There are some important calls you should make if you discover your child has a hearing loss in Delaware. When should you make these calls? As soon as possible. Evidence shows that the best language outcomes occur when intervention is started early. Under no circumstances should you ever “just wait a while ” to implement hearing aid use or any language training. Ideally your child should be identified by 1 month of age, diagnosed by 3 months of age and start wearing hearing aids by 6 months. If you are behind on this timeline hearing and language development can suffer so get to work now!

1- Call Delaware Family Voices to get a Workbook. Toll-Free: (877) 235-3588 Local: (302) 669-3030.

Caring for children with special needs is often complex, and Delaware Family Voices and the Family to Family Health Information Center is in the unique position to help. Like you, they are parents of children and young adults with physical, developmental and mental health challenges, and they have firsthand experience navigating the maze of health care services and programs in our state.

They will help you to become informed, experienced, and self-sufficient advocates for your child.

You will be busy with new contacts and appointments for your child. The workbook will help you keep track of your appointments and of who said what so you can stay on track and in charge of your goals of listening and speaking for your child.

2- Call Nemours Otolaryngology and make an appointment to see Dr. William Parkes. 302 651-4000.

Doctor Parkes is a pediatric otologist(an ENT doctor with special training in ear surgery and hearing problems in children). He will help to confirm the diagnosis of hearing loss your child has, will evaluate for associated medical conditions which may not be apparent and discuss with you whether or not your child’s hearing loss is treatable. The medical evaluation may require CT  or MRI scans, and additional tests or consultations(your workbook will come in handy here). The result of this medical evaluation will determine if you can realistically pursue hearing and speaking as goals for your child, or if you should consider signing as a first strategy. In some cases both are recommended.

3- Call Nemours Audiology and get hearing aids fitted as soon as possible. 302 426-5031

For the best lifelong speech and language results hearing aids should be worn at all times by 6 months of age, and if cochlear implantation is required, by 12 months. Never follow advice to “just wait and see what kind of communication your child likes.” Delaware has a hearing aid law that will help to cover the cost of hearing aids for your child.

4- Call to start Listening and Spoken Language Training at home with your infant or toddler. Call Tracy Neugebauer 302 735-4210.

For infants and toddlers ages birth to 3, Delaware has a special Listening and Spoken Language home therapy program called the Statewide Listening and Spoken Language tVisits – Telepractice Virtual Intervention Services. This program gives Delaware parents access to Listening and Spoken Language therapy from the experts at the Clarke School in Philadelphia via weekly virtual visits. No computer? No problem. The program can provide you with the computer you need to participate.

5- Call and arrange a classroom visit at the Listening and Spoken Language Preschool Classroom in Newark at the Christina Early Education Center. (302) 454-2720  620 East Chestnut Hill Road
Newark, DE 19713

  • 18 months to 3 years old program for Listening and Spoken Language
    • “Stay and Play” program on Friday mornings – Additional sessions with typical peers are scheduled Monday-Thursday.
  • 3 and 4 year olds
    • On-site program that prepares children for kindergarten using listening spoken language skills.  Transportation is provided by the school district.

6- If the communication plan you made with your doctor includes sign language instruction you should contact Statewide Services for the Hearing Impaired/Delaware School for the Deaf  and enroll in the FACES Program. Contact Laurie Kettle-Rivera (302) 454-2301

Services offered by FACES for children Birth to 3 include:
  • Family Education
  • Spoken Language Consultant
  • American Sign Language (ASL) Consultant
  • Twice weekly Play and Learn Club Playgroups in Newark, Dover and Lincoln, DE
  • Monthly family events with free childcare and interpreting services
  • Free ASL classes with free childcare
The FACES on-site programs at Delaware School for the Deaf in Newark, Delaware welcome children as young as 3 and continues through preschool to age 5 (or whenever a child is ready to move on to kindergarten). All classes run a full-day schedule, beginning at 8:30 am and concluding at 3:15 pm, except for Fridays, when students are dismissed at 11:00 am. Transportation to/from the child’s home and/or daycare is provided, if desired.

Confused? Contact us or come to a CHOICES Delaware meeting and get connected with experts who are willing to help.