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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

DePaul School for Hearing and Speech

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Special Education

Mission:

Following the values and traditions of our founders, the mission of DePaul School for Hearing and Speech is to teach each child who is deaf or hard of hearing to listen, speak and learn. Our children enter the educational mainstream with the foundation to succeed.

Target demographics: children who are deaf or hard of hearing

Geographic areas served: Pittsburgh, southwestern PA, parts of OH and WV, and beyond

Programs: DePaul School for Hearing and Speech teaches children, from birth to age 15, who are deaf or hard of hearing to listen, speak, and learn. Our students have access to sound provided by cochlear implants or digital hearing aids and, combined with the intensive Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) education, speech and auditory-verbal therapy and audiological services provided at DePaul School, they can learn to listen and speak.

Most students who attend DePaul School's Toddler-Parent and Preschool Programs will be ready to transition to their neighborhood school by first grade and will be reading at or above grade level.

DePaul School for Hearing and Speech, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the only Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) school in the Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia tri-state area.

Community Stories

19 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter was diagnosed at birth with mild to moderately severe sensorineural hearing loss. She was the first in or families with hearing loss. I found DePaul and they instantaneously welcomed us into their “family.” My daughter is enrolled in their toddler program. I would be lost without their guidance. This school has enabled us to provide all of the necessAry Resourses to my daughter to help her effectively communicate with others. DePaul is an amazing school!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My hearing loss was moderate but as a toddler my speech was very difficult to understand by anyone outside my immediate family. I attended DePaul from age 3 until age 8 and mainstreamed successfully into fourth grade to the parish grade school. At DePaul, I learned to love school and gained the confidence I needed to go on to graduate from college with a 3.9 GPA. Ultimately, my career required me to teach and make presentations to groups that ranged from 10 people in a meeting to hundreds of people in an auditorium. Amazingly, unless I tell people that I have a hearing problem they never know. When they do find out they are always surprised. I sincerely believe that DePaul was a godsend and sometimes wonder how my life would be now if my parents hadn't sent me there.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter, Emily, was born with a severe to profound bi-lateral hearing loss. She started attending the DePaul School for Hearing and Speech at 18 months of age. The school has provided her wtih the tools and support to become a proficient hearing and speaking child. She was able to mainstream into the public school at Kindergarten. Most people conversing with her don't even realize that she is deaf. Without the DePaul school, Emily would not be at the top of her class today. The staff has made our child a top priority and we are so grateful for everything that they have done.

Client Served

Rating: 5

DePaul has given so much to our family! We are grateful to them for guiding and supporting us on our journey with our younger son who has a severe to profound hearing loss. Ezra was diagnosed at birth with a progressive type of hearing loss. That has meant a lot of changes for us through the years and difficult decisions to make about what is best for our son. DePaul gave us the important knowledge necessary to advocate on behalf of Ezra while also giving him a great education. Ezra just mainstreamed to a public school for his kindergarten year only a year after receiving a cochlear implant. He is thriving and we credit DePaul with giving Ezra and us a foundation for success.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We moved from Hawaii so our daughter, Cristiana could attend DePaul. She was diagnosed with moderate to severe hearing loss at birth and was fitted with hearing aids at 4 months. She attended a special education preschool in Hawaii but wasn't making any progress. Her vocabulary was very limited to mom and dad but was not very clear. I had to find something better for her. I went online looking for schools or programs for her and came across DePaul. After I learned about DePaul, I knew I wanted to send her there. It was a major decision to move from our home state but we knew that it was the best decision. We moved to Pittsburgh so she could attend DePaul. She is now 4 and has been at the school for 1 year. She is making great progress. So much so, that she is having conversations with grandparents via Skype and telephone. Our family back home is amazed with the progress she has made. As much as they miss us, they know it was the best decision for us. I know we have made the best decision. I am so grateful to DePaul, now my daughter has a brighter future. We will be forever THANKFUL!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son, Jared, is a 5 year old boy with moderate to severe bilateral hearing loss. He was diagnosed at the age of 2, but because he is adopted, we know very little about the true length or cause of his loss. He attends Kindergarten at DePaul School for Hearing and Speech, and has been there for almost 2 years now. It is no exaggeration to say that DePaul changed Jared's life, as well as that of our whole family. From the day that we first visited the school to take a tour and meet with the staff, we have felt nothing but welcomed, cared for, and supported. They taught us about hearing loss in general, informed us of realistic expectations going forward, and helped us with the admission process through our school district. And all of this is to say nothing of the actual teaching that ensued after we transferred in!

