my child was referred for additional hearing tests
I suspect that my child is not hearing/hearing well?
Follow up and have your child’s hearing tested by an audiologist! Most babies are born with hearing, so many pediatricians are not used to seeing this. Often people will speculate that it’s fluid on the ear causing the hearing test result. A pediatric audiologist can get you the right information. If the tests are inconclusive, make sure that you have a follow-up plan in place. These early years are critical for your child’s learning, so you need to know as soon as possible if she is learning through hearing.
If you are feeling emotions around your child’s diagnosis, acknowledge them. Be kind to yourself and find someone to share your emotions. Fellow parents in this chapter can help. Start building a community of parents. If you feel that you need professional assistance, seek it. Your child needs you to take care of yourself so that you can care for him. And, while you are caring for yourself, take action for your child! Children who are deaf or hard of hearing need extra help to learn, and the early years are so critical for learning. Under the The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), children who are deaf or hard of hearing receive “early intervention” services from ages 0-3. In Alabama, the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) provides these services.
Children who are diagnosed as deaf or hard of hearing after age 3 receive services from their school district. Please reach out to your local school district even if your child has not yet enrolled there. For more information go to: Alabama State Department of Education
The Parent to Parent Committee of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EDHI) has developed a parent guide to D/HH early intervention recommendations.
Will we seek technology to enhance our child’s hearing?
Professionals can evaluate whether your child is a candidateto access hearing throughhearing aidsorcochlear implants. If your child is a candidate for the technology, you must decide whether you want your child to hear and whether you are willing to put in the work to make sure that the technology continually provides your child with access to hearing. It’s not automatic, you must help him learn to listen with his technology, make sure that the technology stays in working order, and teach spoken language.
Ok, here’s where the controversy is. People have some very strong opinions on this topic based on what has worked well or not well for them of their child. Everyone wants the very best for all children who are deaf or hard of hearing. But, here’s the thing, you are your child’s parent and you have to decide what’s best for her. So, take it all in – all of the life experiences that people will share with you and all of the professional opinions that you seek. And, after you have visited and listened and read and thought and talked about it and thought some more, take a good look at your family and your child and decide what you think is the best path to take. Then start moving down that path! It’s going to be a lot of work and you may decide that you need to take a different path once your start down the road, but your child needs to make the most of these early years so start moving! Whichever path you choose, there are people willing to help you. I hope that this chapter can help you find them.