Hearing Support Program
The Delaware County Intermediate Unit provides evaluations, remediation, cochlear implant habilitation, auditory/verbal therapy, speech therapy, audiological consultation and other support services for children with hearing loss from age of identification to 21 years of age.
Birth to Three Program for Children with Hearing Loss
The birth-3 program is a family-centered program in which services for a deaf or hard-of-hearing child are provided in his/her natural environment. The emphasis at this early age is to help the family determine the communication option that works for their family, which is based on degree of hearing loss and amplification and technology choices, including cochlear implants. Sign language is offered to those families who choose that communication mode. If the parents select the oral option, the focus is on the baby/toddler developing a listening attitude by providing aggressive audiological management, a favorable listening environment, a dependency on amplification and integrating listening into daily activities. The preschool program (ages 3-5) continues to stress the involvement of parents as active members in the development of communication and the education of their child. At the preschool level, services may be provided in a specialized classroom for children with hearing loss, on an itinerant basis within a typical pre-school, in a specialized pre-school, or in a daycare setting.
The DCIU has received recognition for its commitment to providing an exemplary oral communication program and services to children who are deaf or hard of hearing and has been called upon numerous times to provide technical assistance and mentoring to local and statewide educational entities across the country. Program components that are unique to the DCIU Hearing Program are:
- Commitment to providing parents of newly identified children with information and assistance about methodology and programs that will help them make an informed decision
- Developing and maintaining an experienced and highly qualified staff in the field of oral deaf education
- Emphasizing appropriate technology, including hearing aids, FM equipment and computer assisted real time captioning and the services of educational audiologists
- Ongoing collaborative relationships with local pediatric audiology centers (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, AI duPont Hospital for Children)
- Parent training which provides parents the tools and support they need to facilitate their child’s development and enables them to make the most of interactions with their child from the age of identification and beyond. Parents are supported in gaining the knowledge and confidence they need to make informed decisions about nurturing and educating their child.
- Mainstream support to provide inservice training, strategies, and ongoing collaboration with regular education staff and school personnel
- Career exploration and transition planning around post-secondary education or training
- Social skills groups for elementary, middle and high school students led by the school psychologist
- Support groups for parents of infants/toddler, preschoolers and early elementary age children
- The Wallingford-Swarthmore School District has been the host school district for the DCIU classrooms of orally educated hard of hearing and deaf children from kindergarten through high school for over forty years. They have provided students with hearing loss a consistent curriculum with opportunities for sustained socialization with peers throughout their educational careers
- Related support services (multi-disciplinary evaluations and services which can include Speech Therapy, Audiology, LSLS Auditory-Verbal Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Vision, Orientation and Mobility, Psychology)