Helping Your Child with Speech and Hearing: A guide to be proactive and informed.


May is National Speech-Language-Hearing Month, a time to raise awareness about speech and hearing difficulties in children and how parents and guardians can support their kids. As a guardian, you play a crucial role in your child’s development, especially when it comes to communications skills. Here are some facts and resources that you can use to support your child’s communication journey.

Hearing loss is quite common in babies when they’re born. About one in 1,000 babies have a hearing loss. If not found early, it can affect how they talk, understand language, and learn. Getting help early is super important so babies with hearing loss can do well in life with talking, reading, doing well in school, and making friends.

In Tennessee, 99% of babies get a hearing test when they’re born, but many babies who don’t pass their first check don’t get more tests to see if they have a hearing loss. If your baby doesn’t pass the hearing test, talk to their doctor or a hearing specialist right away to get more tests.

Family support is crucial for parents of children that are deaf or hard of hearing. It plays a vital role in providing emotional support, practical knowledge, and information to parents who have children with varying hearing levels. Family Voices of Tennessee provides this support by offering the PEARS program. This program offers parents a chance to connect and learn from parents that have training and experience on this journey and are ready to assist other families. Support from parents who have lived experience can assist in navigating the unique emotional challenges that come with making choices about language and even culture. Connecting with other parents who are going through similar experiences can provide understanding, validation, and empathy. Supported decision making empowers parents to trust themselves and navigate community resources.

The Tennessee Department of Health has many other statewide resources available to families of children with different levels of hearing to support families' individual needs including the TEIS program and the CSS program. Remember, every child develops at their own pace, but as a guardian, you play a vital role in nurturing their speech and hearing abilities. By being proactive and supportive, you can help your child reach their full potential in communication and beyond.

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