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The W. Paul Biggers, MD Carolina Children’s Communicative Disorders Program (CCCDP) was first proposed in 1992. W. Paul Biggers, MD, wanted to start a program to fill an urgent need: supplying communication devices, as well as UNC physician, audiological, and speech services for qualifying children with hearing and other communication disorders. Since then, the North Carolina General Assembly has provided a grant to assist families in the state who have children with hearing loss. This grant is provided through the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery Department at UNC-Chapel Hill and managed at The Children’s Cochlear Implant Center. It is funded through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health. The program has provided financial assistance to over 1,500 children in 88 of the state’s 100 counties. Currently, over 400 children across North Carolina are getting hearing aids or implant assistance through the CCCDP.

As is the case in other areas of the country and around the world, the need for qualified, trained professionals in the area of Listening and Spoken Language education of children who are deaf and hard of hearing in the state of North Carolina is growing. CASTLE, Center for the Acquisition of Spoken language Through Listening Enrichment, was the fulfillment of Carolyn J. Brown’s dream. Ms. Brown came to NC in 1993 to direct the CCCDP, which included the Cochlear Implant Program. As a dually certified speech-language pathologist and audiologist, Carolyn quickly recognized the vast need for educational and re-educational opportunities for this state, which had offered only a manual option. Carolyn began seeking funds to provide a model Listening and Spoken Language program in 1999 and the first employee was hired in May of 2001. CASTLE was born to provide services to children and families in North Carolina and across the country and to train professionals across the world to help children with hearing loss learn to speak. It is one of the many contributions UNC has made to the growth of Listening and Spoken Language education opportunities for children who are deaf or hard of hearing in North Carolina.

Audiologists at the CCCDP and Speech-Language Pathologists at CASTLE have always worked closely together to provide state of the art care to children who are deaf or hard of hearing. In 2015, we recognized the need promote the fluidity of our programs and became publicly known as The Children’s Cochlear Implant Center at UNC. We continue to provide the same services to children with all levels of hearing loss in a team environment.