Deaf/Hard of Hearing/Deaf+: 1-3-6 Family Navigator program

The day parents learn that their child is deaf or hard of hearing is a day they will never forget. It is also the beginning of a journey of discovery. They are not alone in this journey. There are parents and professionals who will support them and share experiences and insights along the way.

We chose the title Deaf/Hard of Hearing/Deaf+ Family Navigators because we know how critical Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) is: hearing screening no later than 1 month of age; diagnosis no later than 3 months of age; entry into early intervention no later than 6 months old. 

Parent of Deaf and Hard of Hearing child

Who are the 1-3-6 family navigators?

Educating parents is vital because it is their job to make decisions that are right for their child and family. Parents are faced with new challenges when they first find out their child has hearing loss.  What communication and language methods (ASL, Cued Speech, Listening & Spoken Language Approach, and Total Communication) will they be using with their child?  Will their child wear device(s) to aid their hearing loss (hearing aid(s), bone-anchored-hearing-aid(s), and or cochlear implant(s)? Services and professionals will change often throughout our lifetimes, which is why the family education component is so critical. With the support of Deaf/Hard of Hearing/Deaf+ Family Navigators, parents will be in a better position to advocate for their children.

In 2014, 1,369 babies did not pass the newborn hearing screening before leaving the hospital. 50% of those babies (689) did not go back for another test to determine if their baby had any hearing loss. In response, through a collaborative agreement with the Virginia Department of Health EHDI Program, the Center for Family Involvement trained parents as Deaf/Hard of Hearing/Deaf+ Family Navigators. Deaf/Hard of Hearing/Deaf+ Family Navigators visit birthing hospital newborn screening teams and audiology clinics across Virginia to talk about their hearing screening practices and how to get infants back for another test of their hearing. Below is a postcard the Deaf/Hard of Hearing/Deaf+ Family Navigators developed for parents to remind them about the importance of following up on their baby’s hearing test.

To get parent support, learn more about the Deaf/Hard of Hearing/Deaf+ Family Navigators, or find resources for children who are deaf/hard of hearing, please email Irene Schmalz: 

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CFI has created a new closed FB page and would love to have you join us! This group is for Virginia parents, caregivers, family members of all children who are deaf or hard of hearing. In this group we welcome and honor all forms of communication choices.

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