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Please emails us at firstname.lastname@example.org. My baby is deaf-now what? Click here to hear an insightful message from a Deaf adult! SECTION 1: First Steps The important first step is to connect with people who can help you on this journey. There are professionals ready to assist and other parents willing to listen. Connect with the Nebraska Early Development Network (EDN) Early Intervention Services to begin early intervention services for your family if you have not yet been contacted by the coordinator in your area. Watch the Babies Can’t Wait video to understand how EDN will be able to help you. Connect with Nebraska Hands & Voices to meet other families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing, and who have experienced many of the same things you are going through. Contact the Guide By Your Side at email@example.com. This will put you in touch with another parent of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing and has been through some of the emotions you are experiencing now. Read through Communicate with Your Child. These give a very brief overview of what you will be learning about over the next few months. Find where you are on the Learning About Hearing – A Family’s Checklist Identify your next step and follow through with making recommended phone contacts and appointments. Read through Medical Professional Questions, Ear, Nose, & Throat Doctor Questions, and Audiologist Questions and bring those with you to your next appointment. Also bring the Familiar Sounds Audiogram and Speech Banana to your audiologist for an explanation of your child’s hearing levels. A printable version is available if you click on the top of the page. Read Genetics Team Questions. Talk to your doctor about the possible need for genetic evaluation. Read through Parents’ Guide to Genetics and Hearing Loss. This is a guide about genetics for families. Use this material with your genetics advisor or other health care professional. The Funding Toolkit* is a resource for parents explaining different funding opportunities in Nebraska for assistance covering the costs associated with hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other needs of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. *Please contact the organization before applying as qualifications may have changed. If you have additions or changes, please contact Sara Peterson. SECTION 2: Language & Communication The critical language learning years are birth to age six. This is when the brain is programmed to learn language. Language is learned naturally in these early years through communication. It is important while you are learning more about your child’s hearing level to interact with your baby as naturally as possible. Use your normal body language and gestures. Stimulate your child’s senses. Talk, sing and read to them. Play and loving contact are very important! Emphasize facial expressions, then respond to your baby’s reactions. These are natural ways to strengthen the bond between you and your baby and begin to build two-way communication. Read through Opening Doors: Technology And Communication Options for Children With Hearing Loss and Beginnings, Communication Approaches. These will introduce you to several communication opportunities that have been developed that can be used with children who are deaf or hard of hearing. My Baby’s Hearing is a helpful web resource in finding information about your baby’s hearing and about communication with your infant. Work through the Decision Guide to Communication Choices at your own pace. SECTION 3: Guidance and Support Any new experience we encounter in life is aided by guidance and support from people who already have knowledge and experience in that area. There are professionals ready to help you navigate this unknown territory. You may have a team of professionals with the Early Development Network assigned to you. These professionals can help explain normal language development and will work with you using the communication approach(es) you want to start with. Use these worksheets to guide in your discussions: Early Interventionist Questions Speech-Language Pathologist Questions There are websites which will describe additional resources for you: Nebraska ChildFind provides information to parents, school personnel, and service providers on child development and special education for children from birth (or date of diagnosis) to age 21. ChildFind also helps parents access information on rights and resources to help them advocate for an appropriate education for their child. IFSP web can assist you in developing your IFSP – Individual Family Service Plan. Your team will also work with you on this. Answers4Families is an internet-based resource that provides general information, opportunities for dialogue, education, and support to families. The state of Nebraska has four Regional Programs for Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Their website shows you how the regions are divided, and explains the roles of the programs. Call your region’s Coordinator and ask to be put on their contact list for parent workshops and family activities being held in your area. The purpose of the Nebraska Family Support Guide is to connect your family to the possible local, state and national resources who can support you as you learn what it means to parent your child who is deaf or hard of hearing. SECTION 4: Additional Resources Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is a state agency that provides advocacy and resources for Nebraska’s children and adults. HearU Nebraska provides information on how to apply for hearing aids and audiology services if cost is a concern for you. Visit ehdi-pals.org which is a web-based link to information, resources, and services for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Both Nebraska Nebraska ChildFind and PTI Nebraska are resources for you to contact for more information about education for your child. Visit the Medically Handicapped Children’s Program webpage. This explains the services available to families whose child may need to be seen by a specialist. SECTION 5: Helpful Forms Especially when you are first starting on this learning journey, it can be difficult to remember everything! Organization will be your best friend. You may find these forms useful or they may spur you on to finding your own best way to keep track of important information and appointment date. Print out the Contact Log and Doctor’s Appointment sheet to help you keep track of upcoming appointments. Access the website for Building Your Care Notebook to obtain important forms. For more information about finding a medical home, review the brochure titled A Medical/Dental Home For Your Child. We want your feedback! 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