GPS - Guide to Providing Services To Deaf and Hard of Hearing Infants and Toddlers

Workshop Schedule

8:30am - 9:00am: Registration

9:00am - 10:15am: "Supporting Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children with ASD and their Families" Keynote Presenter: Amy Szarkowski

Aimed at professionals who work directly with children who are deaf or hard of hearing who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as well as those who work to support their families, this presentation will address some of the challenges presented by this complex situation. It will highlight strategies for interacting with deaf and hard of hearing children with ASD, building caregivers’ understanding of this complex presentation, and fostering skills within the family to address the needs of the child. 

10:15am - 10:30am: Break 

10:30am - 11:00pm:  "Transition to Preschool: What to Expect"  Presenters: Karran Larson and Terri Pancare

Representatives from the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will describe services available to families.  The presentation will explain how the Children's Specialists can act as the liaison to support and assist families in navigating their way through the complex medical and educational systems.  

11:00am - 11:30am: "My Child is Aging Out of EI! What Does an Appropriate Preschool for a Child with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Look Like?"  Presenter: Kym Meyer 

Once a child approaches their third birthday, we need to identify appropriate preschool services. Some children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing will transition back to their public preschool programs. This presentation will discuss appropriate classroom acoustics, teaching accommodations and assistive technology for the child who is transitioning to a public preschool. The role of a specialist works with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children to support the public school team will be discussed. Resources will also be discussed to help the team understand whether the child is ready to access learning in a public school or may be in need of additional specialized programming for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children.

11:30am - 12:15pm: Lunch

12:15pm - 1:00pm: "Therapeutic Intervention for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing Child from an OT and PT's Perspective" Presenters: Maggie Bialecki and Sandra Williams

This presentation will cover various developmental positions and therapeutic intervention ideas.  We will discuss what areas Occupational and Physical Therapy will work on based on the individual child's impairments. We will discuss things to consider during therapy sessions to maximize communication and effectiveness of the intervention with an emphasis on family education for optimal carryover. 

1:00pm - 1:30pm: "Supporting the Development of Visual Attention in Young Deaf Children"  Presenters: April Bottoms, Brittany Farr and Amy Lieberman

Interacting in a visual language such as American Sign Language requires a set of skills that enable the child to perceive both language input and information about the world through the visual modality.  Caregivers can facilitate and support the development of visual attention in their child through natural, interactive play.  We will discuss the importance of visual attention in young deaf children and provide strategies that early intervention specialists can share with parents in order to maximize communication in the early years.

1:30pm - 1:45pm: Break

1:45pm - 2:15pm: "Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children: Starting Points for EI Service Coordinators"  Presenters: Jayme Robertson and Sarah Honigfeld

Sarah and Jayme will provide an overview of the draft of the new Starting Points for Deaf and Hard of Hearing document which will be submitted for review by the Department of Public Health.  The current starting points document is out of date and needed revision so the DPH committee of Specialty Service Providers met regularly to update it.  We will review proposed changes and present the current draft.

2:15pm - 2:45pm:  "An Overview of Lead-K, What is it and Why it is Important?”  Presenter: Ashley Thompson

Language Equality & Acquisition for Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing Kids -- Kindergarten Readiness is a national campaign to end language deprivation. All children are born ready to learn, however far too many deaf children are deprived of early language development and are not kindergarten ready. The first 3-5 years of life are crucial for language development and the basis for kindergarten-readiness. Without full language development by age 5, they are language deprived and suffer negative life-long impacts of eventual reading, academic, and social struggles. 

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