June, 2015     

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ECHO Initiative 
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Tip of the Month
Learn "Who's Who" in Early Childhood Hearing Screening in Your State

At the end of May, we saw an "a-May-zing" show of interest in our "coffee-break" webinar on early childhood hearing screening.  Promoted through the Office of Head Start, Office of Child Care, and the Office of Special Education Programs, over 900 individuals registered for the webinar.  Many participants were new to Early Childhood Hearing Outreach (ECHO), so in this month of June, the ECHO Team would like to extend a special welcome and we'd also like to facilitate important "introductions" between the diversity of professionals who are supporting infant, toddler and preschool periodic hearing screening and follow-up.


The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) programs in most states receive federal support from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.  EHDI programs have worked with hospitals, professionals and families for close to two decades to make newborn hearing screening a standard of care. They are actively involved with follow-up when infants need further hearing screening, evaluation, or early intervention services and are responsible for collecting data and reporting outcomes.  EHDI programs are charged with serving all young children who have permanent hearing loss and are increasingly involved in statewide  hearing screening initiatives with infants and toddlers.  The National Center for Hearing Assessment & Management (NCHAM) is funded to serve as the National Technical Resource Center for all EHDI programs and NCHAM is home to the Early Childhood Hearing Outreach (ECHO) Initiative.


A key leader in early childhood hearing screening, the Office of Head Start provides funding for the ECHO Initiative to assist local Early Head Start and Head Start programs in implementing quality hearing screening practices. Visit the Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center (ECLKC) to  learn more about Performance Standards related to hearing screening and how ECHO Initiative resources are available to guide programs in evidence-based screening practices. Each State also has a Head Start Collaboration Office to facilitate partnerships between Head Start and other agencies that provide services to benefit low-income children and their families.


Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), federal special education funds are distributed through state grant programs to help find and serve children, including those with hearing loss, who need early intervention Boy with hearing aid services. Part B section 619 is targeted specifically at children ages 3 to 5;  Part C authorizes services for infants  and toddlers. Although Part B/619 and Part C Regulations require that Evaluation and Assessments include hearing, no guidelines specify how those assessments should be done. It is critical that all children who are being evaluated for eligibility, as well as those who are receiving services, have their hearing screened because hearing loss often manifests as a developmental or language delay.  State Part C Coordinators and Part B/619 Coordinators are in key positions to help integrate effective hearing screening practices into local Child Find efforts.  


Although the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 

supports newborn hearing screening and the ongoing monitoring of hearing throughout early childhood, the reality is that most health care providers do not have the equipment and time needed to provide an objective hearing screening during regular well-child visits.  This means that the majority of children in the U.S. do not receive a hearing screening after the newborn period until they enter school.    

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), also support periodic screening during early childhood.  Audiologists do not typically have routine access to young children, but they can use their skills to help train and supervise a broader cadre of lay screeners who can successfully identify children needing comprehensive hearing evaluations and further services.  

 Child being screened

No matter what discipline you represent, whether you are an administrator or a front-line service provider, you are a vital contributor to your State's overall hearing screening growth. We encourage you to get to know the other organizations  and individuals involved and to become familiar with the ECHO Initiative resources that are available to sustain and support your valuable work.  

Probe of the Month
Do you have ideas about how to expand early childhood hearing screening in your State?

Let us know at:  




And, as always, share www.KidsHearing.org with anyone you think would benefit from our resources.     

 ECHO - Headstart

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2615 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322

Probes and Tips is a newsletter from the ECHO Initiative that provides monthly TIPS

to enhance early childhood hearing screening and follow-up practices and PROBES

 about current activities so we can learn from one another's successes and challenges.