NECHEAR’s ‘Hearing Specialty’ Birth to Three program is founded on the philosophy that with aggressive, individualized audiological and language-based intervention, children with varying levels of hearing loss can be ready for mainstream education from preschool and beyond. Through early testing, optimal device programming, enrollment in our early aural habillitation intervention services, and coordination with additional service providers, this philosophy is strengthened and realized.
NECHEAR was created with the
mission of helping children with hearing loss and their families, including those with cochlear implants, become fully participating members of their community. This goal is met through audiolgoical testing and fitting children with optimal devices as early as possible to allow access to speech and language and immediate enrollment into intervention that facilitates the development of listening and spoken language. Our aggressive approach to intervention is aimed at preparing children to enter educational setting with normal hearing peers as early as possible.
The caring, dedicated (re)habilitative/pediatric audiologists and speech-language pathologists have many years of expertise in providing aggressive intervention to children with hearing loss and supporting their families. They ALSO function as part of a cochlear implant resource center, consulting with families and professionals throughout New England. Other developmental services are provided through community resources as needed.
NECHEAR provides aural habilitation for infants and toddlers with all degrees of hearing loss, with a particular specialty in early cochlear implantation. Early intervention, provided through home sessions collaborating with the child’s parent(s) / caregiver(s) results in their learning to hear and speak. The goal is for children with all degrees of hearing loss to have the choice to be educated with children with typical hearing. The latest technology (hearing aids, FM systems, cochlear implants) help these children hear at home and in noisy environments. The experienced intervention team supports parents as they make decisions regarding their child’s progress and future educational placements. NECHEAR effectively:
1.) Provides diagnostic hearing testing and habilitation services for infants and toddlers by pediatric audiologists with special expertise in fitting amplification and FM systems as well as programming cochlear implants for young children.
2.) Consists of staff that conducts home sessions, with the parent(s) / caregiver(s) as partners in the child’s learning, to demonstrate ways of using the home environment and daily routines for language learning
3.) Facilitates effective transition from the Birth To Three system into preschool classes by contacting local school district to schedule transition and PPT meetings to develop educational plan where appropriate, conducting an auditory based communication evaluation to record baseline listening, language, and speech skills, and conducting classroom listening evaluation to provide guidance to schools on creating an acoustic learning environment.
— Offers full range of diagnostic hearing testing: Tympanometry, Otoacoustic Emissions (OAEs), & Behavioral testing for all age and developmental levels.
— Specializes in device fitting by pediatric audiologists trained in working with young children with traditional hearing aids and Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA) in addition to optimal Cochlear Implant Speech Processor programming.
— Conducts cochlear implant evaluations to determine if the toddler is a candidate for an implant and provides guidance regarding process and referrals to cochlear implant surgical teams.
— Provides regular programming and fine-tuning of all devices in conjunction with the aural habilitation therapist and family.
— Completes testing for successful transition into the local school system to assess functional listening skills, specifically listening to speech in quiet & noisy listening environments, performance with / without an FM system and testing specific to the needs of the child in an educational setting.
AURAL HABILITATION / SPEECH PATHOLOGY
— Training is focused on the parents as the primary language facilitators for their children. Aural Habilitation sessions are conducted in the home to demonstrate ways to maximize the home environment and daily routines for language learning.
— Typical developmental speech and language milestones are used as a benchmark to facilitate development through a series of small steps to minimize the gap between language age and chronological age.
— If appropriate, early interventionists will guide families through the cochlear implant process, while providing appropriate therapy services to maximize effectiveness of their device, both before and after cochlear implantation.