LSL Early Intervention
For your baby to learn to listen and talk, you’ll need to work with a listening and spoken language (LSL) early interventionist to grow your child’s brain and take full advantage of the hearing technology that is available. The first step is to enroll as quickly as possible in an early intervention program with a service provider skilled in listening and spoken language.
WHY EARLY INTERVENTION?
Family-centered early intervention services are generally available for babies (birth to three years) who are at risk for developmental delay or not meeting developmental milestones. For a child with hearing loss, LSL early intervention that’s family-centered will teach parents how to be their child’s first teacher so families can reach positive listening, speaking, literacy, academic, and social outcomes.
Early intervention services include regular appointments with specialized professionals, which you’ll want to get started quickly. Fortunately, early intervention services are available in all states, but the systems can vary from community to community. Below are some key features to help you navigate your system and make decisions for your family.
MEET THE EARLY INTERVENTION PROFESSIONALS
Early intervention services will allow your baby to benefit from the care and expertise of a variety of professionals. It may help to start thinking about these professionals as part of your baby’s team – a team where every member plays a different but important role. It may also help to remember that although the rules for this game may be new to you, you are the captain of the team and in charge of the decisions and LSL goals that are right for your family. Your team members are there to support you.
Your two most critical team members are:
Your pediatric audiologist will have expertise in testing the hearing of young infants and children and fitting the most appropriate hearing devices. They’ll work with you to take an aggressive approach with hearing technology that will open the doorway to your baby’s brain and provide the auditory information that your baby needs to develop listening and spoken language. This relationship will be a long one and will require regular appointments and good communication.
Dr. Patricia Roush, notable pediatric audiologist, explains what an audiologist does to support a child and family on their hearing journey.
Service Provider Skilled in Listening and Spoken Language
You’ll also work closely with a professional skilled in coaching families in how to teach their baby to listen and talk. This professional might be a speech-language pathologist, an educator of the deaf, an audiologist, or an early childhood teacher or interventionist. In any case, it’s critical for the professional to have experience and success with LSL intervention.
Some service providers have a special certification as a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist (LSLSTM) through the AG Bell Academy for Listening and Spoken Language.
Hannah Eskridge, Certified LSLSTM, explains the role of the LSL early interventionist.
HOW EARLY INTERVENTION WORKS
Early intervention services may be provided by your state’s early intervention Part C program, by non-profit agencies or organizations, special schools, and/or by private clinics or hospital programs.
Your first step is to think about your LSL goals for your baby and keep those goals clearly in mind as you begin to access early intervention services. As part of every decision, you should keep your LSL goals in mind and communicate those goals to the professional members of your team.
The purpose of LSL early intervention is to teach you how to infuse listening and spoken language into your everyday routines.
In most cases, you and your baby will meet with your early interventionist weekly to reach your goals for your baby. These meetings typically occur in your home, (which is considered a natural environment) but they can also be held in a special school, non-profit agency, clinic setting, or through tele-intervention, which is similar to video conferencing.
Depending on your needs and your baby’s progress, you may need to add additional professionals to your team to ensure your goals for your baby are being met.
State Part C Services
Every state has designed its own unique early intervention program for infants and children from birth to three years of age and their families. The services are based on the diagnosis and developmental needs of your baby.
When state services are provided, a service coordinator will be assigned. The service coordinator will help guide you through the process of evaluation and help you identify the specific services your baby needs. You should let your service coordinator know that you want your baby to learn listening and spoken language and request the services of an experienced LSL professional who can help your baby achieve these goals.
Part C Programs
Learn more about Part C early intervention programs.
Some families choose to receive LSL early intervention services through other programs, organizations, special schools, or private clinics and/or hospital programs. These programs specialize in working with children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families who seek listening and spoken language. In some states, these LSL early intervention services have a contract with the state early intervention program to be the provider through the state program so you should ask about this.
PAYING FOR EARLY INTERVENTION SERVICES
Start today to find services for you and your baby. Don’t delay for fear of cost. During your search, you’ll discover professionals and programs who will help you.
You may wonder how you’ll pay for hearing technology and early intervention services.
Paying for Hearing Technology
First, seek out audiology services to learn all you can about what your baby needs before worrying about the cost. Your pediatric audiologist will be able to assist you with questions about cost and payment for the hearing technology. There are often varying options for families, and the professionals on your team can help you find solutions so that your baby can get started learning to listen and talk.
Paying for Early Intervention Services
There are public and private options for services. If you choose to receive services through your state’s early intervention program, the service coordinator can provide you with specific information about the cost. In some states the early intervention services are provided at no cost, but in others they are provided with some cost. Your service coordinator can help you discover this.
Services through non-profit agencies/organizations, special schools, and private clinics and/or hospital programs will have varying billing procedures. The cost to you is based on your baby’s health insurance, including benefits and co-pays. These private programs may also have scholarship or financial assistance available.
Seek out LSL early intervention services as early as possible and learn all that you can about what’s available to help you teach your baby to listen and talk.
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