I immigrated from Canada to Arizona in 2000 along with my husband and two small children. Our youngest child is deaf. We were involved with a business venture so we had an opportunity to come to the U.S. We quickly realized that on the small island where we lived in British Columbia, just South of Alaska,  there would be no educational services for our deaf child and decided moving to the United Stated would be our best option. The immigration process began.

Once in Arizona, I  sought out a deaf pre-school for our  child who was diagnosed late, with a severe to profound hearing loss at almost 3 years of age. I found the “Panda Program” via my home school district but quickly realized that there was no child care available for my child after school that offered a fluent sign language (ASL) environment. I decided pursue  employment at Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind (ASDB) so I could be on a “school schedule” and avoid the whole after care problem. Thankfully, I was hired by Phoenix Day School for the Deaf (PDSD) where I worked for 2 years then I transferred within the agency to Desert Valleys Regional Cooperative (DVRC), also on a school schedule. At DVRC I took on the multi-responsibilty position of Audiological Technician which included teaching the State mandated hearing certification classes  for about 65 contracted school districts in the greater Phoenix area. I also added Vision certification to my services in 2005 and since it became required by law in 2019, I’m so glad I did!

Bruce Sensory Training is  currently working full time offering Districts, charters and private schools and agencies  certification for Hearing and Vision screening. We keep current with all of the changes and modifications that AZDHS has made because of Covid-19 and act as a resource for anyone who has questions regarding hearing and vision screening. We have short cuts under our AZ Law tab that take you directly to the AZDHS sensory page so you can get the most current information.

My family lives the life with a child who was diagnosed  late with a hearing loss. It has been a hard road and I have learned a lot from my experience as a parent dealing with all of the hurdles involved with educating a child who is deaf/HH. I wouldn’t change a thing though, it has been an excellent experience being able to be a resource for many parents who are in the same situation. My passion is to help identify children as early as possible so they have the best chance of being successful and productive adults by referring them to professionals who can provide the proper services and interventions at the earliest possible time. Through Bruce Sensory Training I am able to train and certify screeners as well as offer my services to help screen the hard-to -test population.

Approximately 3 babies of every 1000 births has a hearing loss significant enough to interfere with learning. By age five that number jumps to 6 in every 1000 children with a significant hearing loss. That’s who we are looking for……children who passed the newborn screening but somehow developed a hearing loss between birth and five years of age. By providing certification to school staff and birth to five programs who screen children for hearing and vision, I am passing on vital information that could make the difference in a child’s life who otherwise would remain unidentified with a sensory impairment and not meet their potential.

I love working with all ages of children and really enjoy teaching the State approved classes. I have taught thousands of staff throughout Arizona in the  years since I began teaching in 2003. It is such a pleasure working with school staff, mainly school nurses, who are  just as enthusiastic as me to make a difference in children’s lives.

-Sheila Bruce