EARS - Educational & Auditory Resources for Sound


EARS - Educational & Auditory Resources for Sound - is St. Mary's new auditory education program! 

SMSD is the only school for the deaf in WNY that offers families two educational options:

Total Communication & Listening & Spoken Language.


Check out what's new and exciting in EARS by clicking the link below. 

EARS Newsletter




Stay tuned for information regarding our next

Evening With EARS Presentation in April.

Evening With EARS


The EARS Program is open to all children from birth to 5 years of age with hearing loss and offers on site:


  • Toddler Playgroups

              The EARS Team runs two playgroups per week. The first one is for the children only one morning a week. The children start off with circle time including calendar, morning news, attendance, weather, and show & tell. Following that the children come to the table for a fine motor activity. They are then treated to a snack, story, and craft corresponding with that week's theme. The children are able to move and stretch with a walk, playroom time, or dancing. The children end their day by using their imaginations through free play. The second playgroup of the week involves the children's families. Mommies, daddies, grandparents, and children all come together for a fun, language-filled hour. As an extension of the children-only playgroup, a story is read and a craft is made, all with the goal of modeling practical language strategies the family can use at home. The day concludes with a lively Music Together class. Children learn about volume, tonality, and rhythm while singing along. This weekly group empowers families and gives them confidence to be their child's best language teacher. 






  • Parent-Toddler Educational Programming

       The EARS Parent-Infant program focuses on enhancing a child’s listening and spoken language skills through natural communication opportunities. Parents are equal partners in their child’s education. Together, parents and therapists develop practical strategies to encourage listening and speaking in their child. Parents receive a combination of center-based and home-based one-on-one therapy sessions. In addition there are weekly play groups where both parent and child are encouraged to promote social language opportunities. Current EARS families appreciate our intimate, individually-tailored approach and have felt empowered as their child’s best advocate.








  • Preschool Educational Programming

                The EARS preschool program supports the development of listening and spoken language through fun, play-based activities providing meaningful language opportunities. Weekly interaction with same age hearing peers in the community allows our children to learn from their friends through imaginative play. Our team supports each family's educational goals, whether that is mainstreaming, partial mainstreaming, or other educational placement. Parents are regularly welcomed into the classroom to support learning and fun!








  • Kindergarten Educational Programming

             The EARS Team at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf is excited to announce the grand opening of our new Kindergarten classroom!  The New York State Common Core Standards-aligned EARS Kindergarten Program offers continued support for 4-6-year-old students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing to develop their listening and spoken language skills.  Our Kindergarten program continues to emphasize the importance of family support as children learn to listen and speak.  Families of our students participate in the EARS Program’s Family Day, including family AVT sessions, classroom sessions, our popular Lunch and Learn series, and Music Together classes.  Our EARS Kindergarteners benefit from a full day of collaboration with the Kindergarten class at St. Joseph University as well as welcoming same-aged hearing peers into the classroom on a weekly basis.  We are thrilled to introduce this new offering to families of students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing who wish to pursue listening and spoken language for their children and look forward to watching our students continue to grow!


  • Auditory Verbal Therapy

              As part of your child’s program, auditory verbal therapy services are provided to optimize use of hearing with amplification. Auditory verbal therapy is provided one-on-one with the parent/caregiver, child, and trained therapist. The goal of therapy is to develop speech and communication skills needed for integration into the hearing community. Trained therapists guide and coach parents/caregivers to become primary facilitators of their child’s listening and spoken language development. Parents/caregivers are encouraged to integrate listening and spoken language in every aspect of their daily routine through natural communication strategies.






  • Hearing Peers Partnership

              The Hearing Peers partnership is a component of the EARS educational program from 18 mos. through Kindergarten. Each EARS classroom welcomes same-aged hearing peers as spoken language models into the classroom on a weekly basis. This partnership allows our students to practice listening and spoken language skills they will need to be successful in a mainstream classroom in a more controlled and familiar setting. Hearing Peers provide a natural, age-appropriate spoken language model for our EARS students. All children learn valuable lessons in patience, perseverance, and kindness while building meaningful friendships. 




  • Audiological Services

             St. Mary’s School for the Deaf boasts the delivery of comprehensive audiological services in addition to individualized parent-infant and preschool programming. Our audiological clinic specializes in newborn screenings, diagnostic testing, pediatric hearing aid fitting and programming, pediatric BAHA services, as well as pediatric cochlear implant candidacy assessment, initial stimulation, and ongoing mappings. Our pediatric Audiologist holds strong collaborative relationships with area pediatricians and ENT offices. 














Meet the EARS Staff

 ~ Administration ~






Mrs. Aimee Bell, Associate Principal

ext. 280




~ Educational Team ~











                                                                 Mrs. Kristen M. Cotter,                     Ms. Amanda Bostick                        

                                                                 Preschool Teacher &                        Kindergarten Teacher                    

                                                                 EARS Coordinator                            ext. 357                                             

                                                                 ext. 147                                          mailto:amandab@smsdk12.org    














                                                          Mrs. Jessica Holst                               Mrs. Renee Krzanak

                                                          Speech Language Pathologist              Teacher Assistant

                                                          ext. 220                                            ext. 357

                                                          mailto:jessicah@smsdk12.org              mailto:reneek@smsdk12.org








~ Audiological Team ~






                                                               Dr. Rebecca Utech                         Dr. Janet Brinkman

                                                               Audiologist                                    Audiologist

                                                               ext. 362                                        ext. 372

                                                               mailto:rebeccau@smsdk12.org        mailto:janetb@smsdk12.org







For more information or to arrange a tour, please contact:

Kristen M. Cotter, EARS Coordinator

2253 Main St. Buffalo, NY 14214

716-834-7200 ext. 147  





  • Community Partners

The EARS program is proud to work in collaboration with the following community partners: