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Oct 25, 2016

CREC Soundbridge Celebrates Golden Anniversary

(Wethersfield, CT) Seven-year-old Sadie Palker, of Stamford, stood before a large crowd at CREC Soundbridge’s recent 50th anniversary celebration and read her two-page speech in a confident, clear voice, pausing for jokes and eliciting laughter and applause.

SoundbridgeDSC07156.jpgIf it wasn’t for the text of her speech, audience members would never know how far she has come—how hard she and her parents had to work to get to this moment.  

Palker wears both a cochlear implant and a hearing aid, and she’s received services from CREC Soundbridge since she was an infant. Like many others who are deaf, or who have hearing loss, Parker has CREC Soundbridge to thank for her success and continued improvement.

For 50 years, CREC Soundbridge has helped thousands of families, giving children a chance to overcome challenges to live happy, successful, and productive lives by learning to listen and talk. The program, which is celebrating its golden anniversary this year, provides a wide array of services that support listening and speaking development in children with hearing loss from birth to age 21.

In 1966, CREC Soundbridge, then known as The Hearing Impaired Program, was established by the parents of five children born with severe and profound hearing loss as a result of a Rubella epidemic. The parents of these children believed strongly in the benefits of a public school education, and they wanted their children to learn to talk. This seemingly simple desire led to the start of a robust program that continues to grow and flourish.

CREC began operating CREC Soundbridge, its first special services program, in 1970. Over the years, audiological technology and pedagogy has advanced tremendously, making it possible for the program to make a substantial difference in the lives of the many families who choose spoken language for their children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Today, with the support of 102 school districts throughout Connecticut, CREC Soundbridge provides audiological and educational services to more than 900 children—a statistic that clearly illustrates the program’s notable growth and success. Many of its students go on to attend college and pursue careers in a variety of areas, including biochemistry, culinary arts, and education.

In recognition of its 50th anniversary, CREC Soundbridge held its special celebration at the Indian Hill Country Club in Newington. The October 20 event brought together the CREC Soundbridge community, and several parents and former students, including Palker, shared their very moving success stories.

“I was so tickled that such a diverse group came to our anniversary party, including representatives of four of the first five families,” said CREC Soundbridge Director Elizabeth Cole. “This was a true celebration of the initial vision of those first five families, as well as of the mission that we have pursued for 50 years.”

In recognition of its milestone anniversary, CREC Soundbridge received a citation from Wethersfield state legislative delegation, and U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D- Conn., sent a congratulatory letter.

“The benefit Soundbridge continues to provide in the lives of students, staff, alumni, and families brings tremendous pride to our state,” Murphy wrote. “I cannot overstate the importance of your compassionate role in uplifting and educating those in need of hearing assistance.”

To learn more about CREC Soundbridge, visit www.crec.org/soundbridge.

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The Capitol Region Education Council was established in 1966 and is celebrating 50 years of academic excellence. Working with and for its member districts, CREC has developed a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs and services to meet the educational needs of children and adults in the region. CREC brings five decades of experience in education, regional collaboration, and operations to provide innovative strategies and products that address the changings needs of school districts and their students, corporations, non-profits, and individual professions. CREC regularly serves 36 towns in Greater Hartford, offering more than 120 programs to more than 150,000 students annually. CREC manages more than 35 facilities throughout the area, including 17 interdistrict magnet schools. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

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