New partnership helps students who are deaf or hard of hearing - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New partnership helps students who are deaf or hard of hearing

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The integrated learning program at Heuser is new but already popular with students, teachers and parents. The integrated learning program at Heuser is new but already popular with students, teachers and parents.
LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Deaf and hard of hearing children are learning side-by-side with students who don't have hearing loss. It is part of a program at Heuser Hearing and Language Academy.  

The goal is to help all of the students learn and grow.

"We drive 166 miles a day, to and from Cave City, Kentucky to Louisville, Kentucky," said George Briggs, who is a parent. "My little boy is hearing impaired and attends the Heuser Hearing and Language Academy School here."

Briggs' likes watching his son learn side-by-side with traditional students.

"It's amazing to see him interact and to have the socials skills to sort of make everything sort of click in his language development," Briggs said.

"It is called reverse mainstreaming," said Brett Bachmann, President & CEO of the Heuser Hearing Institute.

The integrated learning program at Heuser is new but already popular with students, teachers and parents.

Bachmann explained, "What that means is that our kids who are born deaf and hard of hearing do need that opportunity to socialize with those kiddoes that they will be surrounded with once they leave our school."

So from the lunchroom to the classroom, students who are deaf or hard of hearing have constant interaction with their traditional peers.

"We wanted to get them that social and emotional experience so that when they do mainstream -- they're used to those kids -- interacting with them," said Bachmann.

Unlike some children, it does not just go in one ear and out the other.

"Those kids that are their hearing peers are actually starting to learn sign language, are being exposed to those kids with cochlear implants and hearing aids so when they get to school, they've seen that too," Bachmann said.

The traditional peers are also exposed to some other first. That includes the Louisville Orchestra and Ballot.

Bachmann said, "Each of their organizations send people here and they work with them...and the hearing peers get that same benefit."

A benefit and partnership that George Briggs believes will help his son make a smooth transition when the time comes.

"Hopefully this school will do everything in their power to make it work," said Briggs.

The program is for three to six-year-olds and open to anyone heading to JCPS.

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