Sunshine Cottage helps hearing impaired children live successful, self-reliant life

Sunshine Cottage logoImagine not being able to hear. No birdsongs or music from the radio, no family chatter or television news.

Now imagine you are a baby and you can’t tell anyone.

Today more than ever before children with hearing impairment can enjoy the same opportunities as their hearing friends. Early intervention is the key that opens this door for them.

Sunshine Cottage DSC_0038At Sunshine Cottage our staff and parents work together as a team to support the children we serve.  We expect our parents to work hard to teach their babies to listen and talk. Parent advisors in our Parent-Infant Program coach and educate parents to interact with their baby, to operate and care for the hearing technology their baby uses, and to understand the challenges and joys of parenthood.

Sunshine Cottage DSC_0054At Sunshine Cottage, we believe that if given the opportunity, children with hearing impairment can learn to speak and live a successful, self-reliant life. Our auditory-oral school uses a teaching approach  based on the belief that most hearing-impaired children can develop the ability to listen and talk if their education begins early and they learn to maximize the use of their residual hearing.

As little as 25 years ago it would have been considered a miracle for a child who was profoundly deaf or hard of hearing to learn how to listen and speak well; to hear a whisper; to sing a song; or to play a musical instrument. 25 years ago, it would have been very difficult to integrate a child who was deaf or hard of hearing into the mainstream education environment together with their hearing peers.

Sunshine Cottage DSC_0109Today, all that has changed, and what was previously considered a miracle is now a reality. Through early diagnosis and early intervention, the use of digital hearing aids and cochlear implants and, with the dedication of parents and the staff of Auditory Oral Schools, children who are deaf or hard of hearing can learn to hear and speak on an equal basis with their hearing peers. It is now possible for the majority of children with hearing loss to achieve an age appropriate learning level, and be fully integrated into the mainstream education system by the time they reach Kindergarten or First Grade.

Annually Sunshine Cottage serves 520 children from birth through high school. 38% of the families we serve have incomes below $35,000. Half of our population would qualify for free or reduced lunch if attending public school.  A diverse group, our children are 4% African American, 2% Asian, 53% Hispanic, 33% Caucasian, and 8% other. While most of our students are deaf or hard of hearing, our elementary school also accepts students with normal hearing. Students representing 9 counties and 17 school districts in the San Antonio area attend Sunshine Cottage.