Early Identification/Intervention

What is early intervention?
Early intervention is when a child is identified with hearing loss (any disability or developmental delay) and receives services before the child is six months of age.
According to Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), states are encouraged to provide services for children from birth to age three. The child and family have the same legal right to a free and appropriate education as a child without a disability.
Early Intervention services provide support and information to families to enhance their child’s development in all aspects.
Qualified teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing can help identify the strengths and needs your child and teach you ways to help your child develop.
Parents and caregivers serve as the child’s teacher.

Goals of Early Intervention include:

  • Provide immediate access to communication/language for the child
    • Allowing families to connect with their baby immediately
  • Guide and assist families in making decisions
  • Gather and Provide information so families can make informed decisions
  • Provide appropriate amplification as soon as possible
  • Help families network with other parents and service providers
  • Teach parents to become the expert in their child’s education


The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has established the 1:3:6 Goal:
1 Every baby should have been screened before they were 1 month old.

3 Any babies that failed their screen should be re-tested and identified before they are 3 months old by an audiologist.

6 Any babies identified with hearing loss (and their families) should begin receiving early intervention services before they are 6 months old.

1 month: screened
3 months: re-tested/ identified by audiologist
6 months: early intervention services have begun

Why early intervention?

Since 90% of what young children learn is attributed to incidental language, access to language is crucial for normal development.
Research has shown if intervention begins before six months of age:

  • significantly improved receptive and expressive language, social skills, and speech production
  • language development of children is similar regardless of severity of the hearing loss ( a child that is deaf does as well as a child with mild hearing loss)
  • benefits are significant and present regardless of communication mode (speech or sign language)parents feel less stress as a result of early intervention
  • parents feel less stress as a result of early intervention


  • ~ 1 in every 1,000 infants is born deaf
  • 6 infants per 1,000 will have a hearing loss in at least one ear that will affect communication, cognition, and educational development.
  • 90% of what young children learn is by incidental exposure to language
  • 20 to 30 percent of hearing loss in children occurs during infancy and early childhood.
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