My child’s been diagnosed with hearing loss…..what do I do now???

cop2_consultation_img
Photo credit http://www.copeforhope.com

This is a question I’m sure every parent whose infant or child has been diagnosed with hearing loss has asked. The diagnosis itself can seem so overwhelming, along with the very important choices you’ll be asked to make for your child in what will seem like a very short period of time. The state of Minnesota has put together one of the most amazing brochures I’ve ever seen for parents of children newly diagnosed with hearing loss. In a step-by-step format, this online pamphlet will help guide you through the process of getting the services and help you will need. Most states will have something similar to Minnesota, so contact your state Department of Health to see what they can offer you.

Parent Roadmap

Advertisements

What’s auditory processing disorder?

apd-child-not-listening-in-class

Auditory processing disorder (APD) is when the brain has a problem comprehending the signal that is sent to it. It’s “what we do with what we hear”. There are two parts to hearing. The first is detection, the ability to simply hear a sound and let someone know that you heard it. The other part is processing, the brain’s ability to make sense of the sounds and words that come to the auditory part of the brain.

Auditory processing disorder is hard to diagnose because most of the time audiological test results are normal. Sometimes speech understanding tests can indicate poorer word discrimination scores than would be expected with normal hearing.

Signs your child may have an auditory processing disorder are:
Difficulties hearing in background noise
Difficulty following directions
Difficulty localizing where sounds are coming from
Short attention span
Asking for repetitions of speech even when it’s quiet

Auditory processing disorder is usually evaluated using a special group of listening tests involving words and sounds. It’s important to have a regular audiological evaluation first to rule out hearing loss. The audiologist that evaluates your child for APD will choose specific tests based on your child’s history and areas of concern. The testing can sometimes take 1-2 hours and may need to be split up into a couple of visits. He or she will then review the results of the testing with you after they are completed and evaluated and offer suggestions for helping your child. Suggestions can range from special seating in the classroom to an “FM” system or to a computerized therapy program to help your child strengthen his areas of difficulty.

What is IDEA??

class
photo credit http://www.siemens.com

IDEA is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which is a federal law passed in 1975. This law allows children with disabilities to receive a free evaluation to see if they have a disability and then entitles them to services if they are diagnosed with a disability. Early intervention services for children birth to 3 years old and special education services for ages 3-21 are provided for under IDEA.

Here is a link to organizations in MN that provide Early Intervention programs.

Your local school district will be your link to special education services. Here is a link to help you determine your school district in MN as well as another link here where you can fill in your school district and get their contact information.