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Learn about WISE


Creative & Fun

Our creative and dedicated team of educators and therapists partner with parents to help children develop listening, language, speech, and academic skills through meaningful play based activities. New programs developed at WISE benefit children with typical hearing because all children thrive in our language rich, literacy based program. We offer a creative and fun listening and language rich environment.


Our programs lay the foundation for excellent listening, speech, academic, and social skills. We empower children to reach their full potential, and we strive to create a love of learning that will last a lifetime.

Our Programs

WISE provides a continuum of services from the moment a hearing loss is detected through the preschool years, and into the elementary school years.

“WISE is the premier program in the state of Alabama to help deaf and hard of hearing children learn to listen and speak. All of the professionals working with WISE have the expertise to facilitate the development of social skills and language skills that leads to successful communication.”

Marcia Hay-McCutcheon, WISE Board Member

Call For Inquiry

(205) 728-5480

Mail For Inquiry

Early Intervention


Therapy Program

Toddler Group

Family NEST

School Outreach and Support

Graduate Student Training

Kristine’s Kits

Early Intervention

WISE is a Program provider under Alabama’s Early Intervention System (AEIS), a division of the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Service. For children who are deaf or hard of hearing, WISE has 6 Certified Listening and Spoken Language Specialists ready to provide intensive intervention and support for families using the Listening and Spoken Language approach. We are committed to ensuring that families have access to information regarding early auditory intervention for brain development, language development and the acquisition of reading skills. Parents work alongside therapists learning the strategies that will help their child learn to listen and speak. Therapy is individualized and fun!

The WISE Early Intervention program also serves children from Birth to age 3 with developmental delays and speech/language delays. Therapy is conducted in the family home or the child’s daycare setting. Individual Family Service Plans (IFSP) are designed to meet the unique needs of each family and may include physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy. Service Coordination is provided by a Licensed social worker experienced in working with families of young children. Early Intervention services are offered at no cost to the family.

Early Intervention Language therapy is designed to teach parents of young children practical strategies on how to improve their child’s language and communication skills. Parents learn ways to improve their child’s communication skills during everyday activities such as playtime, mealtime, and bath routines. Through this program, the Speech-Language Pathologist teaches parents how to carry out the strategies naturally throughout the day with their child.

Please contact our service coordinator, Sara Murphy.

Call For Inquiry

(205) 728-5480

Mail For Inquiry

Working Together

Together with an Early Intervention Service Coordinator, families and a WISE therapist develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) designed to meet the unique needs of the family.


Through our early intervention program at WISE, we also serve children experiencing speech and language delays/disorders not related to hearing loss. These sessions occur in the child’s home or day care center and are conducted by a Certified Speech-Language Pathologist.


The WISE Preschool is the only school in the state dedicated solely to teaching deaf children to speak. WISE creates a learning environment that is similar to traditional preschool, while addressing the unique needs of children with hearing loss. We are committed to helping children develop their listening, language, and speech skills in a positive and fun learning environment. Children are placed in small groups based on their listening and language skills and instruction is provided by Certified Listening and Spoken Language Specialists.

One of a kind

The only school dedicated to teaching deaf children to speak.

Therapy Program

Auditory-Verbal Therapy sessions are provided during the week so that families may practice techniques to help their child at home. The focus of these weekly sessions is to help parents develop strategies and techniques that will assist their child in learning to listen and speak. Through coaching and practice, parents become the child’s primary teacher/therapist. Classroom activities are often repeated during these sessions so that parents can learn how to implement similar activities in the home.

Parent Coaching

Helping parents develop strategies and techniques that will assist their child in learning to listen and speak.

School Outreach and Support

WISE offers a comprehensive School Outreach and Support program aimed at assisting children with hearing loss and the educators at the child’s neighborhood school. Our expertise on hearing loss and its impact on language and academic skills ensures that any challenges the student faces are addressed quickly.

Support for Graduates

Comprehensive support for our graduates

Toddler Group

WISE offers a Toddler group for children 18 months to 3 years old. Typical hearing peers serve as language models in the classroom and also benefit from the language rich environment.

The group is led by licensed Speech-Language Pathologists and/or LSL therapists, along with skilled classroom assistants. The toddler groups meet in a noise controlled, language rich environment on the WISE campus and we strive to maintain a low adult to toddler ratio of 1:5.

Toddler group activities may include beginning literacy skills, circle time, pretend play activities, expressive art, music and movement, as well as gross and fine motor play. All activities are designed to promote socialization, turn taking, auditory and language development while fostering spoken language development.

