In this month of Thanksgiving, we want to give a special "shout out" of appreciation to two states that have been long-time participants in the ECHO Initiative.
Beyond Early Head Start: Washington State's Inter-Agency ECHO Collaboration
During a decade of involvement, the WA ECHO team has grown to include nine representatives from five State entities:
- Statewide Center on Childhood Deafness and Hearing Loss,
- Sensory Disabilities Services (State education agency program),
- Department of Health, Early Hearing Detection, Diagnosis and Intervention (EHDDI) program
- Seattle Children's Hospital EHDDI program,
- Early Support for Infants & Toddlers, lead Part C agency, providing funding for some activities
As a result of this partnership, seven new OAE screening units are being placed this year in under-served communities, including tribal early childhood programs. Eight ECHO trainings are scheduled this autumn for all corners of the state, targeting EHS and early intervention programs to ensure that high quality hearing screening protocols and procedures are adopted. Training teams include audiologists, early childhood specialists in hearing loss, and public health specialists. Support for training travel is being provided by collaborating agencies.
These activities will allow WA to widen the safety net, providing screening to more children participating in EHS programs, as well as to children who are eligible for Part C services and are at increased risk for hearing loss. The expansion will also mean more venues where newborn hearing rescreens can be offered, thus reducing loss to follow-up in rural areas where returning to the birthing hospital can require a lengthy drive for families.
Working in Kansas to Put the Needs of the Children First
The Kansas Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program has been participating in the ECHO Initiative for the past nine years, offering OAE hearing screening training to EHS programs across the state. The comprehensive, 6-hour training opportunity utilizes the NCHAM ECHO instructional videos followed by hands-on adult and child screening practice and troubleshooting. The experience provides screeners with the capacity to explain the need for screening and early identification, describe the basic anatomy and physiology of the auditory system, exhibit an ability to work with children, identify unusual or difficult screening situations, and determine when to refer children for follow-up medical or audiological follow-up based on hearing screening results.
The success of Kansas in breaking down barriers and improving hearing services for young children can be attributed to local audiologists donating their time to train, networking initiated between programs, data sharing achieved through Memorandum of Agreements and parental consents, in combination with the efforts of many, many individual screeners.
A big THANKS to everyone in these two states!! Stay tuned to a future edition of Probes & Tips to learn what Tennessee has in the works, as well!!