn and to express themselves.  

Components of the Deaf Infant Program include:

  • Classroom based instruction in a home-like environment – The classroom is designed with a carpeted living room area, an art area, and a welcoming space for circle time.
  • Natural environmental experiences – Children visit places in the community that support classroom topics.
  • Home visits – One day a week is designated for home visits.  The teacher demonstrates how to effectively interact with the child to maximize the child’s exposure to language, both spoken and signed.  A brief lesson and suggested activities are given to the care-giver to try with the baby that will encourage language development.
  • Communication books – Pictures of events that occur in class are sent home daily with a sentence or two describing each picture.  Parents are asked to review the daily entry in the book with their baby.  To encourage the home-school connection, parents are asked to write something in the book each day or draw a simple illustration that may be shared with the other children as part of our morning routine.  Sharing each child’s “news” is a high-interest activity, and therefore a great opportunity for language development.

Support service providers available for infants at SMSD include:

  • Speech-Language pathologist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Physical therapist
  • Audiologist
  • Vision therapist
  • Music teacher
  • Counselor
  • Parent coordinator
  • Nursing staff

St. Mary's campus welcomes visitors.  SMSD is located at 2253 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14214.
To arrange a tour, contact Pupil Personnel Services at (716) 834-7200 ext. 148.


Joy Higgins
Associate Principal, Elementary
St. Anthony Hall, Room 191
716-834-7200 x.352 (phone)
716-335-9619 (video phone)
email Joy