Once a child has been identified as deaf or hard of hearing, what is generally next for his/her parents? Does New York State have a deaf mentoring system in place? What does early intervention (EI) look like for deaf and hard-of-hearing kids in this state? Where can parents turn for information?
Here in New York, after a child is identified as having a hearing loss, the audiology clinic typically provides the family information about contacting Early Intervention for the county in which the family resides. Whether there is a mentoring program or not depends on who the EI service provider is. There is no formal mentoring program run through EI for hearing parents of deaf children.
Parents are approved for EI based on their child’s “diagnosis” and need. They work with an EI service coordinator to develop an IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan). Services are approved and parents are guided through the list of service providers with which EI has subcontracts for providing services. Here in Rochester, for example, the Rochester School for the Deaf is one of those agencies.
There is no chapter of a parent support group such as Hands & Voices in this part of New York, but there may be in other areas.