Volume 2, Issue 5 November 1, 2021
From the EHDI Director
By Arlene Stredler Brown
For 18 months, Colorado EHDI staff has been learning about “the state of the state” when it comes to newborn hearing screening and follow-up audiologic and intervention services. We’ve been listening to you. And, in so doing, we have compiled quite a long list of strengths, needs and associated opportunities for our EHDI system. Thank you! You have all done a great job informing our work and identifying the issues and priorities.
Now, 18 months since the start of this grant round, we are setting our sights on engagement. Engagement is defined as “an arrangement to do something or go somewhere at a fixed time”. We are doing that for screening initiatives such as virtual site visits. We are accomplishing this by studying tele-audiology in rural areas of the state. And, we are issuing recommendations on the transition of children who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) from Part C services to preschool. All of the above activities are happening and so much more….
Another definition of engagement is “the state of being in gear”. The Colorado EHDI staff is gearing up for implementation of the initiatives mentioned above as well as other activities that are in process or ready to be launched. And, every step of the way, we are soliciting your participation in these initiatives.
Yet one more definition of engagement is “the process of encouraging people to be interested in the work of an organization.” Each of you reading this newsletter is a stakeholder in our Colorado EHDI system. Whether you are a parent of a child who is deaf, hard of hearing or deafblind (DHHDB), an adult who is DHHDB, an audiologist, a newborn hearing screener, or an early intervention facilitator, we are here for you. We welcome your participation in our activities. We find your input to be valuable and consider all suggestions to be worthwhile ones. Our system is your system. I look forward to engaging with you. Arlene
The Diagnostic/Identification Task Force meets on the 1st Thursday of each month. The next meeting will be November 4, 2021 from 4:00-5:00 pm.
The Families of DHH Children Task Force meets on the 1st Friday of the month, four times per year. The next meeting will be November 5, 2021 from 12:00-1:00 pm.
The DHH Adult Task Force meets on the 2nd Monday of the month, four times per year. The next meeting date will be November 8, 2021 from 2:00-3:30 pm.
The Screening Task Force meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. The next meeting will be November 9, 2021 from 11:00-12:00 pm.
The Intervention Task Force meets the 3rd Tuesday of each month. The next meeting will be November 16, 2021 from 2:00-3:00PM.
The COEHDI Alliance meets the 3rd Friday of each month from 10-11:30AM. The next meeting date is November 19, 2021. Contact a member of the Alliance and/or any of the task forces to obtain meeting access information. See our website for monthly meeting minutes (https://www.coehdi.org/alliance). Meetings are open to the public and members of the public are invited to submit a public comment. The public comment request form can be found at this link: Public Comment Request Form
All Colorado EHDI Alliance and Task Force meetings will be announced here as will other Colorado EHDI system stakeholder meetings. If you would like your meetings included in our monthly newsletter, contact: email@example.com.
Spotlight on Sarah Honigfeld
This month’s spotlight highlights Sarah Honigfeld, Deaf adult, adult who works with The Colorado EHDI Ascent Program, Early Intervention and Early Childhood Education Consultant, and Education Policy Specialist for the National Association for the Deaf. Sarah is an Alliance Member and participates on EHDI’s DHHDB Adult and Early Intervention Task Forces.
Sarah Honigfeld, MA, has been working with deaf and hard of hearing children and their families in the Early Intervention field for over a decade. She has a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Gallaudet University, as well as a certificate in Infants, Toddlers, and Families Leadership (ITF) program, also from Gallaudet University. Currently Sarah is a doctoral student at the University of Colorado Denver in the Leadership in Education Equity: Early Childhood program. Prior to her doctoral studies, Sarah ran an Early Intervention program at The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham, Massachusetts, and worked as an Early Intervention coordinator for the state of Massachusetts.
Sarah moved to beautiful Colorado 15 months ago from New England, and has fallen in love with the mountains and the sunny weather. She enjoys hiking, exploring new towns, and checking out various coffee shops with her partner and their rescue dog, Honey.
The Ascent Program
Our deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind (DHHDB) adults are actively working with individual families and participating in family events (which may be in person or virtual). According to one adult who works with the Ascent Program:
“I think this visit helped the family understand more about what it’s like to have hearing loss and some things to help their son as he gets older. Hopefully it was also helpful for them to hear some ideas about how to help his communication now as well. I enjoyed talking about ways to help him communicate more such as using exciting voices and learning some simple signs. I also enjoyed briefly talking to his older sister and showing her my hearing aids.”
If you would like to learn more about the Ascent Program, please visit our website: https://www.coehdi.org/ascent-program/
New Training for Newborn Hearing Screeners
he National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) has released an updated version of the Newborn Hearing Screening Training Curriculum (NBHTC 2020). According to the NCHAM website, the curriculum includes the latest standard of care in newborn hearing screening practices, consistent with the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH) 2019 Position Statement. The course is offered to screeners free of charge. Screeners can complete the course via the web at their own pace; it takes approximately three hours and CEUs are available. Upon completing the course, participants are eligible for a NCHAM Certificate of Completion and continuing education credits from the American Academy of Audiology (AAA) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).
