VOICE for Hearing Impaired Children
VOICE For Hearing Impaired Children is a not-for-profit charity that has thrived over the years since its foundation by parents and professionals, in 1963, to provide much-needed emotional and technical support to families of hearing impaired children. It is now recognized as one of the largest parent-support organizations for hearing impairment in North America, with over 1,000 members in chapters across Ontario, Manitoba, and Quebec as well as supporters in many other parts of Canada and the United States.
VOICES objective is two-fold:
- To provide hope for parents of hearing impaired children.
- To let the public know that deaf children can communicate and live within the hearing world.
VOICE responds to the needs of parents and their children by:
- Providing Auditory-Verbal Therapy,
- Disseminating information,
- Sponsoring workshops and conferences,
- Lobbying governments to enhance the quality of life for hearing impaired children.
The VOICE mission statement is, To ensure that all hearing impaired children have the right to develop their ability to listen and speak and have access to services which will enable them to listen and speak.
In order to carry out its Mission, VOICE assists families in four main areas:
- Health and Auditory-Verbal Therapy,
- Outreach Programs
Each year the contributions of the Masonic Foundation of Ontario are used to assist five children to receive one-to-one Auditory-Verbal Therapy on a weekly basis for approximately 40 sessions within the school year.
Auditory-Verbal Therapy is a process of developing language, which gives hearing-impaired children the tools to develop speech and auditory skills. The therapy operates on the principle that useable hearing is common to 90% of all hearing-impaired children. With powerful hearing aids or cochlear implants and continual stimulation of sounds, these children can learn to listen. Babies with normal hearing learn to communicate by becoming aware of sound; mimicking the sounds they hear; and, through interacting with family members, learn that sounds have meaning. Hearing-impaired babies can learn language the same way, but they need to be taught how to become aware of sound. That is what Auditory-Verbal Therapy does it teaches them how to listen.
Thus, children who follow the VOICE Auditory-Verbal Therapy Program can pursue their education within regular schools, become fully integrated into the hearing world and ultimately reach their full potential.