In 1983, when our son was diagnosed in the West with a severe to profound hearing loss and needed speech-language therapy, there was none to be had in our hometown of Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia.
Two hearing impaired children followed and in the absence of quality services we were forced to travel to the West, in particular to the USA, where our children received the best possible intervention. Today, all our children are educated and lead productive and satisfying lives, having fulfilled their full potential.
Sadly, this was not the fate of most of the children in our community with communication disorders; most of them would have very limited opportunities.
As a result, in 1991 the Jeddah Institute for Speech and Hearing (JISH), a non-profit organization, was established to help all those with communication disorders (i.e. articulation, fluency, voice, receptive and expressive language delay, pragmatics, oral/aural rehabilitation, aphasia etc) achieve their maximum communication potential.
Our aim was to provide locally the same quality of speech and hearing services our children had received in the United States. To achieve this, JISH had to recruit equally qualified Arabic speaking speech-language pathologists to those that had worked with our children. There were none to be found in the region; we had to develop our own. To this end, JISH recruited distinguished professors in the field of communication disorders from leading university programs and speech centers in United States and Canada to set up the clinic and supervise the young Arabic speaking speech therapists recruited from different universities across the Middle East. To make certain that the JISH services adhered to the standards set up by the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), all our non ASHA certified clinicians were then enrolled on a JISH scholarship in a Masters' Degree program at the University of California San Jose (UCSJ), in the United States, and upon graduating they went on to receive the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC, SLP) from the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA). Since its inception, JISH provided scholarships and internships that resulted in the certification of more than fifty speech-language pathologists by the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA).
To ensure that our speech-language pathologists are updated with the latest in clinical techniques and research, JISH provides on-going intensive continuing education through courses, workshops, and internships at accredited university programs and clinics in the United States of America and the UK. In addition, JISH continues to grant scholarships to its staff for graduate and doctorate degrees in the fields of Speech-Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis.
To fulfill its long term goal of developing the profession at the ASHA standard of clinical practice in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, JISH embarked on a partnership with Dar Al Hekma College and helped establish the first speech and hearing undergraduate program in the Western Region of Saudi Arabia, in accordance with the ASHA guidelines for higher education.
Our mission was to empower all patients and their families and provide them with the best possible service regardless of cost. To this purpose, the JISH Patient Sponsorship Fund was set up to ensure that every family has access to our services regardless of their ability to pay. Our commitment to this set of core values has not changed, JISH continues to be about helping all families with special needs reach their maximum communication potential
Founder & Chief Executive Director