CHOICES Delaware visited a public school program in New Jersey, a public school program in Pennsylvania, a privately run early intervention program in Pennsylvania, and a state school for the deaf in order to bring back ideas for improving Delaware.

Clarke School, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Clarke Pennsylvania, which opened in 2001, is the newest campus of the nation’s oldest oral school for the deaf. Clarke does not use ASL. Instead it provides intensive therapy designed to “jump start” the listening and spoken language abilities of very young children with severe/profound hearing loss in order to make them ready for a mainstream school environment by age 6. Read more here.

The Communications Continuum of Bergen County, Midland Park, New Jersey. The Bergen County program accommodates all language modalities. A school in Hackensack provides an ASL environment for those who want one. Students who desire listening and spoken language may attend schools with concentrated services designed to develop their skills until they can move to their local schools, where they continue to receive support from itinerant teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing. Here is the trip report.

The Intermediate Unit of Berks County, Reading, Pennsylvania. Berks County, Pennsylvania has many similarities to Pennsylvania. It serves a mix of cultures in urban,suburban, and rural communities. It has 18 school districts (Delaware has 19) It is almost 50% as large as Delaware geographically and has slightly more than 50% of Delaware’s school population. In its 3-5-year-old population, Berks County accommodates both ASL learners and those pursuing a listening and spoken language (LSL) path by grouping the ASL learners in a morning session and the LSL learners in the afternoon.  A Clarke School employee who lives in the Reading area provides the LSL instruction.  Here is more information.

In addition, there are other programs elsewhere in the United States that provide models that Delaware might consider.

Option Schools, Inc.  The mission of Option Schools is to advance excellence in listening and spoken language education by providing services that assist schools and programs to increase their effectiveness, efficiency and ability to teach children who are deaf or hard of hearing to listen and talk.  Clarke School is part of the Option network.

The State of Idaho.  Like Delaware, Idaho traveled a bumpy road to achieving choice for families affected by childhood hearing loss.