Putting it all Together
After hearing about all these options and intervention services, you may be confused. You may be wondering "How do I make these plans and contact these people?"
One way to put all the intervention services together is through a program in your state called the Part C Program. This is a program for children — birth to three years of age — who have a developmental delay, or are at risk for one. The Part C Program is funded by the federal government, as part of the Individuals with Disability Act, (also called IDEA).
You sign up for the Part C program by applying through an agency of the state where you live. The agency is different in each state. In many states, children with hearing loss will qualify for the Part C program. Please ask your team of professionals for more information on the Part C program in your state.
If your child qualifies, the Part C Program provides many services to your child and family. Professionals that work with the Part C Program:
- Look at the needs of your child and family
- Create an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP)
Each family and child who uses this program is assigned a service coordinator. He or she will help the family put all the services together and help make or design an individual plan that makes the most of the child's unique strengths and works with the child's needs.
There is more information on the Part C program in the next section of this CD. There are also Part C contacts for each state in the Resources section.
An important part of the Part C Program is the Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) . The family and the service coordinator together with the professionals who were involved in the multidisciplinary assessment meet to design the IFSP. This plan outlines all of the services, programs and equipment that a family and child will need for their child. This plan will also outline how the family will receive these services and equipment.Services and equipment may include:
- On-going testing
- Hearing aids, assistive listening devices and cochlear implants
- Special instruction for communication
- School readiness
- Family support services
Even things such as transportation and childcare can be discussed and sometimes arranged.
This plan is family focused. The strengths and needs of the child and the concerns, resources and priorities of the family are important when making this plan. The plan is individualized. No two families will have the exact same IFSP. It is very important that the family works closely with the service coordinator and others to learn as much as possible about the intervention services in order to get the most out of their IFSP process.
Once the IFSP is done, the services and equipment that are written into the plan will begin, if they have not already done so. As time goes on, the parents, the service coordinator and other professionals will look at the IFSP to be sure that the child is getting the services needed. The IFSP will change as the child grows and his or her needs change. The service coordinator will meet with the family at least every 6 months to look at the IFSP and make necessary changes. A family can also ask for a reevaluation of the plan at any time to discuss their child's progress and changes that they feel are needed.
Parents often find the Part C Program to be a helpful resource. If you have not already been referred to the Part C Program in your state, please ask one of the professionals that you are working with to tell you how to contact this program. You can also contact the office in your state that works with children with hearing loss and special needs. These offices are listed in the resource guide. You may also contact a Parent Training and Information Center. These are federally funded centers that provide information and support to families and they know about the Part C Programs. These centers are also listed in your parent resource guide.
Intervention Services: Intervention services are types of services available for children and their families. An intervention service might be:
- Meeting with a professional (or team) who is trained to work with children that have a hearing loss, and their families
- Working with a professional (or team) that can help a family and child learn to communicate
- Fitting a baby with a hearing device, such as a hearing aid
- Joining family support groups
- Other services available to children with a hearing loss and their families
Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP): An IFSP is a plan made for children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. This plan is made by a child's parents and a service coordinator. The plan outlines all of the intervention services and equipment that a family and child will need for the child and his or her hearing loss. This plan will also outline how the family will get these services and equipment. This plan is family focused — the strengths and needs of the child and family are very important when making this plan. Because each child has his or her own plan, no two plans will be the same. It is very important that the family works closely with the service coordinator and others to learn as much as possible about the intervention services available to them in order to get the most out of the IFSP process.
Service Coordinator: This is a professional that is assigned to help a family work through the IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan). Every family that takes part in this program is assigned a service coordinator. This professional works closely with the family to set up the services in the Part C program. The service coordinator talks with the family to learn about their concerns, resources, and priorities.
Assistive Listening Devices: There are many devices that can help children and adults with hearing loss. You can talk to your audiologist about which one (or ones) is best for your child. Some of these devices include:
- Hearing Aids
- Cochlear Implants
- FM Systems
- Telephone amplifiers
- Flashing and vibrating alarms
- Audio loops systems
- Infra red listening devices
- Portable sound amplifiers
- TTY or TDD (Text Telephone or Telecommunications Device for the Deaf)
Hearing Aid: Hearing aids make sounds louder and clearer. Hearing aids are be worn by people of any age — including infants. Young babies with hearing loss can better understand sounds using hearing aids. This gives them the chance to learn speech skills right from birth.
There are many styles of hearing aids. They can help many types of hearing losses — mild, moderate, severe, and profound. Your baby's audiologist will help you pick the best type for your baby's hearing loss. A young child is usually fitted with behind-the-ear (BTE) style hearing aids because they adjust better on growing ears. Behind-the-ear hearing aids come in skin tone as well as many bright colors.
Mild Hearing Loss: A person with a mild hearing loss may hear some speech sounds but soft sounds are hard to hear.
Moderate Hearing Loss: A person with a moderate hearing loss may hear almost no speech when another person is talking at a normal level.
Severe Hearing Loss: A person with severe hearing loss will hear no speech of a person talking at a normal level and only some loud sounds.
Profound Hearing Loss: A person with a profound hearing loss will not hear any speech and only very loud sounds.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
Hearing Loss Team
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30333
TTY: (888) 232-6348
- Contact CDC-INFO