Brenda Cleaver Schmid – Programme Director / Parent Guidance therapist / Auditory-Verbal Practitioner
My journey began at the age of nine, after watching a television movie about a little Deaf boy who had no way of connecting with the world. He was introduced to sign language by a teacher and his whole life changed. As would mine. From that day forward I began my quest to fulfil the calling to work with hearing impaired children and their families.
I obtained a four year Higher Diploma in Education (Pre-primary) from the then Barkley House College of Education. I followed straight on to a further diploma in Special Education – Hearing Impairment, from the University of Stellenbosch. This diploma carried a dual qualification: Speech and Hearing Teacher and Teacher of the Deaf. During this time I was exposed to all the different education options, but favoured oral deaf education.
For four years I worked in mainstream pre-school education. Once again, through divine intervention, I had the opportunity to begin working at the newly established satellite of the Carel du Toit Centre in Pretoria in 1997. Here I learned the skills of both teaching and parent guidance. In 2010, I was privileged to be selected to study under Warren Estabrooks through his organization WE Listening International Inc., with the generous support of Cochlear Ltd (South Africa and Europe). The one year professional training course in Auditory-Verbal Practice challenged everything I had learned. I learned to listen to what parents really wanted, someone independent who could advise on all aspects and choices available to them.
And so in January 2012, the Centre for Listening and Spoken Language opened its doors.
Our current team:
At present we work with the Cochlear Implant teams, audiologists and/or speech therapists that are already supporting the children when they arrive at the Centre.
Our future dream team:
In the future, it is our dream to add full time audiologists, speech therapists and a social worker / psychologist to the team.