March 13-15, 2016 • San Diego, CA


3/15/2016  |   1:45 PM - 2:15 PM   |  Topical Session 6   |  Tiki Pavilion   |  7 - Family Perspectives and Support

“The Word is Out”: What Families with an Expressed Desire for a Listening and Spoken Language Outcome Say When Given an Opportunity to Report on Quality and Availability of Services

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 service providers. 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. The literature concerning children who are deaf or hard of hearing suggests that families require timely, unbiased, culturally sensitive and relevant information delivered by qualified professionals at each stage of the journey. The literature overwhelmingly indicates when children who are deaf or hard of hearing are identified early and provided with appropriate, comprehensive family-centered early intervention services from properly-trained professionals, most are able to progress at age-appropriate rates and many require minimal special education services by the time they enter elementary school (Kennedy, et. al., 2006; Moeller, 2000; Yoshinaga-Itano et al., 1998). Yet, even when identified early, many families still are not receiving services that yield the outcomes that can be expected for today’s early identified child. We know that many 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. This session will present the general findings of The Family Needs Assessment, promote discussion about strategies that can address challenges identified, and engage the audience in generation of possible solutions for addressing related needs within attendees’ own State EHDI program and system.

  • Describe at least two critical elements that impact families’ access to early intervention services.
  • List three major findings that describe what families are experiencing in delivery of early intervention services to support language development.
  • Identify at least two "take away" points for application within your State EHDI program or system.

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Gayla Guignard (Primary Presenter), Alexander Graham Bell Association, gguignard@agbell.org;
Gayla Hutsell Guignard recently returned to the Alexander Graham Bell Association as its Chief Strategy Officer following six years of employment as the Indiana State EHDI Coordinator and two years as the inaugural Director of the Indiana Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education. Gayla was employed with AG Bell from 2003 to 2007 and with the University of Tennessee from 1991 to 2003. Gayla's work as a direct service provider, parent coach, and non-profit and government program administrator has provided her with a unique perspective of how to


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