Katherine "Kitty" Cathcart Hamm, the mother of a deaf son, had a vision of a school where children who are deaf or hard of hearing could learn to speak and read, regardless of their family's financial means. The Junior League of Atlanta believed in her vision, and together they created it, opening the Junior League School for Speech Correction on June 6, 1938. It was begun with a single, rented room and served 32 students in its first year.

By 1960, when the name was changed to Atlanta Speech School, it had become a well-established, private, nonprofit organization. The School has expanded in unprecedented proportions over the years, both in size and in the scope of services offered. After several locations, it was relocated to its present 102,000 square foot Northside Parkway facility in 1967.

Each year, the School impacts the lives of approximately 1,400 children and adults through its four schools, five clinics and summer program, and more than 13,000 students throughout the State of Georgia through the work of its Rollins Center for Language & Literacy professional development program. Research-based instruction is supported by state-of-the-art technology in all classrooms and therapy rooms.

Historical Facts About the Atlanta Speech School

  • Opened the first audiology clinic south of Johns Hopkins
  • Initiated and assisted in developing the first speech therapy program for Atlanta Public Schools
  • Assisted Fulton County Schools with the development of a speech therapy program
  • Initiated a master's level teacher training program in communicative disorders with Emory University in 1947 (providing significant funding, personnel, and practicum site until 1967)
  • Began the forerunner of a learning disabilities program in the mid 1950's (Language Department)
  • Shifted the focus of the Language Department from severe problems to mild/moderate language and learning disabilities after federal legislation mandated special education services for handicapped children in the late 1970's in order to provide services to unserved children at a young age
  • Began dispensing hearing aids in the Audiology Clinic for the convenience of our clients
  • Established the first home training program for deaf infants in the country, funded as a demonstration project by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
The Atlanta Speech School is committed to being an integral part of the Atlanta community. This is reflected in our mission.
An Interview With Founder Kitty Hamm
Watch an interview with Mrs. Hamm from a 1950s WSB-TV special
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