Monday, January 28, 2013

Bill to require coverage of hearing aids introduced

House Bill 1356 was introduced late last week and currently has 12 co-sponsors!

In its present form, the bill would require health insurance plans to cover a portion of hearing aids purchased for children and adults in the state of Washington. We urge all of our supporters to please contact their legislator and encourage them to support and co-sponsor this type of legislation.

Find your legislator here.

Need a sample letter, click here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

AG Bell Makes College Scholarships Available

Thanks to generous donations from individuals over the years, AG Bell is able to offer several scholarships for full-time students who have a pre-lingual bilateral hearing loss in the moderately-severe to profound range, use listening and spoken language, and who are pursuing a bachelors, masters or doctorate (not law or public policy) degree at an accredited mainstream college or university. This is a merit-based scholarship program and award selection is extremely competitive. Over the past six years approximately 10% of applicants were selected to receive an award. While the number and value of awards varies from year to year, in 2012, 141 applications were reviewed for 20 awards which ranged from $1,000 to $10,000.

The deadline is March 15, 2013 at 5 p.m.

Please click the link below for more information:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hearing Aids and Children

As one can imagine,children require a different approach to fitting hearing aids than what might be used for adults. Many questions arise as to how children will wear hearing aids or how a hearing aid is programmed for a child who is too young provide responses. The American Speech, Language & Hearing Association has a FAQ page related to children and hearing aids. Please click the link below to learn more:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Speaking skills crucial for hearing impaired kids in classroom

Intelligible speech closes the gap between hearing-impaired children and their normal-hearing peers, Tel Aviv University researcher says

Current special education laws are geared towards integrating special-needs children into the general classroom environment from a young age, starting as early as preschool. Prof. Tova Most of Tel Aviv University's Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education and the Department of Communications Disorders at the Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions says that these laws present a unique set of challenges for children with hearing loss, and that a sense of isolation may inhibit a successful education.
In a study designed to explore the social competence and the perceived sense of loneliness of children with hearing loss in a regular classroom with normal hearing children, Prof. Most and her fellow researchers discovered that successful integration is dependent on a child's level of speech intelligibility. The results have been reported in the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education.
These findings suggest that development of intelligible spoken language has the power to close the gap between children with hearing loss and their hearing peers, resulting in increased social interaction, an improvement in group work, and a change in the teachers' and students' perception of the child with hearing loss, adds Prof. Most.

Meeting the needs of each child
Taking her years of research and in-field experience into account, Prof. Most says that there is an advantage to integrating children with hearing loss with hearing children, provided that their special needs are met. Each child must be assessed on whether to be integrated individually or in a group, she counsels, noting that a "one size fits all" strategy could be harmful for some students.

"I prefer to see kids integrated into the regular school system, allowing them to be closer to home and interact with children in their neighborhood. They would then have access to broader programming and activities," she says. But if a child's spoken language and cognitive abilities indicate that a regular classroom would be difficult for him or her, pushing integration could result in failure.

Children with hearing loss, parents and specialists can aid successful integration by focusing on speech development, advises Prof. Most. And teachers can also do their part to create a more welcoming environment by creating small work groups and setting up meeting points in advance so the child won't be left out. The more children with normal hearing are exposed to those with hearing loss, the more understanding and accepting they will become, she says.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Developmental Milestones Can Signal Hearing Loss

Infants and young children have developmental milestones that parents can watch for to identify a possible hearing loss.

CDC: Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI)
By 3 months, your baby recognizes your voice and makes cooing noises. Sudden, loud noises should startle your baby.

By 6 months, your baby recognizes speech sounds and familiar noises. Interesting noises make your baby turn their head, and your baby plays with their own voice and laughs. Your baby also uses their voice to indicate pleasure and discomfort.

By 9 months, your baby understands simple words like 'mommy' and 'daddy,' 'no', 'bye-bye' and their own name.

By 12 months, your toddler can speak one or more real, recognizable word.

By 18 months, your toddler understands simple phrases and retrieves familiar objects on command and speaks between 20 to 50 words and short phrases and your toddler learns new words each week.

By 24 months, your toddler's spoken vocabulary should be 200 to 300 words and simple sentences can be spoken. Adults who are not around the child on a daily basis can understand your child's speech. A toddler at this age should also be able to sit and listen while being read books.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Looking forward in 2013

As we begin a new year, we are encouraged to continue our efforts to advocate for Washington's children with hearing loss in 2013.

In just a few short months since the creation of WCHAA, our blog has had nearly 1000 pageviews and our online petition has gathered almost 200 signatures. This has all happened through word-of-mouth by our supporters and on social media. Therefore, we would like to say thank you to all of our supporters who have been helping spread this message. We would like to especially thank those who have taken a few minutes to write or email their WA legislators.

With your help, 2013 will be the year Washington joins with the 20 other states that require hearing aid coverage for children.