Your Early Intervention Team
Parents, primary caregivers, Audiologists, and Early Interventionists are all members of the team working together to provide a child, who is deaf or hard-of-hearing, early intervention. At BCFHRC, our Early Interventionists specialize in working with infants, toddlers and preschoolers who are deaf and hard-of-hearing and their families. Our Early Interventionists include: Speech and Language Pathologists, Teachers of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing and an Auditory-Verbal Therapist. Depending on the family, a team may also include other members: a Support Worker, physicians and specialists, a Physiotherapist, and an Infant Development Consultant are just some examples. Our staff at BCFHRC are welcoming of all team members, and look forward to collaborating with others to ensure the best outcomes for every child and family.
Assessing your child
Parents of infants and young children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing commonly ask the following questions:
- What can my child access through hearing?
- What can my child access through seeing?
- Will my child be able to communicate?
- Will sign language be helpful?
- What will my baby’s speech sound like?
- How do I know which communication method to choose?
- Is there proof that one method is better than the other?
- How will I know which method will work with my baby?
Answers to these questions vary from child to child and family to family.
We invite families to be completely involved in assessments and information gathering, defining outcomes, observing abilities, and making appropriate adjustments along the way. This family-centred approach to early intervention enables the discovery of what works best for each child and family.
Assessment tools are carefully selected to provide information that measures various aspects of communication development. Together with a family, Early Interventionists complete assessments every 6 months to help identify what is working well and to immediately pick up on any areas of concern. Assessments are individualized to each child’s and family’s needs, and typically includes standardized, norm referenced instruments that involve parent observations. Assessments are selected depending on a child’s chronological and developmental age; supplemental tools may be recommended.
Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSP’s)
The Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is an ongoing process of the whole team discovering appropriate goals and strategies that are unique to each family so that every child makes optimal progress. Assessments, observations, priorities, interests and resources provide information that is used when the team meets at regular intervals to evaluate progress, establish goals, and design strategies. The information goes into the IFSP document.
Families play a central role in determining the communication methods used by the child, family, and other people in the child’s life. The IFSP puts a plan of action in place that considers:
- Parents’ preferences, given the full spectrum of choices and resources/organizations supporting each choice
- The family’s strengths/resources, concerns/needs and abilities
- The child’s strengths, needs and abilities
- The child’s early communication attempts
- The child’s language development
- The child’s overall developmental progress
- The parents’ understanding that communication choices made can be changed as the family and child change