Take me to School District #22 (Vernon)



Persons living in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia have access to a number of services and agencies that specialize in the communication and developmental needs of deaf children.  Persons living in the Okanagan region of British Columbia can access many of these same services on an outreach basis. As well, some local services are offered.
Below you will find information regarding early intervention programs as well as services offered to school aged children. You will discover how to access information and support in the area of language and communication development, child care, financial assistance, and educational placement options.

Ministry for Children and Families

For families living outside of the Lower Mainland area, specialized services for deaf and hard of hearing children are not readily available other than through the Outreach Services provided by such agencies as Deaf Children's Society, The Elks Family Hearing Resource Centre, and Vancouver Oral Centre.  However, supported child care services are available to families throughout the province.  Supported Child Care Programs are funded by the Ministry for Children and Families and exist in many communities throughout B.C. Supported Child Care Programs provide support and services to children with various communication and developmental needs from the ages of birth to twelve years.  The main goal of such a program is to help families access child care settings of their choice in their home communities, and to help families access community resources, services, and funding.  Supported Child Care workers are not required to have professional preparation or training in working with deaf or hard-of-hearing children.  In addition, they:

  • Encourage family participation in the planning and development required to meet their child's unique needs
  • Assist local programs and preschools in meeting the needs of individual children
  • Provide transition support to children and families movin~ from preschool to school
  • Provide workshops for families and staff of local agencies to meet the needs of individual children
  • Support and encourage networking opportunities for parents
  • Advocate for the inclusion of special children in the community


For more information regarding these services, contact the Supported Child Care Program in your area through the Ministry for Children and Families (250) 549-6315.


This association works in conjunction with Supported Child Care Programs throughout BC to provide services for children with special developmental needs and their families. Contact the Centre nearest you for more information:

Thompson Nicola Family
Resource Society
801 McGill Road
Kamloops, BC V2C 6R1
Contact: Jeanette Scott
Phone (250) 371-4100
Fax (250) 371-4120
Central Okanagan Child
Development Association

1546 Bernard Avenue
Kelowna, BC V1Y 6R9
Contact: Mike Morrill
Phone: (250) 763-5100
Fax: (250) 862-8433
OSNS Child Development Centre
103-55- Carmi Avenue
Pentiction, BC V2A 3G6
Contact: Judy Sentes
Phone (250) 492-0295
Fax: (250) 492-2164
North Okanagan
Neurological Association

2802 34 Street
Vernon, BC V1T 5X1
Contact: Cherie Annand
Phone: (250)549-1281
Fax: (250) 549-3771

PO Box 50075
South Slope RPO
Burnaby, BC V5J 1X9
604-538-2866 TTY/Voice/Fax

This non-profit society was established by parents of deaf children in 1995.  Its purpose is to bring families of deaf children in BC together for mutual support and to share ideas and concerns.

FNDC Mission Statement:
FNDC believes that families are vital in ensuring that deaf children reach their full potential through a supportive home environment.  Families have the right to make informed choices based on the needs of the deaf child and the family.  Deaf children have the right to a .quality education in a language that is 100% visually accessible. Each child is unique and has individual abilities and needs that must be recognized.  The rich and varied experiences and language of the Deaf community are an important and valuable resource for deaf children and their families.

Their programs and services include:

    • newsletter
    • host workshops related to deaf education and sign language
    • provide opportunities for families to network
    •  open captioned interpreted movies

    Services for Family and Community Development
    4334 Victory Street, Burnaby BC V5J 1R2
    Voice 604-660-5507 TTY 604-660-5509
    Fax 604-660-1859

    The Provincial Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is a centre of information and services that promotes family and community capacity to support child and family development.

