Who We Are

Listen and Talk is a nonprofit educational program
that has been delivering
life-changing results for children who are deaf or hard of hearing, and their families for 20 years.
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About

2016 marks the 20th anniversary of Listen and Talk, and there is much to celebrate. Listen and Talk has grown from being a small center providing 13 children with auditory-verbal therapy, to its current position as a recognized leader of listening and spoken language services in the Northwest, affecting the lives of more than 200 families annually.

When Listen and Talk was first established in 1996, there were no comparable organizations in Washington State. Technological advancements by way of cochlear implants and digital hearing aids, and the advent of newborn hearing screening in Washington State, has increased demand for our services every year.

We currently offer a range of programs and services based in listening and spoken language approaches:

Most Listen and Talk “graduates”:

  • Enter their neighborhood school by kindergarten
  • Learn and compete side-by-side with hearing peers in regular classrooms
  • Converse and learn through spoken and written language
  • Reach their full language and learning potential and fully integrate into the wider community

Lifelong goals for each child include:

  • The ability to learn and gain information through listening
  • The ability to effectively communicate without the need for an interpreter
  • The ability to think and reason independently
  • The use of age-appropriate literacy skills for communication, learning and enjoyment
  • Intelligible speech
  • Problem solving skills
  • Social engagement

Over time, Listen and Talk has maintained its positive reputation and commitment to serving children with hearing loss because of its prudent management, laser focus on its mission, and the cultivation of relationships within government, health care, and other deaf education organizations.

Listen and Talk is responding as strongly as ever to the demand for our services and we are developing innovative and effective ways to support every child who needs our expertise. The future is bright for Listen and Talk and the families we support.

Annual Report

View our current annual report!

Mission

Listen and Talk teaches children with hearing loss to communicate and learn through listening and spoken language.

Vision

No child is limited by hearing loss.

Values

We value a family centered approach, a collaborative environment, a knowledgeable team, an equitable and inclusive environment, and a visionary spirit.


Here’s what families have to say about Listen and Talk:

About

2016 marks the 20th anniversary of Listen and Talk, and there is much to celebrate. Listen and Talk has grown from being a small center providing 13 children with auditory-verbal therapy, to its current position as a recognized leader of listening and spoken language services in the Northwest, affecting the lives of more than 200 families annually.

When Listen and Talk was first established in 1996, there were no comparable organizations in Washington State. Technological advancements by way of cochlear implants and digital hearing aids, and the advent of newborn hearing screening in Washington State, has increased demand for our services every year.

We currently offer a range of programs and services based in listening and spoken language approaches:

Most Listen and Talk “graduates”:

  • Enter their neighborhood school by kindergarten
  • Learn and compete side-by-side with hearing peers in regular classrooms
  • Converse and learn through spoken and written language
  • Reach their full language and learning potential and fully integrate into the wider community

Lifelong goals for each child include:

  • The ability to learn and gain information through listening
  • The ability to effectively communicate without the need for an interpreter
  • The ability to think and reason independently
  • The use of age-appropriate literacy skills for communication, learning and enjoyment
  • Intelligible speech
  • Problem solving skills
  • Social engagement

Over time, Listen and Talk has maintained its positive reputation and commitment to serving children with hearing loss because of its prudent management, laser focus on its mission, and the cultivation of relationships within government, health care, and other deaf education organizations.

Listen and Talk is responding as strongly as ever to the demand for our services and we are developing innovative and effective ways to support every child who needs our expertise. The future is bright for Listen and Talk and the families we support.

Annual Report

View our current annual report!

Mission

Listen and Talk teaches children with hearing loss to communicate and learn through listening and spoken language.

Vision

No child is limited by hearing loss.

Values

We value a family centered approach, a collaborative environment, a knowledgeable team, an equitable and inclusive environment, and a visionary spirit.


Here’s what families have to say about Listen and Talk:

BLOG

Kim Hamren and Maura Berndsen to Speak at WSLHA Convention

  Our Senior Birth to Three Specialist, Kim Hamren and Educational Director Maura Berndsen will present Improving Equity in Services at the Washington Speech Language Hearing Association Convention on October 13. Learn more about this event at the WSLHA website. About the presentation: There are stark disparities between families of color and white families accessing services and achieving great outcomes. […]

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GiveBIG to Listen and Talk on May 10

#GiveBIG to Listen and Talk! Donate Now >> https://www.givebigseattle.org/listen-and-talk Learn More >> http://mailchi.mp/listentalk/givebig2017

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Listen and Talk Alum to Compete at State Geography Bee

“In what country is Mount Everest located?” The answer is… Nepal! Thousands of schools in the United States participate in the annual National Geographic Bee using materials prepared by the National Geographic Society. The contest is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the subject, and increase public […]

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF LISTEN AND TALK

1975

Landmark Legislation

Landmark Legislation

1975

Landmark Legislation

The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (renamed IDEA in 1990) was signed into law by President Gerald Ford. This national piece of legislation ensures that children with disabilities have the opportunity to receive a free appropriate public education, just like other children.

