Contribution from TD Charitable Foundation Gives Babies
with Hearing Loss a Sound Start
When TD Bank representatives, Tara K. Jean and Ruth Wilson arrived at the Sound Start early intervention class for parents and infants, the room was literally crawling with babies. Jean, Assistant Vice President and Store Manager of the TD Store in Denville and Wilson, Vice President Retail Market Manager, Morris County, simply took off their shoes and joined the children on the floor to make a rather unconventional, but very welcome check presentation.
On behalf of the TD Charitable Foundation, Jean and Wilson presented $5,000 to The Lake Drive Foundation to support the comprehensive early intervention services provided by The Sound Start Program for babies who are deaf and hard of hearing. On that particular day, families were meeting with Sound Start specialists in a classroom at The Lake Drive School for Children with hearing loss in Mountain Lakes to better understand their child’s needs and learn how to facilitate their child’s achievement.
The group meets weekly for support and education provided by a teacher of the deaf, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist and pediatric audiologist. Additionally, Sound Start professionals provide individual therapies in the families’ homes throughout northern and central New Jersey. At 18 months, toddlers in Sound Start can attend a full day intensive, inclusive nursery program also held at Lake Drive School. Learning side by side with hearing peers, at age three they graduate ready for preschool at Lake Drive or in their home communities.
“Ideally, babies identified with hearing loss should receive amplification and start early intervention by no later than six months old,” explains Dr. Jennifer Steinruck, the program’s audiologist. “We know the first three years are critical for brain development. But hearing aids and cochlear implants are not a miracle cure. It takes intensive therapies and committed parent involvement for children to learn to listen, speak, and attain communication skills comparable to their hearing peers. But we know it can be done.”
Handing out green TD Santa hats, Jean told the families “On behalf of TD Bank and the TD Charitable Foundation we’re proud to support The Sound Start Program. Ruth and I are here today because people in this community are more than customers to us. And as a parent of a toddler myself, I truly appreciate how important The Sound Start Program must be to your families.” Since its inception in 2002, the TD Charitable Foundation has contributed over $88 million in grant funding to non profit organizations in TD communities.
Founded in 1969, Sound Start has helped more than 1,000 infants and toddlers who are deaf and hearing impaired from throughout northern and central New Jersey develop the communication skills to achieve in school and fulfill their potential.
Despite the proven results, state funding covers less than one third of The Sound Start Program’s life changing services.
The Lake Drive Foundation for Children Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to ensuring babies with hearing loss get the quality early intervention services they need, regardless of their families’ ability to pay. Through grants from organizations such as TD Charitable Foundation, individual donations, and events, The Lake Drive Foundation raises the funds necessary to maintain the dramatically life changing program.
Sound Start operates under the auspices of The Lake Drive Programs in Mountain Lakes which offers New Jersey’s most comprehensive continuum of educational opportunities for children with hearing loss from birth through high school graduation.
For more information about The Sound Start Program, newborn hearing screening, signs of hearing loss, or to make a donation visit www.lakedrivefoundation.org.