March 13-15, 2016 • San Diego, CA


3/15/2016  |   3:45 PM - 4:15 PM   |  Topical Session 8   |  Royal Palm 1/2   |  2 - Audiological Services

It's not easy being green: The role of audiologists and EI providers in mitigating 'diagnostic trauma'

Audiologists have a very important responsibility to share often unexpected news that an infant is deaf or hard of hearing, to new parents or caregivers. Both audiologists and early interventionists have a unique opportunity to support the emotional experience of the diagnosis by assisting families in making sense of the diagnosis and mitigating any potential harm to the parent-child relationship. However, audiology and EI providers often have little formal training on how to 'be with' families in these critical moments in the weeks and months after learning that a child is deaf or hard of hearing. Together we will explore the potential impact of early diagnosis of hearing loss on the transition to parenthood and the parent & child’s newly forming relationship. I will share what we, as EHDI professionals, might learn from the the work in infant and family mental health, including the foundational work of Selma Freiberg's ‘ghosts in the nursery’. We will also wonder together about how the ‘ghosts of the diagnosis’ might impact parenting behavior, communication choices, and responses to services. I will share ideas of ways that we can enhance our support to families while sharing the news and thereby, mitigate the potential long-term effects of unresolved 'diagnostic trauma' on the parent-child relationship.

  • Participants will understand how basic infant mental health concepts relate to the experience of delivering difficult news and supporting families with a newly identified baby who is deaf or hard of hearing
  • Participants will be able to identify ways to "be with" families as they deliver unanticipated diagnostic news or support families in the weeks and months after diagnosis, that may mitigate the trauma and impact on a parent & child’s newly forming relationship
  • Participants will learn about what may influence the variety of ways in which families understand and make sense of the diagnosis and how to individualize their support of parents during this critical time

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Elizabeth Seeliger (Primary Presenter), Department of Health Services, elizabeth.seeliger@wi.gov;
Elizabeth Seeliger, AuD, is the Wisconsin Sound Beginnings Program Director and has worked as a clinical audiologist in a variety of settings, helping guide children and families through the process of hearing loss diagnosis and intervention. Elizabeth has been a leader in developing a data, tracking and referral system; educational resources for hospitals and providers; and an interactive notebook for parents. Elizabeth spearheaded the initiative to enable Wisconsin homebirth midwives to provide UNHS. Elizabeth has also provided technical assistance and consultation locally and internationally on quality improvement in EHDI systems. Elizabeth currently sits on the board of directors for the WI Chapter of Families for Hands & Voices and Hands & Voices HQ. She is a graduate of UW-Madison’s Infant, Early Childhood and Family Mental Health Advanced Clinical Practice Certificate Program.


Financial - Receives In kind,Grants for Other activities from Waisman Center.  

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.