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John Tracy Clinic: 60 Years Later

John Tracy Clinic: 60 Years Later
June 2, 2003


John Tracy Clinic (JTC) has facilities in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. The Clinic is a pioneering organization in parent-centered, speech and language education for babies and preschool children with hearing losses. This year, JTC celebrates its 60th year of free family services.

Incorporated in 1943, JTC was founded by Louise Treadwell Tracy, wife of the famous actor Spencer Tracy, whose infant son, John, was born with profound hearing loss. From the moment she learned of her son's diagnosis, Mrs. Tracy devoted her time and energy to studying how he could be taught to communicate through speech and language. After achieving great success with John, who went on to become an artist at Disney Studios, Mrs. Tracy was asked by a group of other mothers of deaf children to found an institution that would educate and offer emotional support to families such as theirs. The University of Southern California (USC) allowed the group to use a cottage on campus for its meetings. Initially, no children were part of the program, only weekly classes for parents were offered, taught by a teacher of the deaf.

A Continuum of Services

Today, JTC offers a continuum of integrated services from audiologic assessments, to counseling and parent/infant programs, to preschool and mainstream support. JTC is the only education center of its kind to provide all family services free. The Clinic's intensive three-week summer session is unique among schools for the deaf, and its sibling program is used as a model for deaf schools nationwide. In collaboration with USC, its two accredited teacher education programs are helping to fill a nationwide shortage of qualified professionals in early childhood deaf education.

Families enrolled at John Tracy Clinic have full access to audiologists and counselors, who provide assessment, counseling, audiologic services and professional support and guidance. The Clinic offers free hearing tests to infants, toddlers and preschool children to identify hearing loses as early as possible. Through both its Los Angeles and Long Beach facilities, JTC takes a leadership role in the California Newborn Hearing Screening Program. 

The families of newborns who fail hospital hearing screening tests receive immediate counseling and emotional support from the counseling staff. Once their child has been identified as deaf or hard of hearing, they also become eligible for additional services, and the families are invited to join the Parent/Infant Program if they are interested in the JTC's auditory/oral model. 

Some families first learn about JTC through free hearing screenings for children in preschools and daycare centers throughout Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange counties, as well as the Coachella Valley area of Riverside County. The Community Hearing Screening Program, which reaches over 16,000 children per year, is designed to identify children with mild and moderate losses. The program's goal is to notify parents of children who may be in need of further help so they can receive appropriate medical, audiologic and educational services as early as possible.


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