1982

A Visionary Practice

A Visionary Practice

1982

A Visionary Practice

Celebrated deaf educator, Star Leonard-Fleckman opens a private therapy practice in Seattle to teach children with hearing loss to communicate and learn through listening and spoken language.

1990

New Technology

New Technology

1990

New Technology

Electronic hearing devices called cochlear implants are approved for children by The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

1992

Big Ideas

Big Ideas

1992

Big Ideas

The Oberkotter Foundation forms a committee of experts to mentor new programs around the U.S. committed to oral deaf education—a collaborative, family-centered approach designed to develop a child’s speech and listening abilities along with confidence and life skills.

1996

The Start of Something New

The Start of Something New

1996

The Start of Something New

With support from Patrick Stone and The Oberkotter Foundation, Star donates her practice of 14 years to create Listen and Talk—Education for Children with Hearing Loss, a 501c3 nonprofit organization located in Seattle, WA. Star wears many hats—founding director, educational director, fundraiser, teacher, outreach manager, secretary, and custodian. Listen and Talk operates out of an office in Laurelhurst and provides therapy services for 13 children.

1997

Sweet Relief

Sweet Relief

1997

Sweet Relief

As preschool classes are added, Maura Berndsen moves to Seattle to relieve Star of half her teaching load and help with program development. George Olson offers finance and business development expertise on a part-time basis. Kim Hamren joins the team to teach.

1996-99

Can’t Keep a Good Program Down

Can’t Keep a Good Program Down

1996-99

Can’t Keep a Good Program Down

The intrepid spirit that helped build Listen and Talk sustains the organization through a series of hardships including a flood after a heavy snow; tar drips ruining freshly painted walls; and office equipment and computers lost in a robbery.

2000

Bothell Expansion

Bothell Expansion

2000

Bothell Expansion

Relocating to The First Lutheran Church of Bothell accommodates rapidly growing classroom, therapy, and birth to three programs. George Olson moves into a full-time role as Executive Director. Star returns to her roots, working directly with parents and their young children. Maura becomes Educational Director. Susan Chapel is our first Speech-Language Pathologist. Hands-on internships begin for the next generation of listening and spoken language professionals.

2005

It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village

2005

It Takes a Village

Humbled by the miraculous scope of benevolence exhibited by community treasure, The University-Ballard Lions Club, Listen and Talk is selected to be a beneficiary of the Fund-A-Need portion of their annual auction, generating over $15,000 for our programs.

2006

Collaborative Services

Collaborative Services

2006

Collaborative Services

Through a unique partnership with Washington School for the Deaf (now CDHL) Listen and Talk begins providing consultative services to school teams across the state to ensure that children with hearing loss can compete side by side with their mates with normal hearing in their neighborhood schools.

2007

Moving Up

Moving Up

2007

Moving Up

Listen and Talk serves 78 children. Additional physical space is needed to accommodate program and staff growth. Prior to announcing his retirement, George Olson facilitates relocation from 3,500 square feet of shared space in Bothell to the exclusive use of 10,000 square feet in Seattle’s family-oriented Maple Leaf neighborhood. Suzanne Quigley, accomplished audiologist and longtime board member, becomes Listen and Talk’s Executive Director.

2010

Clear Sound

Clear Sound

2010

Clear Sound

The Harry Levinson Audiology Suite is established with the generous support of the Levinson family and other donors. Audiology services ensure that our on-site students keep hearing as well as possible so they can continue their listening and spoken language development.

2010

Sharing Expertise

Sharing Expertise

2010

Sharing Expertise

Starting in 2010, Listen and Talk provides professional support for the Tacoma Public School District as they expand their D/HH programs to include a groundbreaking listening and spoken language preschool.

2011

Digital Revolution

Digital Revolution

2011

Digital Revolution

Listen and Talk begins using video conferencing technology to implement services virtually. Virtual Home Visits are a growing component of the Birth to Three program, increasing access for families living in remote areas.

TODAY

From Humble Beginnings Come Great Things

From Humble Beginnings Come Great Things

TODAY

From Humble Beginnings Come Great Things

Original students served by Listen and Talk start journeys in higher education at Stanford University, Boston College, University of Washington, Stetson University, Cal Poly, DigiPen, Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and more. Listen and Talk has a staff of 36 serving over 200 children, families, and school teams per year, in Washington state and beyond.