    • Deaf Access
    • consultation with ministry for children and family development
    • Youth Transition Program YTP
    • Victory Hill Residential Program
    • sign language development
    • Learn Together Program
    • educational workshops
    • parent support
    • family days
    • provincial outreach
    • immersion programs

    Interior Health Unit (Vernon) Audiology Department
    Offers hearing and speech services new born to adult


Contact: Lynn Shepard
Community Relations Coordinator
Suite 320-1818 Cornwall Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6J 1C7
TTY: 604-732-7549
Voice: 604-732-7656
Voice mail: 604-775-1364
Fax: 604-660-5066

The Deaf Access office and its coordinators specialize in working with Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind children, adults, and their families. Some of the services they provide include:

    • information regarding access to government and non-government services
    • work in conjunction with the Deaf Well Being Program
    • liase with community agencies
    • provide information and consultation to Ministry of Children and Families
    • provide advocacy and support within and outside the government
    • provide information regarding interpreters
    • provide advice on the purchase and use of assistive listening devices

806 West Adams Blvd
Los Angeles, California 90007 USA
Voice (213) 748-5481
TTY (213) 747-2924
Fax (213) 749-1651
Contact: Maura Martidale

The John Tracey Clinic is a non-profit organization that provides services, support, and education to parents of deaf and hard -of-hearing preschool children. They offer a worldwide service at no charge to the parents. Correspondence and distance education are available.


The following is a list of events held annually throughout BC that families and their deaf children may wish to attend. Contact the sponsoring organization for more information or a complete list of events.

Deaf Children's Society
Voice 604-525-6056     TTY 604-525-9390

  • Hot Tot's summer camp
  • Learning Vacation Experience
  • Outreach Week
  • Conferences and Workshops
  • Parent Education Sessions
  • Breakfast with Santa


Family Network for Deaf Children
604-538-2866 voice/TTY

  • Signs Language courses (ASL workshops and camps)
  • Open captioned and Interpreted movies
  • Workshops on educational topics
  • Hornby Island Family Camp (hosted by a family on Hornby Island -contact FNDC for information)


Greater Vancouver Association of the Deaf – Deaf Youth Program
604-576-0919 Voice/TTY

  • Summer camps in Vancouver area and Kelowna
  • Leadership camps
  • Corn Party
  • Deaf Deaf World (annual Fun Fair)

Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre
Voice 250-592-8144     TTY 250-592-8147

  • Silent Weekend (every two years)

Western Institute for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing
2125-West 7th Ave. Vancouver, BC V6K 1X9
Voice 604-736-7391 TTY 604-736-2527
Fax 604-736-4381 toll free voice 1-888-736-7391
toll free TTY 1-888-736-2527

120 - 1735 Dolphin Kelowna, BC, V1B 8A6
Voice/TTY 250-763-3854
Fax 250-763-7608

Medical Interpreting Services
Emergency Voice 1-877-736-7039
Emergency TTY 1-877-736-7078
Non emergency voice 1- 877-736-7012
Non emergency TTY 1-877-736-7099


            Your family doctor or audiologist may refer you to other specialists in the field of hearing.  Families living in the Okanagan may have to travel to Alberta or the Lower Mainland area to receive special medical services for your child.

BC Children’s Hospital
4480 Oak Street    
Vancouver, BC  V6H 3V4

Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children
3644 Slocan Street 
Vancouver, BC   V5M 3E8
(604) 434-1331  TTY (604) 436-6515
Fax (604) 436-1743 


From the time your child was diagnosed as being deaf, you have may have been contemplating your child's educational future.  In fact, after making a decision about the best way for your child to communicate, the decision about educational placement for your child is perhaps one of the most important decisions that you will make.  If you have been involved with a preschool program or service for deaf children, that agency will be a valuable resource for you in supporting the transition of your child from preschool to the school system.

The educational options available to families living in the Okanagan region of BC are somewhat limited.  Each has its own advantages and disadvantages and I encourage you to explore all of the available options before making your decision. This decision however, does not have to be permanent.  It is important that you remain flexible and open to the idea that once tried, a certain placement may not be meeting your child's needs and alternative options may need to be explored. ,

In general the educational options available to deaf children in B.C. include; B.C. School for the Deaf; Private Learning Organizations for the Deaf; Provincial and/or District Resource Programs for the Deaf; and Integration with Itinerant services from a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. In the Okanagan, there are three main options available to students and families: District Based Resource Programs (Vernon and Kelowna), Integration, and the BC School for the Deaf.

In Kelowna, Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Janene Seabrook, runs a district based learning support program for signing deaf students, at Watson Road Elementary School.  Students in this program are fully integrated yet receive additional learning support from a qualified Teacher of the Deaf in many academic and social areas.

