About 20% of Americans (48 million people) are living with some degree of hearing loss. With such a large portion of the population represented by this statistic, it is important to recognize the unique needs of deaf and hard of hearing individuals and make an effort to better understand their culture, forms of communication, and the challenges they face. In observation of September being Deaf Awareness Month, we’d like to take this opportunity to honor our client, The Learning Center for the Deaf (TLC)
, for the amazing work they do.
Established in 1970, TLC is a nationally recognized leader in educational, therapeutic, and community services for deaf and hard of hearing children and adults. This forward-thinking organization was the first school in Massachusetts to use sign language as the primary language of instruction. They are also a pioneer in bilingual-bicultural education. Headquartered on a 14-acre campus in Framingham, MA, TLC provides comprehensive educational and support services to over 1,500 children and adults annually, from 94 communities in Massachusetts and 15 additional states. TLC is the largest provider of services to deaf and hard of hearing children in New England and is the largest employer of the deaf in Massachusetts.
Their mission is “to ensure that deaf and hard of hearing students achieve their full potential in an educational environment where language and communication are keys to building competence, character, and community.” TLC’s offerings include a full-service audiology clinic, with more than 1,000 patients visiting each year; on-campus services to children from infancy through high school; consultation and support services for students in local public schools; and American Sign Language classes with over 100 students from the community enrolled each semester.
“There is a misunderstanding about deaf and hard of hearing individuals, but the truth is they are just as talented, intelligent, and capable as individuals that do not have auditory challenges. There may be a difference in the way they communicate, but it is not a handicap or disability. The students in our programs and the patients we work with really exemplify that,” said Judy Vreeland, executive director of TLC. “I am so proud of the community we have at TLC; there is a strong dedication to learning, an amazing support network, and a lot of fun happening each and every day.”