EARLY IDENTIFICATION AND INTERVENTION GOAL TWO: Qualified Service Providers and Fidelity of Service Delivery
Goal Statement New Mexico families with infants and toddlers who are deaf or hard of hearing will have increased, immediate and ongoing, access to Part C service providers with specialized training and experience. Assurances related to these specialized service providers will also be in place relative to accountability and fidelity of service delivery.
Background Language and communication access, beginning at the time of birth, is critical for all children. It is a basic human right. It is the foundation for linguistic, cognitive, social, and emotional development as well as the foundation for future learning and educational success. Naturally, this need for access includes children who are deaf or hard of hearing. In fact, this need is even more poignant for these children given that they frequently have reduced opportunities for planned and incidental language interaction. Safeguards must be in place to make certain that families have the resources, information, and support necessary to ensure that their child has unimpeded and complete language access to the world around them. These safeguards must be family-centered, compliant with state and federal mandates, and provided as close to birth as possible. This early access will positively impact the child’s entire learning trajectory. All studies with successful outcomes reported for early-identified children who are deaf or hard of hearing have early and consistent intervention provided by specialists trained in parent infant intervention services (Yoshinaga 1998, Moeller 2000, JCIH 2007). Professionals with a background in parent-infant deaf education, or a related field, are typically able to provide the most appropriate intervention services. The Joint Commission on Infant Hearing (JCIH) states, “Professionals should be highly qualified in their respective fields and should be skilled communicators who are knowledgeable and sensitive to the importance of enhancing families’ strengths and supporting their priorities.” JCIH also includes access to Deaf adults, as well as other parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing, as essential to this component of early intervention. Each year approximately 80 infants are born in New Mexico with significant hearing loss. Less than one-third of these children are seen by a specialized service provider before the age of six months, which is the standard of care 10
New Mexico Task Force for Education for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Children & Youth