The amount of progress Jared has made in learning how to hear and speak has been nothing short of miraculous. The philosophy of the school and the dedicated and knowledgable staff have made all the difference in a relatively short period of time. When Jared started there, we weren't sure that he had ever really heard any significant speech, and now he can hear and understand on a level that is almost 2 years above his hearing age. He is also learning to speak and does so very well relative to the length of time he's known how. The small class sizes and individualized attention have allowed him to achieve a rapid rate of advancement academically, socially, physically and developmentally. The level of expertise of the staff is second to none, and they really care about the kids, which is apparent in every interaction.

Jared loves going to school, and we love sending him. There is no doubt that DePaul has been a Godsend to our boy and his future. We are fortunate to live in the Pittsburgh area, but if we didn't, we would move Heaven and Earth to send him there. Thank you, DePaul School for Hearing and Speech... You have given us the world!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter Emily was diagnosed at 4 weeks old with bilateral mild to moderate hearing loss. She uses hearing aids to help her hear. When Emily was 4 months old we started attending DePaul's baby parent programs. There I learned from other parents how to keep Emily's hearing aids on, medical advice, and Emily saw other children like herself that had hearing loss. Currently Emily is almost three years old and is doing fantastic! Emily has been attending DePaul's toddler program since she was 18 months old. There she receives instruction from a certified teacher of the deaf, speech teacher, and audiologist. Without this program and DePaul's unwavering support Emily would not be mainstreaming soon in my opinion. I can't thank DePaul enough!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My only child became profoundly deaf in both ears at age 14 months after contracting bacterial meningitis. Taylor, who is now 8, attended DePaul School for Hearing and Speech in Pittsburgh, PA, between the ages of 18 months and 5 years. Taylor received simultaneous bi-lateral cochlear implants at 16 months and attended DePaul to learn how to listen and speak with her implants. She "mainstreamed" into our local school district in Kindergarten and is now in third grade. Taylor is doing fantastic and participates right alongside her typically hearing peers in school and extracurricular activities.

DePaul's program teaches deaf children the skills they need to succeed in the hearing and speaking world, without sign language. Through the grace of God, advanced technology, dedicated health care professionals, and the gifted teachers at DePaul, Taylor has learned to communicate using spoken language. Many people don't even realize she's deaf. You can hear Taylor speak at (http://speakmiracles.org/ihaveavoice2012/portfolio/taylor/).

There are fewer than 60 schools like DePaul -- known as Option Schools -- throughout the entire world. Families have moved to Pittsburgh from other states and other continents just to attend DePaul. The curriculum at DePaul is rigorous and the results are nothing short of miraculous. The school involves the entire family in the student's education, and offers programs, seminars, workshops, and support groups for parents, siblings, grandparents, and caregivers. DePaul's support continues after a student mainstreams as well, through assistance with IEPs, troubleshooting, evaluations, and recommendations, should any issues arise.

DePaul's goal is to prepare students for a life outside its walls. It encourages students to become active in their communities and teaches them self-advocacy skills should they require a little extra help. Most all students who attend DePaul's infant and toddler program and preschool mainstream into their neighborhood school districts during their early elementary years -- often by second grade. This means they're able to attend school with their friends, neighbors and siblings, and can participate in sports, scouting, community, and extracurricular activities as they choose. DePaul students are bright, articulate, confident, and independent. They have options and opportunities because of their ability to listen and speak. We are so blessed to have a program like DePaul's right here in Pittsburgh. My husband and I thank God every day for the tremendous gift DePaul has given us: a voice for our child.

Client Served

Rating: 5

At birth our daughter Sophia, now 6, was diagnosed with Auditory Neuropathy. We had many questions about how we were going to move forward, but always knew we wanted her to be able to listen and speak. After some research we found DePaul School for Hearing and Speech and we have been blessed ever since that day. Sophia started at DePaul at 18 months in their Toddler Program. At the age of 3 she was diagnosed with bilateral moderate/severe hearing loss and started wearing bilateral hearing aids at that time. DePaul School for Hearing and Speech was supportive every step of the way and helped us with any questions or concerns we had for her changing diagnosis. The teachers and staff are always available to help, treat you with respect, and have a genuine caring nature for your child and family. In September Sophia mainstreamed to our home school district, a bittersweet moment for us. She accomplished what she needed to do to join her twin sister in Kindergarten, with the help of all of her teachers; but we had to say goodbye to such a loving, caring school. DePaul School for Hearing and Speech is a great asset for families who desire to give their hearing impaired child the ability to listen and speak.

