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Early Identification and Referral Toolbox

Identify Needs, Solutions, and Desired Outcomes


Make a list of early identification and referral needs that you identified when you went through the Early Identification and Referral Self-Assessment Guide or other sources. Prioritize them in order of importance. Examples:

  • Many health care providers do not screen for visual impairment in infants with known or suspected hearing loss
  • Many health care providers do not screen for hearing loss in infants with known or suspected visual impairment
  • Many health care providers have insufficient knowledge of conditions that cause deaf-blindness (e.g., CHARGE syndrome, asphyxia, cytomegalovirus) 
  • The state deaf-blind project receives very few referrals from health care providers


Propose potential solutions to the identified needs (see the “Take Action” section for more ideas and resources). Examples:

  • Embed information about the importance of screening for vision loss in children who are deaf or hard of hearing and screening for hearing loss in children with visual impairments into health care agencies’ existing policies and procedures
  • Embed information about deaf-blindness as a distinct disability, and its associated etiologies and risk factors, into training materials for personnel responsible for or in a position to refer children with known or suspected deaf-blindness to your project
  • Establish formal referral agreements that outline eligibility guidelines and referral processes (ideally these should be incorporated into agencies’ existing referral processes)


Write a list of the outcomes you would like to achieve as you address these problems. Increased identification and referral are the ultimate outcomes, but it’s also helpful to focus on more immediate changes you would like to see. Examples:

  • Targeted agency personnel have increased knowledge of how to screen for  vision and/or hearing loss in infants and toddlers
  • Target agency personnel test—or refer for testing—infants and toddlers who are deaf/hard of hearing or visually impaired for evaluation of the other sense 
  • Targeted agency personnel who are responsible for identification and referral have an increased understanding of the etiologies and risk factors associated with deaf-blindness 
  • Targeted agency personnel have a clear understanding of the process for referring infants and toddlers to your project