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Early Intervention: Communication and Language for Families of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Infants


This 12-page tool answers questions about hearing loss in infants, focusing on communication and language strategies for families.

The tool includes the following sections:

  • Our child has a hearing loss. What happens next? What is early intervention?
  • I didn't know that an infant's hearing could be tested.
  • Hearing in humans is very complex. There are many different types of hearing loss.
  • Your child's hearing loss is unique.
  • What are some things that I can do to communicate with my child right now?
  • Suggestions for you while you are exploring intervention options.
    • Family support services
    • Infant and toddler services: Part C program
    • Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)
    • Early intervention and Part C
  • Your child and family might be offered several different approaches to communication and language.
  • Educational programs use different approaches to communication and language.
  • Communication, language, speech, and signing—What's the difference?
  • The critical period for language development.
  • Communication strategies.
  • The five educational programs.
  • Communication starts early.
  • Families as decisionmakers.
Links to the Tool:
This tool is available at: (If you don't have the software to open this PDF, download free Adobe Acrobat ReaderĀ® software External Web Site Policy.)


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Funding Sources

Office of Special Education Programs; U.S. Department of Education

QualityTool Topic



  • Release Date: 04/2006
  • Original Summary: 05/2006
Disclaimer: The inclusion of a tool in the Innovations Exchange does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or Westat of the tool or of the submitter or developer of the tool. Read more.

Last updated: March 14, 2012.