Adam Ballent with his parents, Alice and Tom, at his 2014 graduation from Marquette University.

In 1998, Adam Ballent graduated from Child’s Voice at the age of 6. He then transitioned to his neighborhood school. Now, 22 years and a degree in Communications and Information Technology later, Adam now works for Bright Horizons.

In 1996, Tom and Alice Ballent helped open the doors to Child’s Voice, then located in Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in Elmhurst.  In November, Tom and Alice will receive a “Dukes of Distinction” award from their former high school, York High School in Elmhurst, recognizing them as Distinguished Alumni in part for their contribution to establishing Child’s Voice in the community.

The Ballents were one of six founding families that wanted a strong listening and spoken language opportunity for their children. While Child’s Voice has grown and changed, the mission has remained constant: to empower children with hearing loss to be successful in all educational and social settings.

Child’s Voice grew quickly, serving more families each year. Last year, all the programs at Child’s Voice supported more than 330 families. The largest graduation class to date included 19 students that transitioned to their mainstream schools, poised for success!

As the Child’s Voice reputation of success grew, the professional staff expanded as well. This staff has grown from the initial Teachers of the Deaf, Speech Language Pathologists, teaching assistants, and support staff to Advancement and Business professionals along with a social worker and a music teacher. Program positions are highly sought after by Speech Language Pathologists and Teachers of the Deaf. Many staff hold the highest certification available in listening and spoken language, the LSLS Certificate. Staff are engaged in their professional communities, serving with partner organizations such as the A.G. Bell Association, Options Schools, Inc., Illinois Supervisors of Programs for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals, the State of Illinois Newborn Hearing Screening Board, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

In 1999, the addition of the Early Intervention Program (birth to 3-year old services) was an answer to a significant need for families. Often a first step in a baby’s journey with hearing loss, our center-based and home-based therapy services focus on creating a partnership with parents and caregivers.  This helps our babies and toddlers learn to listen and to speak through daily routines, interaction with family, and play.

The Audiology Center at Child’s Voice (opened in 2008) was a necessity to the success of our students. Without efficient access to sound, our students cannot learn the tools they need to speak and develop language skills. The Audiology Center supports not only current families, but also alumni of Child’s Voice and outside pediatric patents. Technological advances have improved the ability to provide earlier diagnosis of hearing loss. Child’s Voice audiology center also provides auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing. October is national Audiology month — a great reminder to get your hearing checked!

The passion and expertise of the staff at Child’s Voice is our most recognized mark of excellence. That expertise has led to a family- and child-focused environment that provides the best environment for success of each child. We offer support, coaching, and educational tools to the families of every student.

Child’s Voice incorporates standard best practices in compliance with the Illinois State Board of Education, special education code, outcome measurement of program success/metrics, accounting practices, and fundraising efforts. A volunteer Board of Directors leads Child’s Voice. The current Board represents community and business leaders and family of Child’s Voice graduates.

Everyone here thanks the Ballents for their commitment to listening and spoken language education, and for helping to open the door to all families who also seek a superb educational experience.

Fondly,

Dr. Michele