about Helping Families with the EHDI Process
Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) is commonly used to describe the process of newborn hearing screening (by or before 1 month of age), identification (by or before 3 months of age) and entrance into early intervention (by or before 6 months of age) for children with hearing loss. The EHDI process also includes sensitive activities and timelines for children who develop hearing loss within their first three years of life, considered late-onset, and mirrors similar timelines to the EHDI process for newborns once a young child’s hearing loss is suspected. The intention of this evidence-based process is to maximize social, emotional, and linguistic outcomes for children who are deaf or hard of hearing who, without the advantage of early identification, would be at a further disadvantage in achieving these important developmental skills.
Newborn hearing screening was established in Texas in 1999 through the passage of Texas H. B. 714, now governed by Texas H.B. 411 (2011). The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is the oversight state agency, and DSHS’s TEHDI Program is responsible for management and implementation of the state’s EHDI program. DSHS’s TEHDI Program works in partnership with two other state agencies, the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services and the Texas Education Agency, to provide a seamless system of service delivery within the early hearing detection and intervention process in Texas.
The following video outlines some important considerations for EHDI providers involved with the newborn hearing screening process. Specific information is relevant to audiologists, program managers, and newborn or outpatient hearing screening providers; however, medical and early intervention professionals may also benefit from this information. In addition, families may find this information of interest as well, particularly if they are at the newborn or outpatient hearing screening service points within the EHDI process.
Texas has outlined specific protocols to support the EHDI process statewide that reflect national protocols as outlined in the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH) Year 2000 and 2007 Position Statements. This process, or model, is a commonly known structure or framework for service providers. Become familiar with the Texas EHDI Resources to the right of this page and use these tools as you prepare yourself and/or your staff to assist families.
As an EHDI provider, you are in a key position to help families connect with EHDI providers and services within the newborn hearing screening, pediatric medical care, diagnostic audiology and otolaryngology, early intervention and family support arenas. Knowing the facts can have a direct and positive impact on the care you provide to families as you help them move through the EHDI process.
- The lack of language learning is life altering.
- Negative impacts can be diminished and even eliminated through early intervention.
- The first three years of a child’s life are critical for language learning.
As an integral EHDI team member it’s critical to understand your important role to support families as they take their next steps in the EHDI process. Families should not have to navigate the complex system alone. All EHDI providers should work in partnership with families to develop a comprehensive, coordinated, culturally responsive care plan for children with hearing loss. Families’ decisions for their child should be supported through an informed choice framework.
Every EHDI provider has a unique opportunity to support parents through this important process. Families have the right to access EHDI providers within sensitive timelines to ensure advantages to maximize their child’s language, cognitive, social-emotional development.
All children and families have the right to:
- Universal newborn hearing screening (including outpatient hearing screening) and/or early childhood hearing screening from a trained hearing screening provider;
- A diagnostic hearing evaluation from a qualified audiologist by or before the child is 3 months of age, or within 3 months of suspected late-onset hearing loss;
- A pediatric medical provider that serves as the child’s medical home;
- A referral to Early Childhood Intervention for early intervention services coordinated between ECI and deaf education early intervention services;
- Information on local, regional and statewide family support resources, including programs, community events, websites, etc. as well as information available outside of Texas to support families navigating the EHDI process within our state.
The EHDI process itself is really about families and their child. The EHDI process is designed to support families as they gather information about their child’s hearing and development to then connect with services and resources they believe will be most beneficial to their child and family. This is their process and only they can decide the ways in which they will seek support. Their decisions are influenced by their experiences, family structure, values, beliefs and culture, all of which are unique to them and their family. The Texas EHDI statewide campaign seeks to support families navigating the EHDI process by empowering you as an EHDI provider to ensure all families have timely access to EHDI programs and services so that their child may reach his/her developmental potential. Together we are…
A system of care. A community of support.