"Learning to listen and talk is directly related to early identification, early amplification, and early intervention..."
Why is early intervention important?
When parents find out that their newborn child cannot hear, the news is absolutely devastating. It raises questions that no parent wants to ask: Will my child talk? Can she learn? Will my child be able to get a job?
The answer to all of these questions is “yes!” But the degree of success and the ability to learn to listen and talk are directly related to early identification, early amplification and early intervention.
Newborn infant hearing screening now makes it possible for babies to be identified with a hearing loss at birth. The next step is providing amplification immediately. This can start with hearing aids. If the hearing loss warrants it, cochlear implants can be done by the age of 12 to 18 months.
What are Summit’s three programs?
Our Parent-Infant Program for children birth to age three provides support and education to parents and families so that families can understand their child’s deafness; foster growth in their child’s listening, speech, and language; and advocate for their child with medical personnel, equipment dealers, and school systems.
Our Preschool Program is for children ages 3 to 6. Speech pathologists, classroom teachers and teaching assistants work as a team to track the children’s vocabulary, listening skills, speech, syntax, and discourse skills. Children alternate between small group language lessons and larger group content specific lessons. Our goal is that this intense language/listening practice will promote more than one year’s growth in language for every year in the program.
Our Itinerant Mainstream Support program for children ages 4 to 16 provides educational and technical support to children and teachers in mainstream programs. Our teachers work with children in their local schools helping them with their academic subjects while tracking and assessing their language skills. We not only help teachers address the students’ learning issues, we give the children confidence to advocate for themselves.
What is the economic impact when children do not receive early intervention?
When children do not receive early intervention, special education for a child with a hearing loss costs schools an additional $420,000, a lifetime cost of approximately $1 million per individual according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
By delivering a superior education through the preschool years, our program helps reduce the overall cost of special education. If our children exhibit superior results in speech and audition before entering kindergarten and have skills approximating their chronological age, they will require minimal support services over the next 12 years.
An interview with Executive Director Dr. Pamela Paskowitz