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.
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.
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:
- 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
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.
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