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About Our School | History

The Auditory Oral School of San Francisco has been committed to the successful development of spoken language in children with hearing loss for more than fifty years. Currently the school is located in the Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California in specially designed acoustically appropriate classrooms, therapy rooms and observation rooms for families and professionals constructed in 1980. The school has consistently offered students instruction by a skilled and experienced teaching staff. The San Francisco Hearing and Speech Center and the Hearing Society of the Bay Area merged in 2005 to become the Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California.

The Center has always provided ongoing opportunities for its school program staff to be at the forefront of educational theory and practice in teaching children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The Auditory Oral School continues to meet the special needs of our  students in these unique times of exciting educational advancements and technological innovations throughout all of these years. The Auditory Oral School of San Francisco is proud of its ongoing commitment to excellence in the development of spoken language in children with hearing loss.

The Auditory Oral School began in the fall of 1953 as the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program of the San Francisco Hearing and Speech Center with a preschool program for “hearing handicapped” children in the basement of Mt. Zion Hospital with funds from the Junior League of San Francisco supporting the program. In 1954, the preschool was moved to the West Side Christian Church and to the Unitarian Church on Franklin Street and the program was funded through the Infant Shelter, Inc.

The preschool program moved into the Presbyterian Medical Center Annex in 1962 and the Center moved into new quarters on the sixth floor in January of 1963 – the SFHSC programs were all under the same roof through grants from the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare and from the Infant Shelter, Inc. It was the best of all worlds to have audiology support onsite for children in the classroom programs to optimize each child’s ability to hear.

In November 1963, the Center was approved for registration with the American Board of Examiners for services both in speech pathology and Audiology, one of the first centers in the country to receive such approval. It was the beginning of the collaboration of audiologists, speech therapists and teachers of the deaf and communicative delays that continues to provide these combined services at the Center.

In the early 1990s new Federal Laws regarding the education of children with special needs became the mandate of all educators. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program already had services in place to support students in mainstream educational placements and had been practicing mainstreaming for many years as children became ready to move into regular education classrooms.

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program had its first student with a cochlear implant (CI) placed in an auditory oral classroom program in the early 1990s. Since that first student the program staff has extensive experience teaching students with CIs and supporting students with in the mainstream from first grade through high school who have CIs. The staff also sees adults with CIs for auditory rehabilitation following implantation. The program continues on at the state of the art in hearing aid and cochlear implant auditory rehabilitation and also provides consultation to school settings regarding the use of all types of amplification for students with a hearing loss in regular education classrooms.

On May 30, 2003 the school was proud to receive the following special proclamation from Mayor Willie Brown:

WHEREAS, the City and County of San Francisco traditionally honors individuals and organizations that have achieved excellence; and

WHEREAS, I am proud to commend The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at San Francisco Hearing and Speech Center on fifty years of providing educational services to children who are deaf or hard of hearing; and

WHEREAS, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program is committed to nurturing and developing spoken language, strong auditory training and language development in their students who are deaf or hard of hearing; and

WHEREAS, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program continues to provide outstanding outreach services for children who are deaf or hard of hearing and for their families in San Francisco; and

WHEREAS, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program is a fully accredited school committed to supporting and providing ongoing staff development and training to best meet the needs of their students who are deaf or hard of hearing in a new era of ongoing advances in hearing technology; and

WHEREAS, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program remains committed to their students and to ensuring that their families’ hopes and dreams become each student’s reality; now

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that I, Willie L. Brown, Jr., Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco, in recognition of the efforts of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program for fifty years on behalf of the education of children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families of our City, do hereby proclaim May 30, 2003 as…

 

San Francisco Hearing and Speech Center’s

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program Day IN SAN FRANCISCO!