Similarly, in Vernon a district based learning resource program for the deaf and hard of hearing is run out of BX Elementary School.  Students are fully integrated yet receive daily learning support from a team of Educational Assistants, Interpreters, and  Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  For more information on this program, see the BX Elementary link at the top of this page.


Integration means that your child will attend your local or other nearby community school.  Your child will be integrated into a regular classroom and access the curriculum with the use of assistive listening devices and/or other support services such as a sign language interpreter.  Your child will receive support from a qualified Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  This teacher is a support teacher who travels around the school district providing support and direct teaching services to deaf and hard of hearing children, school personnel, and I some cases to families.  Integration is the most common choice among families of deaf children in the Okanagan.  However, it is not always the best choice for ALL deaf children.

  • How often will my child receive support from a qualified Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing?
  • What services and support will that teacher provide?
  • Are there other services available such as a Speech and Language Pathologist?
  • How will the school provide complete access to the curriculum and the school environment for my child?
  • What kinds of technological devices does the school have to ensure my child has access to equal participation?
  • Are there any other deaf children in the school?
  • What other schools in the district serve deaf children?
  • How do the school and the teachers feel about having a deaf student?
  • Will my child have an interpreter? Is that interpreter a qualified interpreter? Is that interpreter a Certified Educational Assistant?
  • Are interpreters readily available in this region?
  • How many years should the same interpreter stay with my child?
  • Will my child have access to deaf role models for sign language acquisition?
  • Will my child be able to participate in after-school activities?

For many families, the choice is clear to opt for mainstreaming their child. That is, the thought of sending their child to a residential school for the deaf, only to see their child on weekends and holidays, becomes the primary factor in deciding on educational placement. Some families choose mainstreaming their child until the student reaches high school and then make the transition to a school for the deaf. Talking to other parents and deaf children will help you decide if this is an appropriate option for your child.

Here are a list of the School Districts in the Okanagan as well as contact names and phone numbers.

School District #23, Central Okanagan
Hollywood Road Education Services
1040 Hollywood Road, Kelowna, B.C V1X 4N2 Lorinda Todd, Secretary at

School District No.22, Vernon
140I-15th Street Vernon, BC VIT 8S8
(250) 542-3331 contact: Don Wilcox, Director -Student Support Services
Teacher of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing: Lisa Cecile, Janna Weller

School District #83, North-Okanagan -Shuswap
220 Shuswap NE Salmon Arm, BC VIE 4H7
(250) 832-2157 contact: Dr. Richard Zigler , Director – Student Support Services
Teachers of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing: Christine Williams, Penny.Eriksen,..AnneMorgan


B.C. School for the Deaf (for elementary children) is located in Burnaby, B.C. and is called South Slope Elementary School/The Provincial School for the Deaf. The school is made up of classes for hearing students as well as separate classes specifically for deaf children. Deaf students from all across the province travel by car, taxi, or plane to attend this school. Students who do not live within driving distance from the school fly by commercial airlines to attend school during the week and return home for weekend and holiday visits. During the week, students stay in residences which are staffed by qualified persons, many of whom are deaf themselves. The dorms are run by Victory Hill Residential Program. The residential program and transportation are funded by the provincial government of B.C. and are available at no costs to the family. Visits to the schools by families considering sending their child can be arranged by contacting the Principal of the school, the Director of the Victory Hill Residential Program, and are always welcome. Some important questions and issues to consider include:

  • What standards and criteria are used in hiring staff for the Victory Hill Residential Program? How will the staff ensure my child's safety?
  • Will my child receive help with homework in the residences?
  • What kinds of after-school activities are planned for the children in the residences?
  • Do boys and girls of all ages live in the same residences?
  • What if my child has to go to the doctor while staying in the residences?
  • How many students are in each class at South Slope?
  • Does the school provide Speech and Audiology services?
  • What other services does the school provide?
  • What methods of communication do they support at the school?
  • What kinds of technological devices will they provide my child?
  • Are the teachers’ deaf or hearing?
  • Will my child need an interpreter?
  • Do all of the teachers know sign language?
  • What kind of sign language is used?
  • Are the other deaf students just like my child?
  • Do the other children have any other challenges besides deafness?

