The Joanne Parrish Knight Family Center at Central Institute for the Deaf

The Joanne Parrish Knight Family Center at Central Institute for the Deaf

NLD ID #88948

Contact Information

825 S. Taylor Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110

Primary Contact

Melany Nitzsche

(314) 977-0163

Hours of Operation

8:30 - 5:00

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Program Overview

CID’s mission is to teach children who are deaf and hard of hearing to listen, talk, read and succeed. We partner with families and collaborate with universities, educators and other professionals worldwide to help children communicate to achieve their fullest potential.

For over 100 years, CID has been recognized as a thought leader in the field of deaf education. Our specialized staff includes teachers of the deaf, pediatric audiologists, speech language pathologists and an occupational therapist. We maintain a 1:4 teacher-to-student ratio in order to provide a highly specialized education. Our goal is to teach children to listen and speak without the use of sign language so that they can graduate from CID and attend their local school, learning alongside their typically-hearing peers.

According to the National Deaf Education Project, children with hearing loss who use sign language gain only 1.5 years in literacy skill between the ages of 8 and 18. Test results of the children at CID indicate that a much better academic outcome is available through listening and spoken language. In our last school year, 93% of returning pre-k students and 87% of primary students made at least one year’s progress in a single year. Within this same group, 53% of pre-k and 25% of primary students made more than one year’s progress. This is an excellent outcome, as it means we are closing the educational gap for these children. For most of our children, this success starts in our Family Center which serves children from birth to age three.

The Joanne Parrish Knight Family Center (infancy – age 3) is the fastest growing program at CID, with enrollment that has more than doubled since 2004. Due to the success of newborn hearing screenings, our Family Center is typically the initial contact for families whose child has been recently diagnosed. Through the Family Center, a team of professionals provides multiple services for both parents and their child.

Families have counseling sessions, often weekly, with parent educators. These sessions typically take place in the families’ home and are designed to help parents of hearing-impaired children understand hearing loss and learn techniques to teach their child how to listen and talk. Our professionals use the families’ regular routines like making dinner and going to bed to teach parents how to create meaningful, daily opportunities for language.

Depending on their progress, when children turn two years of age they may be eligible to attend one of our on-site toddler classes. These toddler classes are designed in conjunction with family sessions to maximize each child’s potential for development through individualized direct instruction and group learning opportunities.

Family Center Outcomes

CID’s goal is for 80% of children to make one year’s progress in one year’s time or score within the average range as compared to typical-hearing peers in the domain area of communication, as indicted by the DAYC-2. As of August, 2015, 78% of children reached this goal.

For our toddler class, our goal is for 100% of students to increase their communication skills during related play in one semester’s time as indicated by the CID Preschool Symbolic Play Rating Form. As of spring, 2015, 92% met this goal. On average, students mastered 12 new skills and had 5 new emerging skills.

For the parents in our Family Center, our goal is for 80% of caregivers to demonstrate improvement in at least 4 of the 7 domain areas on the CID Domains of Knowledge Family Inventory. As of February 2015, 93% of caregivers met this goal.

Our most important measure of success, however, is what our students are able to achieve in life once they leave CID. Our graduates have gone on to more than 160 colleges and universities including Princeton, Vassar, Harvard and Yale. They have become architects, social workers, lawyers, pilots and engineers—and their families credit CID with providing the foundation for their success. Collectively our students are proof of our mission—that children who are deaf and hard of hearing can learn to listen, talk, read and succeed.

Cost Info

All services provided through our Joanne Parrish Knight Family Center are provided at no cost to families. On average, the cost to provide these services is $11,000 per year. We collect an average of 23% of the cost to educate each child through reimbursement from state-funded early intervention programs; the remainder of the cost is funded through the generosity of our community.

This program listing was last updated: February 25, 2016.

All information has been provided by this organization. Do you see outdated information? Please contact NLD Support.

Education services

  • Read and write better
  • Help my child learn
  • Learn English
  • Improve my math skills
  • Improve my technology skills

Instruction Type

  • In-person