The toddler groups meet two days per week for a two hour session.


Half-Day Program

A small time commitment can make a large impact.


Noise Control & Language Rich

Children are provided with a noise controlled, language rich preschool environment.

Family NEST

Our team of veteran parents and young adult LSL graduates are eager to give back to families like yours. They understand firsthand the critical role and challenges you face, and are here to Nurture, Empower, Support, and Train you to be effective in meeting your child’s many needs. Additionally, NEST has committed professional support staff that are here to connect you with the right resources to ensure the best start for your child.

We know that the role of parents and caregivers is the primary determining factor in a child’s success. Our goal is to help each family feel prepared and empowered to tackle the challenges ahead of them. With NEST, parents become comfortable with taking a prominent role in helping their child develop spoken language and listening skills. Parents and caregivers are then confident to become their child’s best advocate. We sponsor a toy and book lending library to help families have materials to work with at home.


Educating Parents

WISE teaches parents how to tackle challenges that their children may face in the future.

Graduate Student Training

WISE offers training, observation and practicum placement for graduate students in speech/language pathology. Students from the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Samford University, and the University of South Carolina have gained experience in our programs. Graduate students work alongside our clinicians as part of the requirements for earning a Master’s Degree. Our therapists also speak as guest lecturers during many University courses.

Real-world Experience

Giving graduate students the opportunity to work alongside our clinicians.

Kristine’s Kits

Kristine Henderson was a dear friend of WISE. She was the child of deaf adults and became fluent in American Sign Language at a young age. Kristine frequently served as an interpreter for her parents and her brother who was also deaf. When Kristine’s oldest son Chase was born with profound hearing loss, she and her husband made the choice for Chase to have cochlear implants and learn to listen and speak. Chase and Kristine attended weekly LSL sessions for many years and Kristine was committed to implementing strategies to help Chase at home. Chase recently graduated with honors from the University of Alabama with a degree in Accounting and his currently pursuing his Master’s degree. Kristine knew firsthand the challenges that families face in teaching children with hearing loss and language deficits. She was a strong advocate for all children with communication delays. Kristine passed away in 2020 after a long battle with cancer. Her family chose to honor her memory with the dedication of Kristine’s Kits.

In the kit

Kristine’s Kits were developed through generous donations made in her memory. These kits include books, toys, and therapy materials to welcome families to WISE and provide useful activities for families to use at home. Each child’s therapist works with the parent to provide meaningful ways to use Kristine’s Kits within daily routines.

WISE Families

Come join our NEST! Parents, caregivers, and siblings of children who are deaf and hard of hearing have their own needs, often which are underrepresented and not effectively addressed, yet the role of parents and caregivers is the primary determining factor in a child’s success. The way a deaf child interacts with his or her siblings can be a beneficial advantage in later developing appropriate peer interaction skills.

At WISE, we have a team of seasoned, experienced parents and caregivers who have raised or are raising children with hearing loss to speak. They understand firsthand the critical role and challenges you face, and are here to nurture, empower, support, and train (NEST) you to be effective in meeting your child’s many needs. Whether you just learned your infant was referred for follow up testing after not passing her newborn hearing screening in the hospital or your son with hearing loss is leaving for college this fall, we are here for you.

WISE Staff

Our program is staffed by Certified Speech-Language Pathologists who are also Certified Listening and Spoken Language Specialists. They have over 70 years combined experience working with children with hearing loss and their families. Certified Speech-Language Pathologists provide classroom support in the WISE Toddler group and Preschool classrooms. They also provide individual speech therapy sessions for children with typical hearing. Trained paraprofessionals provide classroom support and assist in preparing therapy materials. Two Certified Speech-Language Pathologists volunteer in our program on a weekly basis.

Our Sponsors

Herman and Emmie Bolden Foundation

Hill Crest Foundation

Robert R. Meyer Foundation

Susan Mott Webb Charitable Trust

Tuition Free Programs

Life Changing Results

New Friends for life

Loving and Caring Staff


Shades Valley Presbyterian Church
2305 Montevallo Road
Birmingham, Alabama 35223

Telephone: (205) 728-5480

Email: [email protected]

The Woolley Institute for Spoken-Language Education (WISE), is a 501 © not for profit organization dedicated to teaching deaf children to speak. We are a statewide, family focused program working in collaboration with Alabama's Early Intervention System, local school systems, and private and public entities which advance the education of deaf children who use listening and spoken language.