What is early intervention?
An early intervention service is an education or therapy service designed to help children with permanent hearing loss develop age-appropriate communication skills before they start school.
Whether someone has a hearing loss or has normal hearing, language meaning can be shared in many ways.
Some of the most familiar ways are speech, tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions and writing. Many people use a combination of these to send and receive messages.
Kyleigh talks about her family’s journey and early intervention services.
Different types of therapy
Listed below are different types of therapy you may be introduced to when talking with your family support facilitator or other professionals about your child’s speech and language development.
|Auditory-verbal therapy – developing spoken language through listening.
||Teaching deaf children to listen and speak using their existing hearing, and through regular use of amplification devices, e.g. hearing aids, frequency modulation (FM) devices and cochlear implants. The main goal is to develop spoken communication skills.
|Auditory-oral approach – speaking-listening approach
||Making use of hearing aids or other technology to make sure the child is getting the best use out of the hearing they have. The main goal is to help the child to develop speech and language skills.
||A bilingual-bicultural approach involves Auslan being used and taught as the child’s first language and English as their second language. Some children who use a bilingual-bicultural approach learn English solely for the purpose of developing reading and writing skills; other children will also work towards developing spoken English. The ability to use Auslan, together with knowledge of deaf culture, enables participation in the deaf community.
|Spoken language in combination with Auslan
|Some families make the decision for their child to develop spoken language in combination with Auslan. Some of these families come from a hearing background and have spoken language as their first language; others come from a deaf background and have Auslan as their first language.
Families share their stories
Grandparents, Barry and Margaret, and mother, Kyleigh, talk about their experiences with accessing early intervention services.
Accessing early intervention services
Most early intervention services are offered by government or non-government agencies, including early childhood development programs (ECDPs) and other centres around the state. Each service varies and may include one-on-one appointments and therapy, playgroups, parent education groups and parent support groups.
For further information see the Queensland Hearing Loss Family Support Service — Possibilities and Pathways resource.