Title: 'Family Needs Assessment - Families Report on Quality and Availability of Services'
Track: 7 - Family Perspectives and Support
Keyword(s): Quality and availability of services
Learning Objectives:
  1. Describe at least two critical elements that impacted families’ access to early intervention services.
  2. List three major findings that describe what families are experiencing in delivery of early intervention services to support language development.
  3. Describe both positive and negative characteristics of professionals who deliver information as identified by families of children with hearing loss.


The Alexander Graham Bell Association conducted The Family Needs Assessment in an effort to gain insight on the perceptions of families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing on the quality and availability of services received, from both private and public providers. Literature concerning children with hearing loss clearly confirms that those who receive early intervention have better outcomes, yet many children still are not receiving the full spectrum of services needed to ensure success. Families continue to struggle in their journey to make informed decisions regarding pathways to language development, often in the absence of adequate knowledge, financial resources and social supports. The goal of the assessment was to understand the needs of families seeking a listening and spoken language outcome as they progress through the major phases of their child’s journey, including newborn screening, diagnosis, connecting with early intervention, amplification, IFSP development, transition to IEP and preschool and school-age transitions. Literature suggests that families require timely, unbiased, culturally sensitive and relevant information delivered by qualified professionals at each stage of this journey. Counseling and management should be developed so that parents get informational support as well as adjustment and emotional support. This dichotomy of personal guidance and informational support is relevant not only to the types of professionals that are needed, but the style, tone, and channels utilized for information disbursement. Families across the country need equitable access to financial support and advocates on their behalf. Families and children need the resources and skills to advocate for themselves and to be fully empowered as they navigate an often complex network of service providers, support organizations and administrative institutions. This session will present the general findings of The Family Needs Assessment and promote discussion about strategies that can address challenges identified by respondents.
Presentation: 1301JudyHarrison.pdf

Handouts: Handout is not Available
Judy Harrison - POC
AG Bell
     Credentials: M.A.
      Judy Harrison is the Interim Executive Director for the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She is an experienced teacher of the deaf and early interventionist specializing with cochlear implants. She currently represents AG Bell on the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial -
Donald Goldberg - Primary Presenter
College of Wooster/CCF
     Credentials: Ph.D., CCC-SLP/A, LSLS Cert. AVT
     Other Affiliations: College of Wooster, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, & Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
      Donald M. Goldberg is a Professor of Communication at the College of Wooster (Ohio), and a Consultant on the Professional Staff with the Hearing Implant Program at the Cleveland Clinic’s Head and Neck Institute. Dr. Goldberg is the former Executive Director of the Helen Beebe Speech and Hearing Center in Easton, Pennsylvania. Don is a Past President of the AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language and Past President of AG Bell. Dr. Goldberg completed his master’s degree in speech- language pathology in 1979 and his Ph.D. in auditory rehabilitation in 1985 from the University of Florida. He is dually certified in speech-language pathology and audiology. Dr. Goldberg is also a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist, Certified Auditory-Verbal Therapist (LSLS Cert. AVT). He is proud to be the grandfather of Sarah, Lydia, and Elizabeth.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.
Meredith Sugar - Co-Presenter
AG Bell
     Credentials: J.D.
      Meredith Knueve Sugar is a practicing attorney in the Business & Finance and Private Client groups at the law firm of Taft Stettinius & Hollister, LLP in Columbus OH. She has been a member of AG Bell since 2006 when she and her familiy attended their first AG Bell convention, as was elected to its Board of Directors in 2009. She is currently serving as the president-elect. Meredith and her husband are parents to four children, including an 8-year-old son who uses bilateral cochlear implants, as well as two other sons and a daughter. She has previou7sly served as secretary of the board of directors for AG Bell's Ohio Chapter and is active in other nonprofit capacities, specifically organizations related to hearing loss.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - Has a Personal (President-Elect, Alexander Graham Bell Association) relationship for Board membership.