Marci Z.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 3 year old son is lucky enough to have been involved with Depaul's School for hearing and speech since he was first diagnosed with profound bilateral hearing loss as a newborn. We were notified about the school's program after he failed a newborn hearing screen and was undergoing additional testing at Children's hospital. We visited the school when he was 6 weeks old and immediately felt such excitement. We were amazed to see how well the children who were attending school there( with hearing loss) were speaking! We knew immediately we wanted to give him the opportunity to learn to listen and speak just as well as the children that we saw when we visited that day. Thus we began our relationship with the educators at Depauls.

At first, wefound a lot of comfort attending the baby/parent group meetings where we could meet with educators along with parents in the same situation as us. Then Our son received bilateral cochlear implants at 9 months of age and at 18 months old he began attending their toddler program twice a week. He is now 3 1/2 and enrolled in the preschool program. We credit the school tremendously for his success. His speech is comparable to a child without hearing loss. When he is with his neighborhood peers, the children and their parents are always surprised to find out that he is technically deaf. He blends right in with the other children - playing and talking just like everyone.
It's so moving when I look at my son at 3 1/2 years old and am able to forget all the worries that I had for him when I first learned that he was deaf. Because of that I will aways be grateful to Depauls.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am the mother of an 8 year old girl who is profoundly deaf and hears with the use of bilateral cochlear implants. DePaul School for Hearing and Speech taught her to listen, to speak, and how to succeed in life. They provided our family with an immense amount of support and guidance that we desperately needed. My daughter attended Depaul for approximately three years and we were incredibly impressed with the educators and administrators at the school. I would highly recommend this organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our 8 year old daughter, Hannah, has severe/profound sensorineural hearing loss. After losing all residual hearing at age 4, she received bilateral cochlear implants. We were unhappy with the therapists she had in VA so we uprooted our family from Washington DC to Pittsburgh simply so Hannah could attend DePaul. She has just begun her third year at DePaul and is in 2nd grade. From the moment we stepped into his school, we realized it was an environment that would never give up on our daughter. Every teacher/faculty member has the students best interests at heart and they all go the extra mile for these kids. Not only does DePaul teach our deaf children to listen, learn and speak without the use of sign language, they teach the kids self advocacy as well. So, when they mainstream into a hearing classroom, they understand how to help themselves. We don't know where Hannah would be at this time in regards to her spoken language if DePaul wasn't here to help her and our family. She went from reading a few words to sitting in her room alone reading books to herself!
Hannah LOVES going to school everyday! She is flourishing before our eyes. DePaul is everything we could have wished for and so much more.
Chicas Family

