​Infant Development Program

DHH for Infants and Toddlers

​The PCOE Infant Program provides family centered, relationship based early intervention services and supports to infants and toddlers who have hearing loss and their families within the family’s natural environments.  Through information, coaching and modeling, parents become the primary facilitators of their child’s language development.  Services and supports are developed through an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) with consideration of:

  • the whole child
  • strengths and needs in all areas of development
  • parents have the greatest influence on their child's development
  • building a strong language foundation
  • the family's resources, concerns and priorities
  • learning styles
  • unique circumstances and needs while promoting the child's development within this sensitive period which is critical for development
  • degree of hearing loss
  • amplification use
  • auditory accessibility
  • educational approaches and language opportunities
  • parent support opportunities, and
  • any additional needs of the child and/or family

Through education and information on best practices, current research and technology, the Infant Program supports families in making an unbiased, informed decision on a communication modality/s, also referenced as educational approaches, for their Deaf or hard of hearing child.  Services offered are comprehensive, individualized and based on family and child functional outcomes developed by the family and intervention staff as the IFSP team. Throughout intervention, families are supported and provided information to assist in promoting optimal development, language and learning.

​Educational approaches, language opportunities and curriculum

The Infant Program focuses on the child and family’s needs and communication opportunities.  Each child is unique with his/her own learning style, strengths and abilities.  The curriculum focuses on communication opportunities and language development, offering approaches including but not limited to:

  • Listening and spoken language/Auditory-Oral
  • Total Communication, Simultaneous Communication
  • ASL/English Bilingual, Bilingual-Bicultural

Curriculum utilized is based on a child’s individual needs and includes, but is not limited to:

  • The Ski*Curriculum - offering research based information on a variety of topics related to infant/toddler development, hearing loss, amplification (hearing aids, cochlear implants, FM systems, etc.), Deaf Culture, listening and auditory development, the natural environment, learning throughout daily routines, early literacy, play and visual communication.
  • Talk around the clock - an oral/aural approach based on natural interactions that take place during the daily routines of children and families.
  • Listening games for Littles - activities for children with cochlear implants.
  • AusPlan - manual to support auditory skills, speech, articulation and language.
  • Cochlear Americas - listening activities.
  • Developmentally appropriate intervention strategies


Service design is based on multiple research findings; a few are listed here:

  • The Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (2007). Year 2007 Position statement; Principles and guidelines for early hearing detection and intervention programs.  Pediatrics, 120(4), 898-921 states that Infants with mild-to-profound hearing loss who receive appropriate early intervention in the first 6 months of life have been found to demonstrate significantly better vocabulary, receptive and expressive language, syntax, speech production, and social-emotional development than those identified later.  Children with hearing loss who receive EI within the first year of life have been shown to have language development within the normal range at 5 years of age. 
  • The development of listening and spoken language skills is now attainable for the vast majority of infants/children who are D/HH when they are identified early and provided with early and appropriate EI services beginning with fitting of amplification that ensures audibility across the speech spectrum of the native spoken language (Yoshinaga-Itano & Sedey, 2000.
  • Parental responsiveness has been identified as the primary characteristic that influences children’s communication development (Bornstein, Tamis-LeMonda & Haynes, 1999; Hoff-Ginsberg & Shatz, 1982.
  • Early development is best supported when services are provided in the child’s home or in community places or programs where young children play (Dunst, C. (2006).  Parent mediated everyday child learning opportunities:  I foundations and operationalization (CASEinPoint, 2(2))
  • Warm and responsive early care helps babies thrive and plays a vital role in healthy development. A child's capacity to control her own emotional state appears to hinge on biological systems shaped by her early experiences and attachments. A strong, secure attachment to a nurturing adult can have a protective biological function, helping a growing child withstand the ordinary stress of daily life. Rethinking the Brain: New Insights into Early Development by Families and Work Institute, 1996
  • “A child can best learn language with those with whom he or she spends the most amount of time, those with whom the young child has the strongest social and emotional bond and reasons for communicating. In this example, services should support parents in their efforts to enhance their child’s language acquisition and use. To support a child’s development, early intervention should focus on supporting parent’s competence and confidence to increase the child's learning and participation in daily life (Bruder & Dunst, 2000).”  A Relationship- Based Approach to Early Intervention , L. Edelman,  2004


The PCOE Infant Program offers comprehensive educational services to the Deaf or Hard of Hearing infants and toddlers and their families. These services are provided in the family’s natural environment  where their children participate, learn and develop in the context of their everyday relationships, routines, activities and places.  The PCOE infant program recognizes that families play a crucial role in facilitating their child’s development.  Infant Program staff work with the parent(s) and child together to facilitate their child’s development and to assist the parent in the understanding their child’s development and intervention strategies.

These services include but are not limited to individualized:

  • Special Instruction per qualified credentialed staff (credentialed Teacher of the Deaf)
  • Speech therapy and auditory training
  • Auditory training by an Educational Audiologist
  • Service Coordination
  • Additional therapies/services available if determined necessary, i.e.:
    • Occupational Therapy, physical therapy, feeding therapy, vision services
    • Team visits and consultations available from full Infant Program Staff
    • Parent and child learning groups.  (PALS) Parents and children with hearing loss and community peers and parents for either a listening and spoken language  approach,  or total communication/sim-com approach or opportunities for both
    • Parent/child community playgroups and classes.  Staff join parents in accessing their community activities throughout the week
    • Parent support and information classes

Parent and Child Learning Group

Playgroup for Auditory Learning and Speech (PALS) is available to families in our DHOH program who’s child would benefit from a group setting with like peers (other children with hearing aids, cochlear implants and who may or may not use sign language).  Taught and overseen by a certified Teacher of the Deaf, the class is also staffed with an Early Childhood Special Educator, a Speech Language Pathologist and an Occupational Therapist, a Music Teacher and an Educational Audiologist.  The focus is language, learning and early literacy. Each child accesses language differently so at times, spoken language will be presented along with sign language.  At other times, communication will be auditory-oral only, for families who prefer an auditory-only environment.  Parents assist their child with the learning activities along with the staff.  This group is also a “Community” play group which includes typical hearing peers and their parents and Deaf adult role models. The group also offers a great opportunity for parent to parent support.   The group meets twice a week at Olive Ranch School.


10:15 – 10:25 Arrive – Free Play/Explore

10:25 – 10:40 – Welcome Song and Early Literacy Circle Time (ASL story)

10:40 – 11:00 – Language Development Center Activities (based on each month’s theme and book)

11:00 – Auditory-Oral Friends arrive

11:00 – 11:15 – Listening and Spoken Language Circle

11:15 – 11:30 – Oral motor snack time

11:30 – Goodbye song to our Signing friends

11:30 – 11:45 Auditory Only Early Literacy Circle Time

11:45 – 12:00 Auditory- Oral language development center activities

12:00 – Goodbye Friends


10:15 – 10:20  Free Play/Explore

10:20 – 10:55  Music with My Friends – Speech and Language based music program

10:55 – 10:05  Language Development center activities

11:05 – 11:20  Listening and Spoken Language Circle

11:20 – 11:30  Oral motor snack

11:30 – Goodbye Signing friends

11:30 – 11:45  Auditory-Oral Early Literacy Circle time

11:45 – 12:00  Auditory-Oral Vocabulary development center activities

​Parent Support and Information Group

Once a month, a guest speaker will present on a topic related to child development, hearing loss, language development, Deaf community or other relevant topics.  This is a time for parents to connect with one another, learn from one another and from professionals or experts on varies relevant topics.