Early Intervention Network: Supporting Linguistic Competence for Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Factor 4 - Early fitting of amplification and ongoing monitoring of its effectiveness are integral to selecting communication strategies to facilitate language development.

Based on evidence, the recommended practices for this factor are:

Provide collaborative early intervention (EI) practices to guide fitting of listening technologies and decision making regarding language and communication strategies.

Provide collaborative EI practices to guide fitting of listening technologies and decision making regarding language and communication strategies, including: 

  • use of an experienced pediatric audiologist to fit amplification at the earliest age possible; 
  • professionals on the IFSP team (e.g., audiologists, speech-language pathologists, early interventionists) with the skills, training, and experience to monitor the outcomes of auditory technologies and spoken language acquisition for young children who are deaf or hard of hearing; 
  • family-professional collaboration to explore and evaluate spoken language approaches and strategies to ensure they align with a child's hearing levels and observed benefit from listening technologies; and 
  • processes to review and revise recommendations as a child progresses in his or her auditory development or his or her auditory technology use and/or benefit changes (e.g., child receives a cochlear implant, child is not developing spoken language skills to the level expected with his or her hearing aid).

Provide family services and supports to facilitate spoken language acquisition.

Provide services and supports to empower families with the skills and resources to facilitate spoken language acquisition that include:

  • professionals with the core knowledge and skills related to how to facilitate listening, speech, and spoken language skill development (see resources in the Professional Preparation section of the site resources);
  • family education regarding:

    1. the importance of facilitating spoken language acquisition while also monitoring and addressing achievement of developmental milestones in a variety of areas, including overall language development, cognition, and social-emotional development;
    2. the importance of exploring approaches and strategies to facilitate oral/aural development to match a child's level of benefit from listening technologies and their individual language and communication profile;
    3. evidence in the literature documenting how the use of sign language can be beneficial to providing a bridge to a child's spoken language development;
  • use of a family coaching/partner model to guide families in learning how to facilitate their child's spoken language development via:
    1. providing supports to promote appropriate, functioning, and consistently-worn listening technology;
    2. understanding hierarchies of typical receptive and expressive spoken language development;
    3. observing and understanding a child's auditory behaviors;
    4. incorporating auditory and spoken language opportunities into daily routines;
    5. identifying and creating "auditory moments" to teach listening skills; and
    6. teaching families how to make auditory and speech practices practical.