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Center for Hearing & Speech

23 Employees | 103 Years

Center for Hearing & Speech

Mission Statement

Transforming lives by empowering communication.

Impact

The Center for Hearing & Speech ensures access to essential communication services in the Greater St. Louis Region. Through our audiology clinics, speech-language services, early identification/intervention, and education and advocacy, we ensure that the ability to pay is never a barrier to communication services. We also take most major insurance and accept private-pay patients.

Speech-language skills are the core building blocks for preschool and school-aged children. By providing low-cost or free speech-language therapy that children can easily access, the Voices for Children program creates a foundation for success for children living in underserved areas and helps children overcome educational and behavioral challenges due to speech-language deficits. Many children living in under-served areas face considerable barriers that prevent them from receiving the critical speech services that they deserve. Our goal is to remove those barriers so every child can have access to those services.

We meet the Dana Brown Charitable Trust mission with our programs and services that directly serve children. The grant’s impact on our organization has most recently been in support of the Voices for Children program. This program is essential to build communication skills necessary for the children’s social, emotional, and socio-economic growth.

Speech-language skills support the development of reading skills and allow a child to interact in positive, productive ways with classmates and teachers. Untreated speech-language delays and disorders correlate with poor behavioral outcomes that can impact long-term emotional and intellectual growth and financial earning potential. Children from low-income families are at high risk due to limited access to beneficial speech-language therapy.

This program serves low-income preschool and elementary children who have diagnosed or suspected speech or language disorders. A speech disorder can involve difficulty with pronunciation or articulation while a language disorder occurs when a person has trouble understanding information or sharing their thoughts, ideas, and feelings. A speech or language disorder must be accurately diagnosed and treated, ideally as early as possible. Children who are not diagnosed and treated can experience negative academic impacts. It’s important to know if the child is struggling with the educational material itself or if the issue is with receptive/expressive language. Speech/language disorders vary widely and can be difficult for family members to recognize or understand. For families with limited incomes or who face transportation or other socioeconomic barriers, accessing speech therapy can be a challenge.

The Center currently serves around 275 children but is working to return to pre-Covid levels when we served about 500 children annually.