September is the time for students of all ages to head back to school, and students at the Clarke School for Hearing and Speech in Canton have a special program to look forward to this coming year with residents of Hebrew SeniorLife’s Canton community, Orchard Cove.
Clarke provides children who are deaf or hard of hearing with the listening, learning and spoken language skills they need to succeed. Children served by Clarke use cochlear implants and hearing aids to maximize their access to sound, and Clarke's specially trained teachers, audiologists and speech-language pathologists help them develop listening, literacy and spoken language skills to maximize their learning. The school’s goal is to prepare children to succeed in mainstream classrooms alongside their hearing peers.
Over the summer, Orchard Cove residents and students from the Clarke School participated in a pilot program together during which residents helped students prepare for presentations to be shared at their Clarke graduation about their hearing loss and hearing devices. During this process, the two generations came together to learn from one another and build connections. Mim Reisberg of Orchard Cove participated in the pilot program and described her experience:
“I wanted to make a connection with one of the children, and I was searching for something we had in common. She’s aware she is different, and I wanted her to know she wasn’t alone. She was startled when I took out my hearing aid and showed it to her. As she held it in her hands, she saw that there were other people who had something similar to her. We created a bond and a friendship as a result of this connection from the beginning of the program.”
This fall, some of the Clarke School’s youngest students will come to Orchard Cove each week for 6 consecutive weeks to spend time with residents. Together, they’ll read stories, talk, work on projects together and more, all with the goal to help build relationships to support the learning needs of the students. In the winter months, Orchard Cove residents will have the opportunity to go to the school to assist in classrooms, and students will return to Orchard Cove in the spring for another 6 week collaborative program.
The Clarke/Orchard Cove partnership is one of nearly 50 ongoing collaborative initiatives that are part of Hebrew SeniorLife’s Adam and Matan Adelson Multigenerational (MG) Program. The MG Program is busy preparing for the new school year, when students ages one through 18 are provided with opportunities to connect with seniors across the full spectrum of care at all of HSL’s campuses in the Greater Boston area.
We hope youth and families in the community will join us as volunteers in the coming year with our Door to Door program, providing holiday themed gift packages and visiting with residents in many of our HSL campuses. Please see our flyer for details!