Jean Weingarten Peninsula Oral School for the Deaf (JWPOSD) in partnership with Stanford University School of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery today launched, “BabyTalk”. BabyTalk is a new Tele-therapy program that provides outreach services to families who want their child with hearing loss to learn to speak. Hearing loss is the most common birth defect in America. If comprehensive intervention begins early and is implemented regularly, normal language and speech development can occur during the first three years. Though most hearing loss is identified at birth, access to the necessary follow-up services during this three-year period has been very limited because such specialized services generally are not located near the family. BabyTalk is an innovative program that provides these services regardless of where the family lives.
The comprehensive program has two components. The first provides direct consultation with professionals such as audiologists, social workers, deaf educators, speech pathologists and ear specialists to facilitate the therapy services. The second component consists of parental coaching and customized listening, language and speech therapy. Services will be delivered remotely using the latest computer and internet technology which is supplied by the program. The primary goal of BabyTalk is to eliminate the barriers of distance in order to deliver quality services regardless of where the child and family live so that children with hearing loss can learn to listen and talk.
Why act now? Every day matters. The first three years after a child is born is a critical period for the development of speech and language. A child’s experience during this time will significantly impact language and speech ability and affect the rest of the child’s life. The necessary language and speech services are available only in limited locations and therefore unavailable to most families unless they move or travel great distances. With this in mind, the program is designed to provide consultation to the local professionals and regularly scheduled Teletherapy for children with hearing loss from birth – 3 years of age.
“Tele” means “distance” or “remote.” Teletherapy uses a computer as the interface to deliver professional services to the family’s home via video conferencing over the internet. This new program will allow families, no matter where they live, to meet virtually with their therapist and other professionals on the BabyTalk team. BabyTalk initially will provide expert services for children and their families who live in remote areas of Northern California. This program will eliminate travel time and expenses to receive access to experienced specialists and individualized care. BabyTalk includes a one-night stay at JWPOSD to personally meet the child’s therapist and professional team. Benefits also include parent lessons utilizing items already in the home, translators for non-English speaking parents and home internet connection as well as computer equipment if needed to access the sessions. No hearing impaired child will be left out. All services if not otherwise covered will be provided free of charge through a grant from a generous community funder.
For more information visit JWPOSD website at http://www.deafkidstalk.org or phone: (650) 365-7500.