The Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center

Three separate areas of the Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center lobby were redesigned to create different environments that promote communication and learning skills for siblings of children we serve. Each space was designed to foster learning through play and exploration, and each is offered as an expression of Debra Ann’s love for learning and children.

A portion of the main lobby has been transformed to create Debra Ann’s Court, a waiting place where children can wish and dream. A stone wall flanked by budding and blossoming rose bushes represents a safe place for children to imagine and wonder. Behind the wall is a wishing well, a magical stream, and a castle of dreams. The door opens into the Debra Ann November Creative Learning Center, a room where young children will learn through play. This room gives parents an engaging and safe place for siblings to learn and play while the parent accompanies a brother or sister in therapy. Children create scenes and stories by using wall clings that temporarily adhere to the wall board city park. They can practice real-life routines like cooking and serving meals or going to the grocery store. A computer with age-appropriate software is available for children to learn sounds, letters, numbers, reading, math, science, and more. A Nook is available for viewing picture books or reading. Classic board games help the children learn social communication skills as well as various concepts. For those who like art and craft activities, there is a giant Velcro bulletin board to display their creative works!

A separate room, the Debra Ann November Exploration Center, was created for older children to explore and learn through games, puzzles, reasoning, and researching. It provides a quiet place to do homework, study or ponder. Designed with children nine years and older in mind, this space is all about ‘connecting the dots.’ At these ages, children start to reach out to the world around them and explore. They start to figure out the connections between things and where they might fit in. The wall design, an image of molecules in space, represents the connectedness, minuteness, and vastness of life and learning. The window wall is etched with inspiring words that both reflect the activities required in learning and the possibilities of what might be. Within this room, children can use a microscope to examine the smallest details of plants, insects, and other organisms. They can use engaging, interactive software to reinforce learning in reading, math, and science. They can use the Nook and other reference books to complete their homework or explore the world virtually. Puzzles, constructing and reasoning activities will help teach patience and persistence in working alone, or cooperation and collaboration in working with others.

Across from Debra Ann’s Court in the lobby is a custom, illustrated map of Cleveland that depicts the many exciting places in Cleveland where children can play, learn, and grow. This wall connects the two rooms by bridging the age groups and it connects the act of learning to places in our community. The speech-language pathologists have designed specialized learning activities for parents to take with them when they visit these places. These tasks will allow parents to help their children expand vocabulary, enhance knowledge, and develop story telling skills while creating special memories as they explore the wonder surrounding us all in Cleveland.

Each of these spaces is dedicated to Debra Ann November, a wonderfully loving, gentle teacher who adored children. Through the Creative Learning and Exploration Centers, Debra Ann will continue to touch the lives of children in an inspiring and motivational way, showing them the promise and possibility that awaits them them as they learn and grow.