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The Finer Properties of the Valley of the Sun

The Finer Properties of the Valley of the Sun

Thunderbirds Charities provide $80K grant to Desert Voices for SLP positions

Desert Voices strive to give children a voice one sound at a time

Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Desert Voices has been granted $80,000 from Thunderbirds Charities to fund two speech language pathologist positions, officials there say.

Desert Voices is Arizona’s only Listening and Spoken Language program for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. More than 350 young people have benefited from the programs offered since the doors opened in 1997, according to a press release.

The full-time SLPA, school officials report, gives Desert Voices flexibility in staffing as they can handle classroom teaching, too. This not only strengthens the school’s ability to work with children individually on their language skills but also provides flexibility in covering for teachers of the deaf when needed and as numbers of students increase during the school year, according to Desert Voices Executive Director Scott Smith.

“We are grateful to Thunderbirds Charities for funding two critical positions. Our students, who are all deaf or hard of hearing, will receive from our Listening and Spoken Language professionals the required skills needed to meet age-appropriate language, literacy, and social-emotional milestones,” he told the Arizona Digital Free Press.

“We are able to hire two bilingual providers allowing us to connect with more families. This grant is a game-changer as Desert Voices will be able to serve more families while maintaining the low student to Listening and Spoken Language professional ratio that has proven so successful in achieving excellent outcomes.”

Desert Voices strive to give children a voice one sound at a time

SLPs provide Listening and Spoken Language instruction to support the child’s educational goals and in helping them reach their goals. The direct instructional services include language, speech, fluency, literacy, and articulation. They also provide educational diagnostic services for their students, support services to parents of toddler and preschool students, and take the lead as case manager for families in Parent Coaching.

“Thunderbirds Charities is proud to support the wonderful work that Desert Voices provides to our deaf or hard of hearing community,” said Michael Golding, president of Thunderbirds Charities. “Every child deserves a bright future, and we are thrilled to support new Speech Language Pathologist positions which will allow Desert Voices to serve more families who are in need of these critical services.”

The mission of Desert Voices is to teach each child the oral language skills needed to talk and understand when spoken to. The students acquire the skills to listen, talk and read as they progress through the programs, which serve 0 to mainstream kindergarten or first grade. Desert Voices offers a comprehensive listening and spoken language program which includes Parent Coaching, Jump Start, Toddler and Preschool.

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