Do the teachers and children in the Hamm Center use sign language?
No, the Hamm Center is committed to teaching children who are deaf or hard of hearing to communicate using spoken language, without relying on sign language. It is our belief that speech and language skills develop when the children rely on listening to understand what is said and talking to make themselves understood.
Do children in the Hamm Center eventually get mainstreamed into their home schools?
It is the goal of the Hamm Center to accelerate the language development of the deaf child so that he/she will "catch up" and be successful in the mainstream at his/her home school. Children are mainstreamed into their home schools or other private schools at different ages depending on the child's progress and development of language and communication skills. Some children are mainstreamed as early as preschool or kindergarten. Other children benefit from additional instruction in small groups for academics or language and are mainstreamed into the first or second grade. Each child is allowed to progress at his/her own rate and is given the support he/she needs to be successful. A child for whom an auditory-oral program is no longer appropriate may need to transfer to another program for children with hearing losses.
Are children enrolled in the Hamm Center grouped with other children with hearing loss, or are they mainstreamed full-time?
The Hamm Center provides classes that group children with hearing loss together to provide accelerated language stimulation thereby promoting spoken language development. Auditory training (practice and development of understanding speech through listening alone) is provided in the context of the classroom and in pull-out sessions during the day. Children are given opportunities to interact in mainstream classes (in the Kenan Preschool
or at nearby elementary schools) when they are able to fully participate and be successful. That is, when they have developed communication abilities that will enable them to understand what is said in the classroom and to make themselves understood by others. Other opportunities to interact with children with normal hearing occur through lunch, recess, and special activities (gym, music, etc.). Teachers set up reverse mainstreaming situations (children with normal hearing coming into Hamm Center classes) when appropriate.
Does the Hamm Center emphasize lipreading?
Listening alone is emphasized. Natural situations that allow for speechreading (lipreading) cues do provide aid when equipment is off or broken. Speechreading is not taught as a skill.
How much emphasis is placed on developing listening skills (auditory training or auditory-verbal therapy)?
In the Hamm Center, teachers provide auditory-verbal stimulation throughout the school day both in "real-life," natural, classroom situations and in pull out training-type sessions. Faculty work very closely with audiologists and ENTs to ensure best use of hearing in developing auditory skills. Parents are taught techniques for carry-over of auditory (and other) goals in their home. Maximizing each student's listening ability is the foundation of his/her language and speech development.
What are the criteria for acceptance into the Hamm Center?
The applicant must have a documented hearing loss, a speech and language delay, normal cognitive ability, and no other significant handicapping condition that would keep him/her from learning to talk. Another factor in acceptance is whether the applicant would benefit most from learning in available classes or groups.
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Is financial aid available?
Acceptance into the Hamm Center is independent of ability to pay. A financial aid fund is maintained to help pay school tuition for those who are eligible for financial assistance. If enrollment is dependent upon tuition reduction, applications may be requested for financial assistance and/or a tuition credit assignment for parents.