If you are considering sending your child to the B.C. School for the Deaf, you may contact them at:
B.C. School for the Deaf
5455 Rumble Street
Burnaby, BC V5J 2B7
TTY 604-664-8563        Voice 604-664-8560
Fax 604-664-8561

Vancouver Oral Centre for Deaf Children
3575-Kaslow Street, Vancouver, BC V5M 3H4
Voice 604-437-0255 TTY 604-437-1251
Fax 604-437-0260





Along with the overwhelming emotional and social demands of raising a deaf child, the financial demands of raising a deaf child may also leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Some examples of extra expenses that you can expect to encounter may include the costs of hearing aids and other technology such as closed caption decoders and telephones for the deaf, extra costs for child care, travel costs for visits to medical specialists who may not live in your home town, or enrolling in out of town programs such as the Learning Vacation Experience hosted by Deaf Children's Society. Visits to Vancouver and the Lower Mainland to receive medical or other support services can place increased financial demands on you and your family.
The BC Provincial Government as well as private organizations have programs to assist families of deaf children financially.
The following pages will provide you with the names and contact numbers of organizations and government assistance programs that may provide your family with financial assistance.
Please keep in mind that these services are subject to change and that some organizations may require you to disclose .personal financial information in your application for financial support.




Vernon Branch                                                          Kelowna Branch
Elks Lodge No. 45                                                    Elks Lodge
3103 30th Street                                                        2040 Springfield Road
Vernon, BC   N1T 5E3                                             Kelowna, BC   N1Y 9N7
(250) 549-4722                                                         (250) 860-5841



Kits PO Box 74653
2803 West 4th Avenue
Vancouver, BC   V6K 4P4
(604) 222-9869

The purpose of this society is to

  • provide financial support for assistive listening devices to children with hearing loss
  • provide financial support for diagnostic equipment for hearing tests
  • support the education of children with hearing loss
  • support families with children with hearing loss
  • promote public awareness of hearing loss



The FNDC often provides travel bursaries to families that live outside the Lower Mainland to assist with travel expenses to workshops sponsored by their organization. Contact FNDC for further information: (604) 538-2866 TTY/Voice/Fax.


If you are referred by your doctor to visit a hearing specialist for testing or consultation outside of the city you live in, you may be able to receive financial support for travel costs through the Medical Services Association.

  • You must ask your doctor to fill in the Health 2900 form
  • You must phone Medical Services Association to confirm that you qualify for assistance (250) 952-3456 -they will give you a confirmation number to put on your Health 2900 form
  • Give this form to the company you are traveling with
  • You may receive the following discounts -100% for BC Ferries (vehicle, patient, escort), 50% for Via Rail and CP Rail, 30% for major airlines.



Some families are able to receive financial assistance with hearing aid purchases from the following agencies. Your audiologist would be able to assist you in making the appropriate contacts.

  • Extended Medical Benefits
  • Local Service Organizations such as Elks, Lions Club, Rotary Club
  • Ministry of Human Resources
  • Ministry for Children and Families
  • Medical Services
  • Health and Welfare Canada
  • Native Health


Your local Public Health Speech and Hearing Services may be able to provide you with personal FM equipment on a loan basis (for children birth to five years of age). Once your child has entered the school system, the Ministry of Education will provide a child with a hearing Ioss with FM equipment (certain criteria may have to be met).
If your family wishes to purchase equipment, the following agencies may provide financial assistance to your family:

  • Local Service Organizations such as Elks, Lions Club, Rotary Club, Legion
  • Ministry of Human Resources
  • Ministry for Children and Families
  • Medical Services
  • Health and Welfare Canada, Native Health



Most home insurance policies do not provide insurance coverage for hearing aids and FM equipment.  Check with your individual home insurance company for details and costs of extra Insurance coverage.



Reduced parking rates for families who are frequent users of BCCH
If your child will be at BCCH for an extended period of time, check with hospital for parking discounts.



While visiting the Vancouver area for medical services (for your deaf child) the Easter Seal House provides low-cost accommodations to families of disabled children. The house is supported by the BC Lions Society.  It contains 53 self-contained units, wheelchair accessible, kitchen, laundry, and lounge facilities on each floor.
The Easter Seal House is located at 3981 Oak Street (King Edward and Oak) in Vancouver.  For more information call 604:00736-3475.



