Questions about Services

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What are early intervention services?

Early intervention services are developmental services designed to meet the needs of an infant or toddler with a disability. The term most commonly refers to federally mandated, state provided services for children, ages birth to three years. Children who have a disability, including hearing loss, may be eligible for a wide array of early intervention services. In Texas, the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services Early Childhood Intervention (DARS-ECI) is the state agency that coordinates early intervention services and the services a re often called ECI services. DARS-EC I works collaboratively with the Texas Education Agency, local education agencies [LEA(school district)], and the Texas School for the Deaf to provide services specifically designed to assist families with infants and toddlers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Topic Card #10 provides additional information on early intervention.

What is a Parent Advisor?

A parent advisor is a certified teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing employed by a local education agency [LEA(school district)], Regional Day School Program for the Deaf, or Texas School for the Deaf. Parent advisors have experience in providing deaf education early intervention services to families of infants and toddlers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Parent advisors work in partnership with local ECI programs. See Topic Card #10 for additional information.

What is an IFSP? Who writes it?

An IFSP is an Individual Family Service Plan that outlines all the services a child and his or her family will receive through Early Childhood Intervention. The plan is developed by a team which includes y our family and professionals. For children who have a hearing loss, a a teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing (parent advisor) is included in the IFSP team. The IFSP states the outcomes that you want for your child’s development and includes the services and strategies that you and your professionals think will help your child achieve these outcomes.

Is there any financial assistance to help pay for my child’s hearing aid(s)? 

Your audiologist or the business office of your audiology clinic can discuss payment options with you. You should also check with your insurance company to see if they provide coverage for all or part of your expenses. Early Childhood Intervention,  Easter Seals, local churches  and other  community organizations may also provide help with the expenses. The Program for Amplification for Children of Texas ( PACT) is a state funded program through the Texas Department of State Health Services that provides hearing aids and related services to families who meet financial guidelines. T here are PACT providers throughout the state. See the State Resources section of this guide for contact information.

Can hearing aids be insured?

Hearing aids are expensive. Yo can purchase loss and damage insurance on your child’s hearing aid(s). This is sometimes offered through the hearing aid manufacturer or can be purchased separately. Your audiologist can give you the names of companies that specialize in hearing aid insurance or check with your own insurance company. If you get your hearing aids through PACT, you may still want to purchase insurance so that you can replace the aids if they are lost.

Is there any financial assistance to help pay for or insure my child’s cochlear implant?

Medicaid and many U .S. healthcare providers cover some o f the cos t of the implant, the surgical procedure, and associated c are. Each cochlea r implant manufacturer pro vides warranty programs. Discuss the specifics of each program with the implant company or your audiologist. Insurance can also be purchased for t he de vices, sometimes through homeowner’s insurance, some times through the manufacturer or through an insurance company that sells specialized cochlear implant insurance. Your implant center can give you information about your options. The repair and/or replacement of external implant components may b e covered under the warranty o r the insurance program. Some private insurance companies will pay for batteries and replacement parts. C heck your individual policy for information.

Are there any support groups for parents with infants who are deaf or hard of hearing?

Your parent advisor or ECI service coordinator can help you locate a support group in your area. There are also state and national resources and organizations that provide information and support. See the Resources section of this guide for more details.

How can I meet adults who are deaf or hard of hearing?

Your pare t advisor c n put you in contact with individuals or groups of individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. Local deaf education programs, community agencies, organizations and churches which provide services for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing are other good resources. See Resources section of this guide. Topic Card #9 provides more information on Deaf Culture.

What resources and organizations provide additional  information on hearing loss and deafness, and how do I contact them?

There are national, state and local resources and organizations. See the Resources section of this guide for national and st ate resources. Your deaf education early intervention parent advisor and your ECI service coordinator can assist you in finding local resources.