SPEAK Classroom

Last Updated: 4/21/2022 6:39 PM

Stark Project for Educating Audition in Kids (SPEAK)

Stark County Educational Service Center is pleased to offer SPEAK, a state-of-the-art classroom for children with hearing loss. The classroom is an extension of the Early Childhood Preschool programs. Located at Taft Elementary School in Plain Local, SPEAK began operating in January 2006. 

SPEAK is one of three public preschool programs in the State of Ohio to offer an auditory oral preschool classroom where children with hearing loss learn to listen and talk. This unique program provides an educational option for parents who have chosen spoken language as the primary means of communication for their child with hearing loss. 

Mission: Teach children with hearing loss to listen, speak and understand when someone is speaking to them. 

Primary Goal: Prepare children to return to their home school district and be educated with their hearing peers as soon as they are ready. 

Components of SPEAK necessary in the development of auditory oral communication skills:
  • Instruction is provided by a licensed Teacher of the Deaf trained in Auditory/Oral Education. 
  • The curriculum provides highly specialized instruction in speech, language, and listening skills, while adhering to the preschool curriculum set forth by the Ohio Department of Education. 
  • With appropriate hearing aids, cochlear implants, and hearing assistive technology, children are taught to use their residual hearing to develop spoken language.
In the preschool classroom, attention is given to developing the young child’s spoken communication, social, cognitive, and perceptual-motor skills through individual and whole group activities. To foster oral communication and provide age appropriate language models, hearing classmates are included in each class. 

SPEAK Support Services
  • Audiological services
  • Speech-language therapy
  • Auditory training sessions
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Adaptive physical education
  • Psychological services
  • Social services
  • Nutritional services

One critical component of a quality auditory oral program for children with hearing loss is on-site access to audiological testing and maintenance. Children with hearing loss who are developing spoken language need to be able to hear appropriately before they are able to learn. Normal hearing or managed hearing loss is the foundation for academic success. Stark County Educational Service Center's state-of-the-art Audiology Center, which is also located at Taft Elementary, allows the educational audiologists to assess, diagnose, and manage hearing loss in children of all ages.


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Additional Info


Quota International of Massillon, OhioCharitable Trust with generous support from the Timken Foundation

Thanks to our generous donors, Stark County Educational Service Center’s educational audiologists have the essential equipment to help ensure that all children have access to sound so that they can develop academic skills.

Donations include:
  • a soundproof testing booth as well as the following diagnostic equipment;
  • a clinical audiometer that allows for assessment of hearing loss for students;
  • Visual Reinforcement Audiometry to assist with assessing hearing loss in very young children who cannot be evaluated with standard procedures;
  • an immittance bridge which assesses middle ear status in children of all ages;
  • Otoacoustic Emissions, which provides an objective measurement of inner ear function that does not require a response from the patient;
  • Auditory Brainstem testing and Auditory Steady State Response testing, which objectively assesses the brainstem’s response to sound;
  • a hearing aids analyzer to electroacoustically evaluate hearing aid and frequency modulation systems.



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