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Children's Medical Services - Special services for children with special needs
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Infant Toddler Development Training
Module 6, Lesson 3

Deafness and Hearing Impaired

As a means of introducing the next major sensory impairment area, the following letter is included. It was written to parents and was shared with Early Steps for use in this portion of the lesson on deafness and hard of hearing. The letter was written by a parent of two children with special needs. It is educational, informative and sensitive.

Dear Parents:

My husband and I are the proud parents of two incredible children, both with hearing loss. Unfortunately our state did not have newborn hearing screening when they were born. The similarities between our children are they both use cochlear implants to hear and are siblings. Their paths to this point are remarkably different. My son's hearing loss wasn't identified until he was about 22 months old. He was initially fitted with a hearing aid in his better ear and the second aid 4 months later. At 2 ½, his hearing loss was mild to severe. He began speech therapy and slowly gained language skills. Since our educational backgrounds were not in the medical field, we listened to the medical experts, and followed all their advice.

When our daughter was born, we tested her hearing at 3 months on the advice of our ENT. She was born profoundly deaf! After the initial shock wore off and we worked through the emotional turmoil, we felt prepared to help her by whatever means necessary. She began wearing hearing aids at 4 months and started speech therapy at 5 months. I began reading, researching and meeting other families with deaf children. I discovered that the services my son was receiving were not at all appropriate for a child with hearing loss. We lost critical time and wasted over a year of speech services!

Although my son only had a mild to severe loss, which eventually progressed to profound, he experienced a 2-year language gap. His sister who was born with a profound hearing loss, had the advantage of early intervention services, appropriate speech and language services, appropriate amplification, ultimately a cochlear implant at an early age, never had a language gap of more than 12 months! Her language skills developed similarly to those of hearing children. By the age of 4 ½, she closed her language gap. She is fully mainstreamed in the third grade, is an avid reader, plays the piano, dances, takes drama and has an incredible social life for an eight year old. Our son is a 6th grader with a sense of humor who plays tennis, flag football, lacrosse and baseball, is a boy scout, and makes the honor roll at his school.

By becoming informed parents of services for the deaf, we searched and found the services that best met the needs of our family. It was a long, long road to where we are today, but worth every minute and experience. Our children are children first, who happen to hear differently than we do.

Ann Filloon

In order to be prepared for processing this portion of Lesson 3, you are required to read specified materials if you have not already done so. This lesson includes several documents found in the Resource Bank. Specifically, these include resources from the Serving Hearing Impaired Newborns Effectively (SHINE) component of Florida Early Steps.

You will be responsible for the definition of SHINE, the primary philosophies and goals found at SHINE Index. You will also use the Parent Interview Protocol for Child Hearing and Vision Skills which you reviewed in the first part of this lesson. You will need to review the SHINE Functional Outcomes in order to answer one of the questions related to an activity at the end of the lesson

Please print the following additional documents:


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