What About The Future?
After early intervention, then what?
Services for deaf or hard of hearing children and/or other special education services are available through your location education agency [LEA(school district)], local Regional Day School Program for the Deaf (RDSPD), and Texas School for t he Deaf from age 3 through age 21. Transition to these services is coordinated by your local ECI program and your LEA prior to age 3. Eligibility for services is determined through a full individual evaluation provided by the LEA. Recommended services are outlined on a n Individual Education Plan (IEP). Parents are always part of this IE P team (in Texas this process is referred to as Admission, Referral, and Dismissal or ARD). Since IEPs are written to meet individual needs, services will be different for each child. Your parent advisor is also a good source of information on school services in your area for children who are deaf/hard of hearing. Se e State Resources section of this guide for additional educational information resources.
Where will my child attend school?
The answer to this question is different f r each child. The goal is to match the needs of your child with a school setting (placement) in which he or she can learn, communicate fully, and develop friendships. From birth to age 3, most early intervention services are provided in your home or other natural settings. The IFSP team may at times recommend settings to meet very specific needs (e.g. communication needs) or you may choose to participate in your own community-based activities, such as a local parent’s day out or toddler program in your neighborhood. From age 3 to 21 your child may be eligible for services for deaf or hard of hearing children or other special education services through your school district. (See After early intervention services, then what?) Your child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) will determine the most appropriate school placement to match your child’s learning needs or you may choose that your child not receive special education services.
If I have more children, could they have a hearing loss or be deaf too?
The chances of having another child wit a hearing loss will depend on the cause of your child’s hearing loss. Some hearing losses are genetic and others are not. Your physician is the best source of information and/or referral for genetic counseling.
Can my child watch TV and movies? How?
Your child can listen to TV using his or her hearing aid, cochlear implant or some other type of assistive listening devices. With some levels of hearing loss, hearing the TV will be difficult. An other option is closed-caption TV in which all the dialogue is printed at the bottom of the TV screen. All newer TVs have built in closed-caption; caption devices can be purchased for older T Vs. Most movie theaters have listening devices to loan during a movie. Occasionally, a movie theater will offer a captioned film.
How can people who are deaf wake up to go to work? Talk on the phone?
There a re a variety of alerting devices such as flashing signal alarm clocks, signaling lights, vibrating pillows, vibrating alarms under the mattress, etc. There are also a lot of options for telephone communication. Depending on the level of hearing loss and/or personal preference, a person may use a telephone amplifier, a TD D (which provides a text version of the conversation when the second p arty also has a TDD) or Relay Texas which provides a third party operator to relay information between the person who i s deaf and a person who is hearing. Technology such as the videophone, video relay, computers, and wireless devices have added an additional array of communication options.
Will my child have friends?
Yes, of course. Your neighborhood may provide many opportunities for your child to play with other children whether they have a hearing loss or not. Children communicate with each other in many ways. You can join a parent support group that encourages activities with children.
How will my child learn to drive?
Statistics prove that people who are deaf are among the safest drivers on the road. Special accommodation, such as an interpreter, may be needed for the driving test.
What legal rights does my child have and what are my rights as a parent of a child with a disability?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (A DA) are two laws that provide for children and adults who have disabilities. Your ECI program, and later yo ur school d istrict, wil l provide y ou with a copy of you r rights a s a parent under the Individua ls with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). You may also ob tain information through the Department of A ssistive and Rehabilitative Services Early Childhood Intervention (DARS-ECI) and the Texas Education Agency. See state resources section of this guide.