If your child has been identified with hearing loss, they’ve most likely been referred to a specialized Early Intervention Program, like Sound Start Babies. Sound Start Babies not only has expertise in working with babies with hearing loss and their families, but they also have the resources to guide and support you through the transition process.
Watching a child grow and become ready for preschool is exciting and emotional for all parents. As the parent of a child with hearing loss, you may also experience feelings of uncertainty, doubt, and worry. Program Coordinator and TOD, Kayley Mayer reassures, “At Sound Start Babies, we want parents to know that they’re never alone in this process, our goal is that your child’s transition to preschool is smooth and successful.”
How does that happen?
Transition planning begins early, typically at an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) meeting held soon after the child’s second birthday. This gives parents, the EI team, and eventually the school district time to meet, share information, and plan. Beginning this process early also helps parents to understand the timeline, ask questions, and feel confident in making decisions as an active member of their child’s team.
There are several Federally mandated procedures that Early Intervention and the school district must follow. Approximately four months, but no later than 90 days before the child turns three, the service coordinator is required to ask the parent if they want the school district to be notified of their child’s upcoming third birthday and possible eligibility for preschool. If the parent agrees, the district is notified. Mayer adds, “The 90-day timeline is important because the school district needs time to complete a mandated list of activities before the child turns three.”
-Meet with the parent and obtain consent to move forward with the evaluation process
-Decide on what assessments are necessary to determine eligibility for specialized preschool programming and related services
-If the child is eligible: Develop an Individualized Education Program(IEP); the plan that will guide the child’s preschool special education and related services
-Recommend and secure a preschool placement
Are we making the right choices?
Parent-professional partnerships, developed during your child’s time in Early Intervention, provide a solid foundation of information and support to help you become an effective advocate for your child. At any point during the transition process, you can also request that a member of your EI team accompany you to a meeting and/or submit reports for your district to consider. Most children with hearing loss benefit from having their child’s audiologist participate in the transition process. The audiologist, along with your EI providers, can help the district understand the impact your child’s hearing loss will have on their auditory access to the preschool learning environments. Personalized recommendations from this team will address ways to promote language and communication access so that your child is able to fully participate and learn at preschool.
Sound Start Babies is a resource for families navigating the world of hearing loss. Regardless of whether you receive early intervention services from us, Sound Start Babies is always here to answer any questions you have. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.