WOOD DALE, IL. — A music program at a suburban school is helping young children with hearing loss build their communication skills and confidence.
Music To My Ears is a partnership between Merit School of Music and the Foundation for Hearing and Speech Resources (FHSR) at Child’s Voice in Suburban Wood Dale.
Wendy Deters is the executive producer there.
“We believe that music actually enhances kids ability to listen and talk,” Deters said.
Deters said Child’s Voice is a listening and spoken language program for children with hearing loss.
Sally Blandon with Merit helped to develop the curriculum and teaches classes for the program that launched in January 2020, building on research, showing the many benefits of music for children with hearing loss.
“We’ve had children that start out in early intervention and they’re scared to vocalize or they might just whisper quietly and then after having music for a couple of weeks and sometimes months they will vocalize” Blandon said.
The young students have hearing aids or cochlear implants.
Kristen Van Dyke, executive producer of FHSR, was able to see the impact of music on language development with her own son who is now a teenager.
She said more programs like this are needed for children with hearing loss.
“To see them come in shy and reticent to participate and see that self-esteem blossom and to hear their language blossom and their speech patterning, it’s incredible to watch those kids grow,” Van Dyke said.
Nine students graduated from Child’ Voice this weekend.
“It’s not necessarily they’re going to sing these pitches exact but it’s more about them accessing their own music in their own body and making those really beautiful sounds and them gaining this confidence of I can make sounds I get to hear myself express myself through sound,” Blandon said.
The Merit School of Music is hosting its annual gala Wednesday at the Four Seasons Chicago.
For more information:
Weblinks: Home – Merit School of Music (meritmusic.org)
Child’s Voice – Teaching children with hearing loss to listen and talk. (childsvoice.org)