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    Educational & Auditory Resources for Sound (EARS)

    ~ St. Mary's auditory education program option ~

    Listening & Spoken Language




    Auditory Verbal Therapy

    As part of your child’s program, auditory verbal therapy services are provided to optimize use of hearing with amplification. Auditory verbal therapy is provided one-on-one with the parent/caregiver, child, and trained therapist. The goal of therapy is to develop speech and communication skills needed for integration into the hearing community. Trained therapists guide and coach parents/caregivers to become primary facilitators of their child’s listening and spoken language development. Parents/caregivers are encouraged to integrate listening and spoken language in every aspect of their daily routine through natural communication strategies.


    group kids     nile and jaxson

    From left to right: students Jaxson, Dana, Evan, and hearing peer Claire show off their work; Jaxson and Nile practice their fine motor skills

    The EARS Program is open to all children from birth to seven years of age with hearing loss, and offers the following programs on site:


    Parent-Toddler Educational Programming

    The EARS Parent-Infant Program focuses on enhancing a child’s listening and spoken language skills through natural communication opportunities. Parents are equal partners in their child’s education. Together, parents and therapists develop practical strategies to encourage listening and speaking in their child. Parents receive a combination of center-based and home-based one-on-one therapy sessions. In addition there are weekly play groups where both parent and child are encouraged to promote social language opportunities. Current EARS families appreciate our intimate, individually-tailored approach and have felt empowered as their child’s best advocate.


    Toddler Playgroups

    The EARS Team runs two playgroups per week. The first one is for the children only one morning a week. The children start off with circle time including calendar, morning news, attendance, weather, and show & tell.  Following these activities, children come to the table for a fine motor activity. They then enjoy a snack, story, and craft corresponding with that week's theme. Children are able to move and stretch with a walk, playroom time, or dancing. The children end their day by using their imaginations through free play. The second playgroup of the week involves the children's families. Mommies, daddies, grandparents, and children all come together for a fun, language-filled hour. As an extension of the children-only playgroup, a story is read and a craft is made, all with the goal of modeling practical language strategies the family can use at home. The day concludes with a lively Music Together class. Children learn about volume, tonality, and rhythm while singing along. This weekly group empowers families and gives them confidence to be their child's best language teacher. 


    Preschool Educational Programming

    The EARS Preschool Program supports the development of listening and spoken language through fun, play-based activities providing meaningful language opportunities. Weekly interaction with same age hearing peers in the community allows our children to learn from their friends through imaginative play. Our team supports each family's educational goals, whether that is mainstreaming, partial mainstreaming, or other educational placement. Parents are regularly welcomed into the classroom to support learning and fun!


    Kindergarten Educational Programming

    The New York State Common Core Standards-aligned EARS Kindergarten Program offers continued support for 4- to 6-year-old students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing to develop their listening and spoken language skills.  Our Kindergarten program continues to emphasize the importance of family support as children learn to listen and speak.  Families of our students participate in the EARS Program’s Family Day, including family AVT sessions, classroom sessions, our popular Lunch and Learn series, and Music Together classes.  Our EARS Kindergarteners benefit from a full day of collaboration with the Kindergarten class at St. Joseph University as well as welcoming same-aged hearing peers into the classroom on a weekly basis.  We are thrilled to introduce this new offering to families of students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing who wish to pursue listening and spoken language for their children and look forward to watching our students continue to grow!


    Hearing Peers Partnership

    The Hearing Peers partnership is a component of the EARS educational program from three years of age through Kindergarten. Each EARS classroom welcomes same-aged hearing peers as spoken language models into the classroom on a weekly basis. This partnership allows our students to practice listening and spoken language skills they will need to be successful in a mainstream classroom in a more controlled and familiar setting. Hearing Peers provide a natural, age-appropriate spoken language model for our EARS students. All children learn valuable lessons in patience, perseverance, and kindness while building meaningful friendships. 



    Kayleigh K Graduation

    Kayleigh Jurusik with her parents and teacher Miss Amanda at her Kindergarten Graduation in June 2018


    Audiological Services

    St. Mary’s School for the Deaf boasts the delivery of comprehensive audiological services in addition to individualized parent-infant and preschool programming. Our audiological clinic specializes in newborn screenings, diagnostic testing, pediatric hearing aid fitting and programming, pediatric BAHA services, as well as pediatric cochlear implant candidacy assessment, initial stimulation, and ongoing mappings. Our pediatric Audiologist holds strong collaborative relationships with area pediatricians and ENT offices. 


    Meet Our Team:



    Kristen Cotter, Coordinator & Preschool Teacher                                                  Amanda Rogers, Preschool Teacher 

    Voice Phone: (716) 834-7200 ext. 147                                                                       Voice Phone: (716) 834-7200 ext. 357

    E-mail: kristen@smsdk12.org                                                                                    E-mail: amandar@smsdk12.org


    jessie                                                         Janet

    Jessica Holst, Speech Language Pathologist                                                              Janet Brinkman, Audiologist                            

    Voice Phone: (716) 834-7200 ext. 220                                                                          Voice Phone: (716) 834-7200 ext. 362

    E-mail: jessicah@smsdk12.org                                                                                     E-mail: janetb@smsdk12.org


    The EARS program is proud to work in collaboration with the following community partners: 




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