Programs and Services



Family Center on Deafness is a multi-faceted support system through which families with D/HH members can build upon their assets in addressing personal goals. Participants are provided opportunities to maximize their potential through access to many different programs and services. New parents learn from interaction with those who have older children, or who are deaf/hard of hearing, themselves. Families initially seeking support later become mentors for new participants. Teens mature from their interaction with deaf adults, while gradually becoming role models for younger children in the program. FCD is a place where anyone from a family with D/HH members can feel comfortable interacting with people who understand and appreciate their dreams and successes. This fosters the development of self-esteem, cultural identity and an “I can!” attitude and success in school and the community

Who is eligible for services?


To qualify to receive services, an individual or a member of his/her household must register at an intake with a physical address that lies within the boundaries of Pinellas County. Eligible participants include:


  • Youth (birth through completion of high school) who are deaf or hard of hearing, as determined by qualifying to receive educational support services for students with hearing loss   

  • Young adults who are deaf or hard of hearing, and left high school (graduated or dropped out) within the past twelve months or are in a post-high school Pinellas County Schools program.

    Hearing youth who live with an adult or sibling who is D/HH*  

  • Any parent or significant adult in the home of an individual falling in one of the categories above, whether D/HH* or hearing
  • Any parent or other significant adult who is D/HH* and has school-aged children living at home


When the above criteria have been met, the needs of the client are evaluated at intake to determine if the services offered by the FCD are appropriate to address the family's needs. Eligibility to receive program services is maintained by the individual's effort to achieve personal goals and appropriate use of program resources.


*D/HH = deaf or hard of hearing



ADVOCACY, INFORMATION & REFERRAL  (All Ages) Assistance provided to anyone in Pinellas County for locating and accessing services and information related to hearing loss.

AMPLIFIED TELEPHONE DISTRIBUTION (Over age three) Amplified telephones and other equipment is distributed at no cost to qualified Florida residents with hearing loss. Call 727-399-9983 for additional information.

COUNSELING  (All Ages) Individual and family counseling are provided to FCD participants by professionals with expertise in signed communication and issues relating to hearing loss.

FAMILY LITERACY SESSIONS (All Ages) Individualized sessions, at homes or locations convenient for participants, develop literacy skills and learning strategies for parents and children, improving parenting techniques, sign language skills, and student academic foundations. Links for families to information and services related to deafness is also provided.

FAMILY SIGN LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION  (All Ages) Parents and other care givers learn how to use American Sign Language signs in English word order to improve communication at home and increase language development in deaf and hard of hearing children. Formal class sessions and home instruction are set up to meet the requests of participating families.

FAMILY SUPPORT (All Ages) Assistance is provided to parents in finding and accessing resources in the community to meet the needs of their households.


This may include:


Informational counseling on hearing loss, child development, education, amplification, and communication.


Links to resources and individualized instruction to foster school readiness and enhance parenting skills.  


Recreational outings outside of school hours and during the summer build peer support, increase language development and enhance parenting techniques. 

LANGUAGE LESSONS (School Age Children) Weekly sign language and literacy skill-building lessons and activities for elementary, middle and high school youth to develop social and cultural competence.

REACH (Raising Expectations & Achievement of Children with Hearing Loss – Elementary School) Cultural and linguistic enrichment opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing elementary-aged kids, their siblings, and children who have parents with hearing loss.  Included is an after-school program, special events on days when school closes early or is not open, and summer camps and activities.

RESOURCE LIBRARY Books, DVDs, games and periodicals on hearing loss, sign language, education, technology and Deaf Culture are available for loan to members of the community.

TEEN SCENE  (Middle and High School ) A club  that emphasizes socialization, community service and the development of independent living, decision making, problem solving and leadership skills.  Activities for this student-led group occur both during the school year and over the summer.

TRANSITIONS  (High School and Beyond) Support for deaf and hard of hearing young adults in making the change from being students in their parents’ homes to living on their own, whether they choose to continue  their education or enter the work force.  Includes regular sessions during the academic year, starting in middle school, to prepare  teens for the life decisions they will face after finishing high school. Employment services are also provided through Vocational Rehabilitation.

PARENT NETWORK/KIDS KLUB  (All Ages) A parent-governed group meets regularly to foster peer support, share experiences and information.  Supervised activities that build self-esteem and cultural identity, as well as improving communication skills, are provided for children during adult sessions.  Additional recreational activities provide opportunities of socialization and building relationships for families.

PARENT/COMMUNITY EDUCATION (Adults) Specialized presenters are provided in collaboration with other organizations and individuals for education and entertainment.  FCD staff provides consultation services for local agencies and organizations for improving services to FCD participants.

TUTORING (Middle and High School) help with homework and school projects is provided before and after school.