The course includes video demonstrations of babies being screened. It does not include, nor replace, hands-on training with newborns. It is recommended for all screeners to complete the NBHTC and demonstrate hands-on competencies with the screening equipment in their respective facilities. The NBHTC includes a “Skills Checklist” to document hands-on competencies. More information is available here: https://www.infanthearing.org/nhstc/index.html
Virtual Site Visits (VSVs)
Colorado EHDI has conducted two visits at birthing facilities, and more are planned. Arlene Stredler Brown, EHDI Director, and Jami Fries from Colorado Hands & Voices have been joined by Kristin Sommerfeldt who is a clinical audiologist at CU-Boulder. In addition, the Regional CO-Hear Coordinator has joined each meeting. Dr. Brian Herrmann, a neurotologist, has offered to attend when he is available.
The purpose of VSVs is to assure each facility is aware of our 1-3-6 benchmarks, JCIH best practices and ways their facility can enhance their program. By meeting with the site’s NBHS Coordinator, we learn about each site’s program and the NBHS Coordinator at the hospital facility learns about resources in their community. After each visit, materials requested by the site’s NBHS Coordinator are collected and shared back with the site Coordinator. In addition, recommendations may be made by the stakeholders. A review of cCMV, and the site’s familiarity with this Colorado initiative, is included in the VSV.
CDPHE Screening Corner
By Leanne Glenn and Arlene Stredler Brown
Calling all HIDS users! Calling all HIDS users! Please update all 2020 data as soon as possible. Our HIDS database went live on October 6, 2020. Records from January 1, 2020 through October 5, 2020 need to be manually entered into HIDS. Please do this ASAP so Colorado’s 2020 reporting to the CDC is complete and accurate. Thank you!
Colorado EHDI publishes the Newborn Hearing Screening Monthly. It is distributed to screeners in all birthing facilities. The most recent issue can be found at: https://www.coehdi.org/newsletters/
You can access the monthly newsletter issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment at this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aW1gnvZKp493FwjfSucGLV9Z58U5x4A9/view?usp=sharing
Task Force Updates
Screening Task Force
Colorado’s initiative to engage educational audiologists, who work in local school districts or BOCES (Boards of Cooperative Educational Services) is making advances. Lisa Cannon, the lead for educational audiologists in Colorado, is developing a map of participating educational audiologists. Some educational audiologists are ready and willing to conduct newborn hearing screenings and rescreenings. Some educational audiologists chose to provide community resources to families. A list of participating educational audiologists will be shared with Leanne Glenn at CDPHE. Leanne is the contact person for any family member or professional who is looking for newborn hearing screening options. Families who choose to birth their children at home, families who miss a hearing screening at their birthing facility and families whose baby did not pass an initial screening can contact Leanne Glenn to find out if the educational audiologist in their community is available to conduct a free screening. Thank you, Lisa, for your support for this novel program.
A new Newborn Hearing Screening Training Curriculum (NBHTC) is available. This do-it-yourself, online course is sponsored by the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM). It is recommended, and required by some, for screeners to take this course upon hire and annually thereafter. Training is also recommended in our Colorado Infant Hearing Advisory Committee (CIHAC) Guidelines.
Virtual Site Visits (VSVs) at some birthing facilities are underway. Please read the article below that details Colorado’s participation in this NCHAM-sponsored project.
Diagnostic/Identification and Transition from Diagnostic/Identification to Early Intervention Task Force
In addition to discussing the virtual site visits (discussed in a separate article in this newsletter), the members of this task force also discussed the messaging given to parents when their baby is identified having a unilateral hearing loss (UHL). The evidence documents that families of children with UHL are underutilizing the support that is available from the Regional Colorado Hearing (CO-Hear) Resource Coordinators. There is no charge for CO-Hear activities, nor is there a cost for using the progress monitoring tool that is available. The task force suggests we review the messaging offered by clinical audiologists who identify a child with UHL. As a second activity, the task force members want to consider the information Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) may want to know as they discuss the potential impact of UHL on an infant’s or toddler’s development.
Early Intervention Task Force
This task force reviewed the recommendations made by a subcommittee regarding supports for DHH children and their families transitioning from Part C (early intervention) to Part B (preschool-age services). These recommendations will be provided to Early Intervention Colorado (aka; Part C) for consideration as they revise statewide systems and develop the Governor’s new Department of Early Childhood.
Alliance Meeting Brief
October’s Alliance meeting was attended by 9 of our 17 members. There were 13 additional attendees including EHDI staff, task force members, members of the public, and those who were providing accommodations. The Alliance survey results were discussed and task force updates were provided.
The next Alliance meeting will take place on Friday November 19, 2021 from 10-11:30AM. Contact a member of the Alliance or any of the task forces to obtain meeting access information. See our website for monthly meeting minutes (https://www.coehdi.org/alliance) as well as the link to the public comment form (https://forms.gle/df7LSFGAEyPAgDqJ7).
Colorado EHDI would like to make a special acknowledgement to Laura Merrill, who is retiring from her position as Early Intervention Colorado’s Evaluation Coordinator after decades of service in the early intervention field. We thank her for her work on Colorado EHDI’s Early Intervention Task Force. She has educated this group about the Part C process, legal requirements and provided extensive guidance about early intervention practice and the transition from early intervention to school-age services. Her insights and commitment to collaborative practices will truly be missed.