The Association was founded in 1943 and its main aim is to provide a better quality of life for persons who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing,
Late Deafened and Families of such.
The Trinidad and Tobago Association for the Hearing Impaired (TTAHI) was launched on July 29, 1943, under the guidance of founder Reverend William Gilby as the Trinidad Association in Aid of the Deaf and Dumb. On November 15th 193 the School for the Deaf was established at Martha House, #52 Edward Street, Port of Spain and in 1946, the school was relocated to #19 Cascade Road, Cascade and renamed Cascade School for the Deaf.
During the 60’s, Audrey Jeffers School for the Deaf was established due to the momentum gained in Deaf education and in response to the growing number of children being diagnosed with deafness in the South of Trinidad due to an outbreak of German measles rubella virus.
In 1962, the Association was incorporated by Act of Parliament no. 18 and its name changed to The Trinidad Association in Aid of the Deaf, removing the pejorative term ‘dumb’ from the title, which many people have rightly regarded as offensive.
In the year 2000 the name was again changed as the old Act was repealed. The new act was granted through 53 of Parliament in September 2000.
The vision of the founding Board was to provide support for parents and families of Deaf students in the areas of education and social life. It was not until the late 80’s that the mandate of the Association was extended to include a holistic range of services that would provide clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic benefits for persons who were deaf and hard of hearing, with emphasis on diagnosing and treating the early stages of hearing loss in children to enable them to be fully integrated in society.
The Diagnostic Research Education Therapeutic Centre, commonly referred to as DRETCHI opened its doors on November 21st, 1991 as the clinical and technical services function of TTAHI after its first soil turning 1989.
DRETCHI was created to provide audiological services in order to strengthen and implement the mandate of the Association. The approach to these services was intended to be holistic in its programme development and an impetus for creating educational and employment opportunities for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D&HH) community to allow for their integration in society.