Client Served

Rating: 5

My grandson Ezra, now 5 years old, was born with a genetic hearing loss. Our family was very fortunate to learn about and beome connected to Depaul School for Hearing and Speech very early in our journey to help Ezra learn to hear and speak to the best of his ability. There is nothing that Depaul didn't do to help him reach his full potential. When Ezra enrolled in the toddler program DePaul staff visited his child care teachers to make sure that they were doing all they could do support him in the classroom with typical children. As Ezra's hearing deteriorated DePaul encouraged our efforts to get a cochlear implant in his left ear so that he now processes sound with the implant and a traditional hearing aid. Ezra was enrolled in the DePaul preschool program for 2 years and is now mainstreamed to a regular kindergarten in the same school as his older brother. It would take 1,000 words to express my profound thanks for everything DePaul has done for Ezra and all of the children and families enrolled there--caring, competent staff, support for the extended family, professional interactions with other educational settings, professional development for the community, etc., etc., etc. are just a few of the strengths that cannot be surpassed by any other organization. We are so lucky to have DePaul in Pittsburgh. Perhaps the best testimony to its effectiveness is that I sat with other grandparents who would drive their grandchild on 5 hour round trips daily just to have them receive DePaul Services. Thank you, thank you!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our four year old son attends DePaul School for Hearing and Speech in Pittsburgh. At birth, our son failed his newborn hearing screening. A few days later after more testing we found out that our son had profound hearing loss due to a genetic disorder called Waardenburg Syndrome. At eleven months, our son received a cochlear implant and at 15 months our son started at DePaul School in their toddler program. As a parent and educator, I can't say enough about this school. From the very moment that we toured the school we knew that this school was changing children's lives! At DePaul, the children learn Listen and Spoken language. Through intense therapy and speech services at DePaul, children are able to eventually transition into regular education programs in their own community. DePaul School for Hearing and Speech is one of the greatest nonprofits in this country! The faculty and staff work hard everyday to help children who are deaf learn to listen and speak! Our son is now in the preschool and just received his second implant. We are so grateful and blessed that our son has had such wonderful success and is now able to Listen and Speak.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am the Mother of a 3 year old boy with Severe Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss. He wears hearing aids on both ears all waking hours of the day. He was diagnosed at birth. He did not pass the newborn hearing screening.
We started at DePaul by attending their Baby and Parent Support Groups that meet monthly when our son was an infant. Then, we enrolled our son into the Toddler Program when he was 18 months old. He currently is enrolled in their Preschool age program.
My husband and I knew from the get go we wanted a Listening and Spoken Language outcome for our son so he could mainstream to our neighborhood school and have every opportunity that a hearing child would have. Depaul has been our lifeline and support system on this journey. Through DePaul, we have been connected to families navigating the same journey we were/are. Plus, we have been connected to experts and staff to educate and guide us, as well.
Our son now has a voice! He has his own voice and language and listening skills that puts him on par with his typical hearing peers!

Jennifer281

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a mother of three children with Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder, a rare hearing loss which generates a disconnect between the Cochlea and the brain much like a radio signal disruption, coupled with a severe profound bilateral sensori-neural loss. All three children wear bilateral Cochlear Implants and one out of three also has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. These three children listen and speak with the use of their cochlear implants by using Listening and Spoken Language. This is the ability to teach a child with hearing loss to listen and speak without the use of sign language. My eight year old previously attended this program through Kindergarten at DePaul and is now in third grade, is attending his home school and is doing wonderfully there. He continues to progress in every area in his school and even excels above grade level in some areas of the language arts curriculum. My twin three year old sons are currently attending DePaul's preschool program and are continuing to improve in their language and listening skills everyday.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My grandson attended at DePaul School from the age of fifteen months to four years of age. Born profoundly deaf we had little hope of him ever hearing or having a normal life in the world of sound. As a one year old he received his cochlear implants and began school at DePaul shortly there after. This rest is nothing short of a miracle. Not only did he hear but his speech, language and socialization skyrocketed as a result of attending DePaul. Everyday was exciting, learning new things using all his senses. He loved school, looked forward to attending daily, and developed in many ways because of the wonderful, talented and caring teachers he had. I am certain that he could have never attained his maximum learning potential anywhere else. Thanks to the educational services provided by talented and caring teachers at DePaul he thrived. Today he is in a mainstreamed preschool functioning at or above the levels of his peers. DePaul School for Speech and Hearing provides students an individual, supportive, nurturing learning environment to help them develop and grow. What a wonderful learning environment for students to be a part of as they blossom with their hearing, speech and language developing confidence to become functionally interactive in the mainstream.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son was diagnosed with profound hearing loss at birth. We were looking for support groups in the Pittsburgh area and came across the DePaul School for Hearing and Speech. The minute we walked in the door, we knew DePaul was the right place for our son! Following his bilateral cochlear implant surgery at one year old, he was enrolled in the toddler program. He then attended summer school and the preschool program for two years. During his academic journey, there were many opportunities for us, his parents, to get the support we needed as he moved through his developmental milestones. This year, our four year little boy transitioned out of DePaul to our local preschool. We are thrilled with how far he has come and know that most of it could not have been possible without the knowledge, love, and support from the staff at DePaul.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have two young sons with genetic hearing loss and bilateral cochlear implants. We relocated to Pittsburgh from Chicago in late 2007, in large part, so our sons could attend DePaul School for Hearing and Speech. Now, 3 1/2 half years later, our sons have come so far. They have age-appropriate speech and have successfully transitioned from DePaul into mainstream classrooms. The teachers and staff at DePaul are knowledgeable, dedicated and compassionate. We are so grateful to everyone there.