CEID came to life in the 1980s, a decade that saw technology become increasingly intertwined in our daily lives. Computers were just beginning to enter education and personal spheres. For our homes, computers came in the shape of word processors and the first home video game consoles.
At the same time, culturally, we were reminiscing about much earlier days. In fashion and interior design, oak country furniture, colorful, flowered calico fabric, prairie skirts and petticoats made a comeback. Weekday afternoons, children would rush home after school to watch “Little House on the Prairie” on TV. Though set in the late 1800s’, the show explored contemporary issues and attitudes on wide ranging themes like adoption, poverty, and prejudice of all types.
Introduced internationally in 1980, the Rubik's Cube became an overnight sensation. Everyone wanted one! Something about the little cube captured everyone's attention and within a couple years more than 100 million cubes were sold.
Technology was also changing for hearing aids. Though it would be a while before hearing aids with digital signal processors would be available to individuals, research and applications were beginning to open up new possibilities beyond analog devices which were limited as they amplified sound indiscriminately.
TIME TO CELEBRATE, REFLECT, AND CONNECT: 2020 AND OUR 40TH ANNIVERSARY YEAR
Forty years ago, early intervention services for infants and toddlers were NOT a part of the legislation that governed special education services. Generally, people were not yet considering the importance of a child’s experiences in the first five years of life, and how they directly affected brain development as well as the long-term impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed.
Thank goodness for visionaries! When Jill Ellis co-founded CEID in 1980, she recognized critical gaps in our educational system in serving young children who were Deaf or Hard of Hearing. She saw an opening for thoughtful, informed teaching that also provided substantial support for the entire family, highlighting the critical importance of early language development.
Thus CEID began as a federally funded demonstration program for infants and toddlers who were Deaf or Hard of Hearing. By taking advantage of emerging hearing aid technology while working with very young children early, Jill knew that teaching children (and importantly, their families) numerous ways to communicate would transform lives. Jill and her colleagues found that misunderstood behavioral and learning issues that limited child development outcomes could be nearly eliminated with knowledgeable, specialized support from teachers and families.
Decades later, CEID remains the only licensed facility in the Bay Area offering multidisciplinary home and center based education, audiology and support services to individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. CEID and our growing group of staff and supporters have evolved our programs and services to meet the needs of our community. In recent years we’ve grown our services to offer hearing testing and hearing aid dispensing to children and, due to unmet needs in the community, then expanding to serve people of all ages with suspected hearing loss. We are proud to be one of the few providers offering specialized high quality hearing health care services to children and adults. Moreover, we are proud to provide all of our services at the highest of quality to people of all income levels.
As we turn 40 this year, we celebrate and recognize what we have achieved and remain focused on advancing knowledge, programs and services that help individuals, families and our community thrive. This year we will be sharing more “CEID stories”—we hope you’ll share your story with us, too!
Looking forward to the next 40 years of CEID, we know our adaptability, flexibility, scrappiness, creativity and persistence will continue to serve us well as we navigate the pressures of operating a non-profit organization in the Bay Area. With increased competition for precious funding sources, we struggle to keep pace with increased operations costs on top of the skyrocketing costs of living that directly impact families, patients and our staff.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to ensure that the phenomenal services of CEID continue to positively impact our community for years to come.
At the Center for Early Intervention on Deafness (CEID) campus, teachers and specialists offer exemplary care every day to participants of all ages. But some of CEID’s services cannot be provided in a classroom or an audiology clinic. Thankfully, CEID employs Shawn Renee’ Robinson, a Home Visit Specialist & Teacher of the Deaf with a background in Human Development and extensive experience in early childhood development. With this expertise, she offers care and coaching families in their homes through CEID’s Home Visit Program.
Travelling throughout the greater Bay Area, Shawn Renee’ provides home based services to babies and toddlers who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing (D/HH) or Deaf with additional needs. Shawn Renee’ supports family members to develop communication through visual language, spoken language and promotes social-emotional development. She provides parents with training and information related to their child’s specific hearing loss. She works with parents and families on how to interact with their young children using strategies that encourage language development and social responses, specific to their individual auditory needs. Perhaps most importantly, she helps parents and other family members to identify what resources they need to best support their child—and then makes those connections.
Raising a child who is D/HH requires unique attention outside of a school or daycare. This can result in some parents, especially those who are unfamiliar with deafness, feeling overwhelmed when they receive the initial hearing loss diagnosis. Shawn Renee’ finds that teaching in the home can help with the adjustment.
“To receive the information that your baby is going to be a little different than you thought, it can be jarring. My being in their territory gives them a safety net,” says Shawn Renee’.
Daisy Lopez, a mother of a child who is hard of hearing, has worked with Shawn Renee’ weekly since her daughter was just four months old. Lopez remembers how overwhelmed she felt before starting the Home Visit Program.
As Daisy shared via text, “being that I was a new mom and my daughter already had a long list of diagnoses, I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know how I would be able to help my daughter. When Shawn Renee’ started therapies, she introduced tactile signing, and that changed everything. I was finally able to communicate with my daughter in a way that she can understand. Language is invaluable and I will always thank Shawn Renee’ for that.”
Shawn Renee’ takes the most pride in seeing a parent’s amazement at their child’s accomplishments. “When (parents) are floored by what their kids can do-- when their eyes light up and you see that they get it-- that is amazing,” says Shawn Renee’ proudly.
Shawn Renee’ has a special connection to CEID. She first became involved with the agency when her son, who is deaf, was a student in the 1990’s. She enjoyed her time as a CEID parent so much that she decided to join the organization as a staff member in 2016.
Although the majority of Shawn Renee’s full-time work is spent in families’ homes and not at the CEID Center, she feels incredibly supported by CEID’s team and fortunate to work for such an organization. Shawn Renee’ highlights the closeness and easygoingness within the agency in particular.
“The philosophy of CEID is that we are one big family. If I need something, I know I can call Jessica (Salaam), I can call Anna (Phillips), or I can call Cindy (Dickeson),” says Shawn Renee’. “Cindy is our Executive Director and those titles sound great in the real world, but none of us wear our titles like that because we are, in essence, a family.”
Through the Home Visit Program, Shawn Renee’ brings this family into many deserving homes.