Experiences that occur during the earliest years of life critically impact children’s abilities to learn, move, and interact with others. This is especially true for children with severe sensory and multiple disabilities, for whom physical, communicative, cognitive, social, and emotional developmental domains are deeply intertwined. Early identification and referral are crucial for connecting infants who are deaf-blind with the foundational services and interventions needed for the greatest success.
The Early Identification and Referral initiative focuses on strengthening the deaf-blind network’s efforts to identify infants and toddlers with combined vision and hearing loss as early as possible as well as build relationships with associated professionals. Efforts include:
A major component of the process is the completion of a self-assessment guide designed to analyze deaf-blind child count data, work through reflection questions to identify underlying possible causes for under identification and/or under referral, and develop an action plan aligned with evidence based practices.