Children who are deaf or hard of hearing need strategies and supports to ensure they can access language, social interaction, and all areas of development. Early intervention is critical to their success. Maryland’s Universal Hearing Screening Program mandates hearing assessment of all babies born in Maryland (Md. Code Ann., Health Gen. §13-602). The Joint Committee on Infant Hearing’s “1-3-6” goals, designed to ensure children who are Deaf or hard of hearing receive the early intervention they need to prevent developmental delays in language, are as follows:
- All newborns should receive hearing screening by one month of age,
- All children who refer on the screening should receive definitive diagnostic testing by three months of age, and
- All babies who are Deaf or hard of hearing should be enrolled in early intervention services by six months of age.
Most Deaf and hard-of-hearing children have hearing parents who may not be familiar with deafness or the many language and communication access strategies that can benefit their children. Families need comprehensive, unbiased information about the children’s needs and the resources available.
The March 2018 Technical Assistance Bulletin from the Maryland State Department of Education Division of Early Intervention and Special Education Services provides guidance to both early intervention service providers and families on effective services.
The Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center and Boston Children’s Hospital collaborated to produce Setting Language in Motion, a series of modules on hearing status, amplification, language access strategies, and other resources for early intervention with infants and toddlers who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing.