Childhood Hearing Loss Services Working Group
Audiology will carry out a range of diagnostic hearing tests depending on the age of the child. When a hearing loss is identified we will discuss the results with the family, explaining the impact on the child’s speech, education and development. Where necessary we will work with the parent to provide child focused amplification solutions based on a child’s type and level of hearing loss and sometimes their age. An onward referral will be made to the ENT team.
Paediatric Audiology is responsible for the ongoing monitoring and support of your child and young person until they transition to adult services.
The ENT doctors will discuss your child’s hearing loss and potential causes. Depending on the history and examination, they may decide to organise further investigations including a scan and blood tests.
They will be responsible for communicating with the other members of the hearing loss team, including the Cochlear Implant team in Belfast. They may also make a referral to the Genetics Team for genetic counselling and assessment. If your child’s hearing loss is related to other medical problems, there will also be a referral made to the Paediatric team for a global assessment.
Speech and Language Therapy (SLT)
Following a diagnosis of deafness/hard of hearing, a referral will be made to the SLT team. SLT can work with children and young people from 0-19 years of age. SLT have an open referral system which means parents, medical professions and the Education Authority (EA) may refer with consent from the person with parental responsibility. An initial appointment is the opportunity to discuss your child and assess their listening, understanding of language, expression, play and functional communication.
SLT can provide a range of interventions to support you and your child in developing their communication at home. SLT supports families with communication approaches including listening and spoken language, British Sign Language (BSL) and Total Communication.
Sensory Support Team and Social Work
The Sensory Support Team have Environmental Technical Officers who accept referrals to assess a child’s need in relation to equipment that may help them in everyday home life. Advice can also be given about assistive technology in conjunction with Audiology.
Health visitors are nurses with specialist training in community public health. They work together with all families to support the healthy growth and development of babies, children and young people. Additional support is offered depending on the individual needs of your family. A plan of care will be agreed to meet your child’s physical, social, emotional and communication needs. We provide advice and information on a range parenting issues and support your relationship with your child. We work closely with other members of your child’s health and social care team and will connect you to additional sources of support and information.
Teachers of the Deaf (Education Authority)
These are teachers with specialist qualifications in working with children and young people with a hearing loss.
In the early years, they provide guidance to families, to help them to understand their child’s hearing loss and support the development of language and communication skills through play-based activities. Teachers of the Deaf will support you in making choices regarding communication methods (oral or signed) and equipment such as hearing aids and cochlear implants. They liaise with the health professionals as necessary.
As your child progresses, they provide support for the transition to education. They advise on the different options, such as mainstream schools, specialist provision in a mainstream school or a special school. They advise schools on the implications of your child’s hearing loss, and strategies to promote inclusion and access to the curriculum. They may provide specialist equipment such as radio aids, and ensure school staff are trained in its use. They will continue to monitor your child’s hearing and progress in language, listening and communication skills, and support them through transitions within and beyond school.
Jordanstown School is a special school specialising in the education of children and young people aged 4 to 19 who are deaf and/or visually impaired. Pupils are placed at Jordanstown School by the Education Authority NI, at the request of parents, where the child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs which indicates that their needs would be best met in a special school setting.
National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS)
The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) is the national charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and young people. They represent the interests and campaign for the rights of all deaf children and young people from birth to 25 years old. Their work encompasses:-
- Advice & Guidance
- Online events for families and young people
- Professional Training
- Policy & Campaigns
Action Deaf Youth (ADY)
ADY works across Northern Ireland with its office base in Belfast. They provide direct services to Deaf children from birth to 25 years old. The team is mostly Deaf, with qualifications in Teaching, Youth, Play and British Sign Language. ADY advocate using a wide range of communication tools, also promoting British Sign Language to ensure Deaf children get the best support possible.
They offer a number of sessions for children of different ages. They offer additional tools such as family signing, signed stories, and nursery rhymes. Additionally, there is group and one to one Play Therapy sessions with a qualified UK Play Therapist.
British Deaf Association (BDA)
The British Deaf Association (BDA) is a national Deaf-led organisation that works directly with Deaf people that use British Sign Language (BSL). Their work concentrates on campaigning for equal rights on a national level and working at a local level empowering Deaf people to achieve access to their local public services. This is carried out through projects delivering individual and community advocacy.