A 50% discount on direct dialed, long-distance calls is available to those families in which one or more family members uses a TDD/jTTY for telephone communication.  To make application, parents need to obtain a letter from their family member's Audiologist confirming the hearing status, and mail it to Telus attention:  Special Needs, or drop it off at one of the Telus phone marts.



The following financial options are currently available, but may either be subject to change or you will have to consult with the governing bodies to ensure that you qualify for application or credit. (The following information was received from Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children)

Disability Tax Credit Information                                                                       Form T2201

This special credit is available to individuals who have a prolonged mental or physical impairment, the effects of which are severe.

An individual is considered to have such an impairment only if the effects markedly restrict all or substantially all of the time the individuals ability to perform basic activities of daily living, and the impairment has lasted or can reasonably be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

The medical doctor or, in the case of a sight impairment, a medical doctor or an optometrist (authorized to practice as such) who is knowledgeable about the individual's disabling condition(s) for the year being claimed completes Part B.

To obtain the T2201 forms and interpretation guidelines contact your local Revenue Canada Taxation office.

Income Tax Credit Information                                                                  
                                                                                                      Medical Deductions Section

Income tax credit could include any of the following:

  • Bone-conduction telephone receivers, extra-loud audible signals and devices to permit volume adjustment of telephone equipment above normal levels;
  • Television closed caption decoders for the deaf;
  • Any equipment and accessory that enables a deaf or non-verbal person to make and receive telephone calls including visual ringing indicators, acoustic couplers, teletypewriters;
  • Amounts paid in providing additional equipment and accessories to others in order to make telephone communication possible with those other persons;
  • The cost of an animal specially trained to assist a person who is blind, deaf; or severely impaired in the use of arms or legs. In addition to the cost of the animal, its care and maintenance (including food and veterinary care) are eligible expenses, as are travel expenses to a training facility to learn how to handle the animal, and, if full-time attendance at the training facility is required, reasonable board and lodging incurred in the full-time attendance;
  • Reasonable expenses relating to renovations or alterations to a dwelling of a person who lacks normal physical development or has a severe and prolonged mobility impairment to enable the patient to gain access to, or to be mobile or functional within the dwelling;
  • Reasonable traveling expenses for an individual and accompanying person to travel a distance from home for medical expenses not available in their own area. If the distance is 40-80 km only, transportation expenses are deductible. If the distance is 80 km or more, food and accommodation expenses are also deductible. KEEP ALL RECEIPTS.

Please consult with Revenue Canada, the income tax guide, or a professional accountant to completely understand how these and possibly other deductions will apply to your particular situation and income level.

Certificate of Physically Handicapped Person and Property Owner Home Owner Grant Act                     
If you are a property owner with a child who has special needs and permanently resides in your home, you may be eligible for the Home Owner Grant. If you think you are eligible, ask your doctor to assess your child in terms of the physical assistance and/or environmental modifications criteria If your doctor's assessment confirms your .eligibility, he will complete and sign Part A of the certificate. As the property owner, you must sign Part 13. To obtain the certificate and the interpretation guidelines, contact your municipal or provincial collector

BC PARKS -Ministry of Environment, Lands, Parks

BC Parks no longer offers a Disabled Access Pass to disabled persons for free camping in British Columbia parks and recreation areas. For information on possible child discounts click on the BC Parks link above.

At Home Program
Ministry for Children and Families/Ministry of Health
(Assistance for children with severe disabilities.)

The At Home Program will provide assistance to families of children who have a severe disability, live in the family home, are under 18 years of age, have the legal right to reside in Canada, and have not received a third party settlement which provides funding or benefits which would be duplicated by the At Home Program

The Program assists eligible families with exceptional expenses and needed supports such as MSP premiums, Pharmacare, dental care, the purchase and maintenance of equipment, medical supplies, medical transportation, exceptional therapies, orthotics/prostheses, and respite care (nursing and non-nursing).

Application forms and more. detailed information are available from the Ministry for Children and Families' offices and health units across the province.  The application must be supported by a physician.

School District No. 22 (Vernon)