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Communication Disorders and Deaf Education


Poverty has a tremendous impact on the educational achievement of all children, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH). With targeted, evidence-based interventions during the first three years of life, Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) professionals can assist families in mitigating the negative effects of poverty on children’s development. For the purpose of this paper, we will use the term EHDI professionals to refer to those audiologists, speech-language pathologists, teachers of the deaf, and related service providers who serve children ages birth to three. Some, but not all, EHDI professionals provide direct service to children and their caregivers. Some, but not all, EHDI professionals serve children and families who live in poverty. When EHDI professionals enter the workforce with a strong awareness regarding the risks associated with childhood poverty and a variety of effective practices and strategies which can be used to serve this population, then the EHDI system will promote resilience and improve outcomes for young children who are DHH and their families living in poverty.

The paper provides (a) a summary of the current literature outlining the effects of poverty on the development of young children and recommendations for serving children living in poverty including those who are DHH; (b) the results of a survey of EHDI professionals exploring the awareness, preparation, and needs of these professionals related to this topic; and (c) implications and recommendations for effective practice.



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