Newborn hearing screenings identify children with hearing loss, which makes them eligible to receive services as quickly as possible. Early Intervention is critical to avoiding delays in listening, spoken language, and even reading. The technology and early intervention services available now allow children with any degree of hearing loss to develop listening and spoken language skills with the support of their family and professional care team. Parents develop a special bond with the individuals who provide services in their home through early intervention. DePaul School’s team of expert clinicians are developing a new early intervention program designed to meet the needs of children newly diagnosed with hearing loss. The program consists of services specifically for babies and toddlers. Advancements in medical technology, paired with targeted habilitation, make it possible to effectively close the developmental gap in language.
Early Intervention Programs
We understand the great impact that early intervention can have for a child who is deaf or hard of hearing. It is crucial for your child’s long-term success to begin developing his or her Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) skills as soon as possible.
To accomplish this goal, we take a team approach. As a parent of a child with hearing loss, your knowledge of Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) techniques and strategies is critical. This is why our program includes continuous education during which you will work closely with and be coached by vital members of your child’s educational team.
This team includes: Audiologists, Teachers of the Deaf, and Speech/Language Pathologists. In addition to these key professionals on the team, there is also opportunity to consult with other service providers in our program including; a School Psychologist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, and School Nurse.
We introduce concepts like:
- Auditory First: Wearing assistive devices during all waking hours to gain access to sound is always the first step!
- Repetition: The repetition of song lyrics and rhythm allows children to learn vocabulary in a fun way that can be easily incorporated into daily routines.
- Acoustic Highlighting: A strategy that makes the words and phrases we say more salient (noticeable, important). This is especially helpful for children with hearing loss who are learning to listen and talk. Remember that the best language is caught, not taught, but we must make that language easier to catch!
- Engagement Strategies: We demonstrate how to use props, instruments, and movements to keep the children engaged.
- Parentese: The exaggerated, drawn-out form of speech that people use to communicate with babies is universal and helpful when learning to recognize the phonetic elements of language.
- Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVT): AVT utilizes specific techniques used to help develop spoken language through listening for newborns, infants, toddlers, and young children who are deaf or hard of hearing. AVT promotes early diagnosis, one-on-one therapy, and state-of-the-art audiologic management and technology, and encourages parents and caregivers to actively participate in therapy. Through guidance, coaching, and demonstration, parents become the primary facilitators of their child’s spoken language development.
DePaul offers a variety of Early Intervention services to meet the needs of children ages birth to three years.
Our goal for your child who is deaf or hard of hearing is to learn in the most natural environment. This is why our program, while center-based, focuses on activities, experiences, and play that is interesting to a typical toddler. These activities are paired with the language and auditory input your child needs to help develop listening and spoken language skills. This small group experience is taught by a team including a Teacher of the Deaf, Speech/Language Pathologist, and Early Intervention Audiologist.
As your child transitions to preschool age we provide support to your family throughout that transition process. This includes a comprehensive report containing your child’s assessment results and current levels of speech, language and listening skills. If your child will enter DePaul’s Preschool Program, he or she will gradually transition into the program in order to become comfortable with his/her new teacher, classmates, and schedule. This will ensure the most successful transition for your child. If your child will attend another preschool, we are able to provide consultation to the school staff regarding the educational needs of your child.
A Day in the Life of A Toddler:
Below is a sample schedule for an elementary student. Students schedules vary based on the child and/or day. If you have schedule questions specific to your student, please reach out to his/her teacher.
Members of the Early Intervention team are able to meet with you to help guide you during this critical time in your child’s development. From understanding your audiogram, navigating the Early Intervention system, managing your child’s equipment, or simply supporting you where you are in your journey, we are able to help. We use a nonjudgmental, empathetic approach when coming alongside families. This can be a home based or center based service.
As part of the Early Intervention team, the audiologist will consult with parents and caregivers regarding any audiological concerns or questions. This may include help with maintaining and assessing your child’s hearing technology, and ensuring your child is comfortable with the test booth environment and procedures. The audiologist in our program will strive to maintain a collaborative relationship with your child’s outside managing audiologist and will be happy to further discuss or explain the results of any audiological evaluations.
Our staff is able to work with you and your child in order to give you skills, techniques, and strategies that you can use to help develop your child’s listening and spoken language skills. These sessions are typically conducted by a Speech/Language Pathologist (SLP) with specialized knowledge in the area of Early Intervention LSL. During regular individual coaching sessions you will work together to identify and track specific goals focused to meet your child’s developmental needs. The SLP will guide you to practice techniques and activities that you can carry over at home to help your child meet those goals.
To learn more about our Early Intervention programs we encourage you to schedule a tour and meet our Early Intervention team.