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June 9, 2020—
Clarke’s preschool classroom in Orlando paves the way for expanded listening and spoken language services for Central Florida children who are deaf or hard of hearing
Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech (Clarke) proudly announces the transition and expansion of listening and spoken language (LSL) services for children who are deaf or hard of hearing in Central Florida.
Clarke has locations throughout the East Coast and expanded its services in 2016 to meet the needs of Central Florida families seeking a listening and spoken language outcome for their children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Since opening, Clarke’s preschool classroom in Orlando served more than 60 families throughout the region. The classroom operated as a satellite of Clarke’s Jacksonville location that was founded in 1996.
“As the Clarke community expanded in Florida, we became aware of a need for more LSL support for families in the Orlando area,” said Cynthia Robinson, MEd, CED, LSLS Cert. AVEd, Co-Director of Clarke Florida. “The creation of a preschool classroom was an important first step in bringing much-needed coaching, education and support to these students and families.”
Clarke, a national nonprofit organization, invested more than half a million dollars over a four-year period to launch the preschool classroom and meet the needs of children who are deaf or hard of hearing throughout Central Florida with a variety of services. The conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year marks a transition for Clarke’s Central Florida services, and for families in the region. Children in the Orlando area who are deaf or hard of hearing will gain access to a new listening and spoken language classroom through the Central Florida Dreamplex at The Dreamplex Therapeutic School for Hearing and Speech - Orlando Campus. Though not part of the Clarke organization, the classroom will be staffed by Clarke-trained professionals and is focused on the Auditory Oral/Auditory Verbal approach.
“This transition will allow Clarke to continue service expansion to other underserved areas in the state,” said Alisa Demico, MS, CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVT, Co-Director of Clarke Florida. “It’s a positive evolution for the community. Listening and spoken language services have a permanent home in Orlando. Clarke will continue to partner with and serve families in Central Florida and beyond through its other programs both in person and through teleservice.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, all Clarke locations rapidly converted in-person and on-site programming to teleservices. In Florida alone, Clarke conducted more than 250 remote sessions with early intervention families and school students in the first four days of the school closure period. In addition, prior to COVID-19, Clarke conducted more than 3,400 teleserverice sessions organization-wide as part of its tVISIT (teleservices Virtual Intervention Services for Infants and Toddlers) Program and additional teleservice sessions with school-age children.
Clarke’s proven experience in virtual services now leads to more opportunities to support families throughout Florida. Clarke remains committed to the current and future success of children who are deaf or hard of hearing who want to learn to listen and talk.