How can we help?

Can my deaf child learn to speak?
Yes, in most cases, with technology & intensive education starting early. Children’s optimal window for language acquisition is age 0 – 3.
When should I get hearing aids for my baby?
As early as you can. See your audiologist.
Should my baby get cochlear implants?
Cochlear implants can be a great technology for many children who have severe and profound hearing loss. See your audiologist and see her or him soon.
Should I wait to see if my child speaks by the time they’re in kindergarten?
Don’t wait! There is so much you can do starting with newborns! If you wait until kindergarten, you will be past the optimal period for language acquisition of birth-to-age three.
What can I do to help my deaf child learn to talk?
Become informed about your child’s audiology, hearing technology options, and language development. Pursue intensive language instruction and therapy so that your child can close the gap with hearing peers and acquire language early – the optimal window for learning language is birth-to-three.
My baby has hearing technology that gives access to sound, isn’t that enough?
Probably not because (i) even with hearing aids or cochlear implants access to sound can vary and (ii) your baby has gone through months of silence and needs to catch-up their language. Intensive language exposure and instruction will help your baby catch up.
My child passed newborn screening, but now their language isn’t progressing. What can be the issue?
Three to four children in 1,000 lose some hearing between ages 1 and 5, which is more than are flagged by the newborn hearing test. It is critical to get hearing tested promptly! If your child has been diagnosed with hearing loss, hearing technology and language support will help your child’s language progress. If the issue isn’t hearing loss, a professional should diagnose and remediate as soon as possible.
What are language development benchmarks?

In general, a baby/child should:

  • By 12 months, use gestures such as pointing or waving bye-bye
  • By 18 months:
    • Prefer vocalization over gestures to communicate
    • Imitate sounds
    • Understand simple verbal requests
  • By age 2:
    • Produce words or phrases
    • Use spoken language to communicate more than basic needs
    • Be able to follow simple directions
    • Speak with a voice that sounds “normal” (not raspy or nasal)
We’re getting home visits from our Early Intervention, is that enough?

Maybe, maybe not. How often are the visits? What is the professional background of your service provider? Does your child have access to sound, and is your family providing consistent and effective language support?

You could consider a listening and spoken language assessment to evaluate whether all elements are in place and your child is on track. The optimal window of language acquisition is birth to three, so be prepared to act while your child is young!

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