The Early Intervention Program for Children with Hearing Loss provides family centered services, including information and support for parents and specialized instruction for children. The program includes:
Parent/Baby Playgroup: This is a comfortable and supportive environment in which to navigate the challenges of raising an infant or toddler with hearing loss. It provides education for parents regarding hearing loss and an opportunity to learn from each other as they move forward. It is led by a Teacher of the Deaf and a Developmental Specialist. Parents stay in the group with their child. This group is recommended for children from birth to approximately 18 months.
Community Playgroup: The playgroup is a curriculum-based, dynamic, and language-rich environment with a high staff-to-student radio. The sessions include child-centered play as well as directed activities intended to facilitate all areas of development, including auditory, speech and language skills. Appropriate accommodations and classroom modifications assure the best access to speech for children with hearing loss. This includes the use of a Sound Field system for whole group circle, art activity, and snack time.
Individual Therapy: Speech/language/auditory therapy is provided for each child with a hearing loss either once or twice a week, based on the child's needs. Parents are encouraged to participate in these therapy sessions.
Parent Group: The parent group meets each Wednesday during playgroup to discuss the unique issues involved in raising a child with a hearing loss. The facilitator is a professional who has significant experience working with parents of children with hearing loss. Topics for discussion are based on the group's preference and interests and may include: language methodology, transition to preschool, amplification and technology and therapy services. Guest speakers may be invited to present information on topics chosen by the group.
Instruction in baby sign language is offered during the Friday playgroup. Parents and other caregivers who are involved in the lives of children in the program are welcome to attend.
Staff members are knowledgeable about the unique needs of children with hearing loss, and may include Developmental Specialists, Speech/Language Pathologists, Physical and Occupational Therapists, and Deaf Educators. All staff members are licensed by the Commonwealth in their profession.
Parent/Baby Group: Wed. 9:00-10:15
Toddler Groups: Wednesday 11:00 am - 12:30 pm, Friday 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Enrollment can be initiated by parents or providers and can occur throughout the year. Inquires should be made to Priscilla Wilcox at 978-287-7983. Children enrolled in any EI Program in eastern/central Massachusetts may enroll in this specialized program upon completion of a waiver from the Department of Public Health. Call Minute Man Arc at 978-287-7800 for information about this process.
The program is available at no cost to families of children who qualify for Early Intervention services. Siblings and children from the community who are under age 3 may enroll on a tuition basis, as space permits.
The program also receives financial support from The Decibels Foundation, a registered 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization which is dedicated to sponsoring this program and assuring that support for this population continues as children transition into school.
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