Young babies are usually referred by an audiologist at the Children’s Hospital in Bristol or the Royal United Hospital in Bath. Babies are referred after the Newborn Hearing Screening, if there is a concern about their hearing. A Teacher of the Deaf will make contact with the family within 24 hours of being contacted by the audiologist. A visit to the family will be offered within 48 hours but we are led by your family’s wishes. The teacher will offer a visit to the family in the home and can answer any questions that they may have as well as sharing information about support groups. The Developmental Journal for Children with a hearing impairment is used in partnership with parents as a basis for working with the families.
We are able to give you some information to help you consider what your child needs when considering nursery and school and continue to support children with a hearing loss once they are at school.
We are committed to working in partnership with both you and other professionals involved with your child.
We will work with you to:
- Provide information about the diagnosis
- Promote parent led communication choices
- Liaise with other professionals involved with your child to ensure a co-ordinated service.
- Support the transition into an Early Years setting.
- Give you information to make an informed choice.
- Work with you to assess your child’s language development and use of hearing aids/cochlear implants.
- Give you information about support groups in your locality and EY groups run by the Service.
For a small number of children who have complex health needs we will work closely with families and others to promote quality of life and ensure an understanding of their sensory needs.
How do we do this?
- By visiting you at home – the frequency of the visits will depend on your child’s level of need and whether you would like the visits to take place.
- Visiting and training to Early Years settings.
- Running Early Years Family Groups
- Working closely with other professionals who may be involved with your child, for example, child minders, audiologists, speech and language therapists.
- Working directly in Early Years Settings with children who have a profound hearing loss
- Attending relevant meetings about your child.
Sensory Support Service Early Years Family Groups
We run early years groups for families and their babies and young children who have a hearing impairment.
The sensory support teacher, who is working with your family, will be happy to give you information about Acorns, our early years’ group.
Whilst the babies and young children are able to attend the ACORNS creche, the parents and carers may choose to meet together in our Parents Room where we have a programme of discussions from outside speakers and a Communication Group. Siblings who are not yet at school are welcome to attend. Our early years’ group is run by our specialist teaching assistants, members of our SLCA team (Deaf professionals who work with families to develop signing skills) and volunteers.
At the groups there are opportunities for your child to:
- Play, learn and discover in a relaxed atmosphere
- Develop skills for communication
- Enjoy a range of special activities, toys and equipment
- Explore their world and develop confidence
- Have ear mould impressions taken by our Educational Audiologist
For parents and carers there is an opportunity to:
- Meet and share experiences with other families and carers.
- Receive information and support in our Discussion groups.
- Have an opportunity to discuss any concerns with a teacher of the deaf.