March 13-15, 2016 • San Diego, CA


3/15/2016  |   9:40 AM - 10:10 AM   |  Topical Session 4   |  Tiki Pavilion   |  7 - Family Perspectives and Support

Empowering Families through Information Sharing

In order for families to make effective educational decisions for their children with hearing loss, they must be equipped with comprehensive and balanced information related to hearing loss and communication options. With that in mind, the Pennsylvania Agenda for Students who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Deafblind (PA Department of Education, 2005) set forth a goal of providing timely, non-biased information to all identified families. In addition, Pennsylvania mandates independent evaluations for children entering early intervention so families can have concerns addressed and obtain needed support. Philadelphia County responded to this call to action by adding an Independent Hearing Consultant (IHC) to the early intervention evaluation teams that assess children with hearing loss in Philadelphia County. Philadelphia has instituted a two-visit process with the IHC, which includes a Hearing Orientation Visit and participation in the evaluation and the creation of the Individual Family Service Plan. This session will discuss the use of the Independent Hearing Consultant during the two-visit process, identify information shared with families including how communication options are discussed, highlight the benefits of this new model, discuss impact on families, team members, and learning outcomes, and how this approach can be applied to other counties/states.

  • describe how the addition of an independent hearing consultant to the early intervention evaluation team can support family education, learning outcomes, and empowerment of the family
  • discuss topics that families can benefit from during entry into the early intervention system
  • Apply early information sharing during the early intervention process to support families and team members and provide a strong foundation for ongoing engagement

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Roberta Rossman (Primary Presenter), Pediatric Therapeutics, KenCrest, roberta.rossman@gmail.com;
Roberta Rossman, MEd, MSW is a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and a Licensed Social Worker with 20+ years experience in the field of deafness providing early intervention expertise supporting students in a variety of healthcare, education and community settings including The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Center for Childhood Communication, The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, and currently as the Independent Hearing Consultant to early intervention in Philadelphia, PA through Pediatric Theraputics and KenCrest organizations. Roberta's degrees in Special Education, Deaf Education and Social Work have provided a strong foundation for her work with children, birth through five, who have a variety of hearing losses and additional disabilities and a diversity of families living in both urban and suburban settings.


Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.