The first question a family
usually asks themselves after a child is identified with hearing loss is,
"What should we do for our baby?". Our Parent and Infant Early Intervention Program serves families
with Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing children from birth to three years old. The
program is a valuable source of information and training that enables
families to become more comfortable in their role as parents, guardians,
caregivers, or siblings of a child with hearing loss. Families are
active participants with the child in the program.
Parents, guardians, and caregivers have the opportunity
to participate in weekly sign language instruction and support
groups. The program is provided by qualified and certified
personnel, both hearing and deaf, trained to work with children with
hearing loss. Deaf adults as role models are an important part of
the Parent Infant Program and are a great source of information and
support for hearing parents.
and intervention for children with hearing loss is a vital part of academic and
life success. Research has shown
that there is a critical developmental period during which a child must learn
language. Sign language is recognized as a bona fide language. Deaf and
Hard-of-Hearing babies go
through developmental phases when they "babble" in sign just as
hearing babies do with sounds. It is crucial that a child with hearing loss
begin to develop expressive and receptive language as soon as possible. The goal of our program is the development of language and
communication skills for both parents and infants.
BIRTH TO TWO YEARS OLD
A certified teacher of the deaf provides
individual services to every family as defined in the Individual Family
Service Plan. These services are provided in the home. Families are
instructed in hearing loss and its impact on communication, hearing
aid use and maintenance, cochlear implants, different methods of
communication, and developmental milestones. Family involvement,
communication skills, and language development are emphasized.
TWO TO THREE YEARS OLD
A weekly individual session with the
teacher is offered with the added opportunity for parents, guardians, or
caregivers, to participate with the child in small group activities twice a week.
Auditory training, communication, language development, and speech production
continue to be an integral part of the program. The addition of small group
activities enable the child to participate
in experiences in fine motor, gross motor and self-help development activities.
The children develop
readiness skills and through age
appropriate stories, games and experiences, further expand their cognitive and language abilities
Ongoing assessment and evaluation
are also an important part of the process. In the small groups, the children have the opportunity to
work individually with the teacher and speech therapist. The children interact
with other Deaf and Hard- of-Hearing children and participate in group activities
to practice the skills that prepares them for school. Families through
observation, modeling, and participation in a variety of settings continue to
develop their skills and become more confident about their child's future.
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