Introduction

Successes and Challenges: Listening to their Voices

Every day, 33 babies in the United States are born with hearing loss, making it the leading sensory disability in the nation. Universal newborn hearing screening, advanced hearing technology,and early intervention services help children who are deaf and hard of hearing to reach their full potential.

The sky is the limit today's children with hearing loss whose families are pursuing a listening and spoken language outcome. The progress and achievements of these children motivates AG Bell to work to continue to expand opportunities through community building and outreach, resources, information, leadership and management. Across the nation, more than 90 percent of parents are now choosing a listening and spoken language outcome for their children with hearing loss.

Yet challenges remain. Children are not always receiving the full spectrum of services needed to ensure successful outcomes. Families continue to struggle with making informed decisions regarding communication options, often in the absence of adequate knowledge, financial resources and social supports.

The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing commissioned the Family Needs Assessment survey in an effort to gain insight on the perceptions of families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing about the quality and availability of services received. The survey was developed to assess the core needs of families as they progress through the major phases of their child's journey.

Survey Topics

The survey addressed the following topics which are highlighted within this website:

  • Access to information
  • Emotional and support resources
  • Early Intervention services
  • School-age years
  • Financial considerations

The Family Needs Assessment survey shows that there is a lot to be done to address the core needs of families who have chosen a listening and spoken language outcome for their children with hearing loss. This survey provides vital data that can be used by professionals, policymakers, media and others to transform the future of people living with hearing loss.

Meeting the Needs of Families

To address these needs, AG Bell is working to increase:

  • Outreach to families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing
  • The availability of culturally relevant and sensitive materials for families and children who are deaf and hard of hearing
  • Timely, complete, and accurate information at diagnosis and transitions throughout life
  • Access to Listening and Spoken Language Specialists (LSLS®) along with pediatric and educational audiologists
  • Legislative and regulatory activities to provide access to services through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act