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Screenings, Assessments, and Educational Evaluations for Learners who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing: Introduction

When you have concerns about your child or learner’s hearing status, you may wonder what the appropriate steps are for accessing and receiving support services for your family or in your child’s educational setting.

A variety of assessment tools may be used to gather information about a child/learners functional, developmental, and academic skills to support their educational needs. In this section you can explore information related to the screening and assessment process, core assessment areas for learners who are deaf/hard hearing, that will guide instruction and access to their educational needs.

Services in the educational setting, for those who are deaf/hard of hearing, are based on a combination of the student's eligibility for services and the individual needs of that particular learner has for adaptation of materials and the need for individualized instruction. There is a specific referral process for both Early Intervention Services (birth - 2) and School-Aged Services (ages 3 - 21).

Early Intervention

Do you suspect that your child may have hearing loss? If so, consider consulting your child’s pediatrician and making a referral to receive support from Ohio’s statewide Early Intervention Services. Would you like to learn more about making a referral, or about how early intervention can support your child’s physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development? For children who are deaf or hard of hearing, early intervention can connect families to the professionals needed for language acquisition and communication skills.

Early Intervention (EI) is a statewide system that provides coordinated early intervention services to parents of eligible children under the age of three with developmental delays or disabilities. EI is grounded in the philosophy that young children learn best from familiar people in familiar settings. Every family served in EI will have a local EI team that consists of a service coordinator, service providers, and your family. Your team works with you in your home or other places you and your family spend time, to develop a coordinated plan called an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). You and your team will work through your IFSP plan to use your existing supports and resources—and build upon them—to learn to enhance your child’s learning and development.

Services and special education are given to those who are eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This is a federal law that is divided into three sections: Part A, B, and C. Part A explains the specifics of the law. Part B addresses services for children between the ages of 3-21 via an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Part C is the section in which services are addressed to children birth to age 3 via an Individualized Family Service Program (IFSP).

Once you have contacted EI, a service provider will evaluate your child to determine your child’s eligibility and service needs. A diagnosis of hearing loss from an clinical audiologist is needed along with the results of other assessments/evaluations.

Keep personal copies of all documentation pertaining to your child. Especially medical and EI-related documents. Around the time your child approaches 2.5 years of age, the IFSP team should meet to talk about the transition into school services and an IEP.

To access Early Intervention Services in Ohio please visit: or call: (800) 755-4769.