Who We Are


boy-girl-manipulative-toysCEID’s mission is to maximize the communication potential of young children (0-5 years old) who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have severe speech and language delays by providing exemplary early start educational services. We strive to create a diverse, inclusive, and educationally rich environment in order to empower our students and their families with the academic and social tools needed to reach their full potential.


CEID began in 1980 as a federally funded, demonstration program for infants and toddlers who were deaf or hard of hearing. By 1981, we were recognized as a ‘Best Practices’ site (now called an ‘Education Visitation’ site) by the California Department of Education; a distinction we have been awarded every year since 1981. We moved from San Francisco to Berkeley in 1984, establishing the first family centered early program in the East Bay for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who are deaf and hard of hearing. CEID then relocated to its present, custom-built facility in 2004 and expanded to include Sunshine Preschool and Childcare (an affordable and innovative program designed to serve both typically developing children and children with special needs) and our community Audiology Clinic.

More than thirty years later, CEID remains one of the few licensed facilities in the Bay Area offering comprehensive early education and support services for families with very young children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Over the years we have integrated a wide array of services into our programs. In addition to early education, CEID offers speech and language therapy; occupational therapy; parent education and support; sign language classes; and comprehensive audiology services. Our multidisciplinary team includes credentialed teachers of the deaf; speech and language pathologists; home visit specialists; an occupational therapist; consultants in the fields of pediatrics and mental health; and licensed clinical and dispensing audiologists.

Our Founder

Before retiring in 2014, Jill Ellis worked for more than 30 years in the field of deaf education as an interpreter, classroom teacher, parent-infant specialist, trainer, presenter, sign language instructor, consultant, fundraiser, and administrator. Jill supervised and implemented numerous special projects to establish mainstream childcare opportunities, community outreach, parent empowerment projects, physician and medical provider training, and special training materials.

During her time at CEID she also produced a unique, animated storytelling videotape in sign language, “Show ‘n Tell” Stories (available for order), and has consulted and presented nationally and internationally. She and her husband, Jim, have three grown sons, all of whom have unique learning styles, personalities, talents, and interests.