Local News

New Preschool Program Hopes To Bridge Gap For Hearing-Impaired Students

Posted January 10, 2002

— Many hearing-impaired children learn sign language or read lips, but others depend on their residual hearing. A new pre-school program in Wake County pairs these children with hearing students.

Teacher Lynn Young wants all her students to use words, but half her students are hearing-impaired. In the brand-new Blended Pre-School at Lacy Elementary, Young has kids actively figuring out what words mean, using their ears, hearing aids and busy brains.

"This is a wonderful program. It's got more literacy than any other program I have ever seen," said parent/teacher aide Linda Dickinson.

Hearing students use a kid-centered vocabulary that hearing-impaired children use to understand words.

Many hearing-impaired students arrive at preschool with delays, not in how they think, but in how they listen. In this class, they have to listen a lot.

The hearing children benefit too, by learning about children with differences and how to be patient. And with a one-to-six student-teacher ratio, they get plenty of individual attention.

"The goal for all the kids is for them to be really well-prepared for kindergarten and be very, very successful," Young said.

Federal grants pay the costs for hearing-impaired students. Hearing students pay $150 tuition each month for a half-day. Those slots are open to 3- or 4-year-olds.


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