Early Intervention Network: Supporting Linguistic Competence for Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Factor 3


The evidence supporting Factor 3 centers on: 1) the benefit of using visual language to establish early timely language foundations and minimize language delay, 2) the beneficial role of sign language in the development of spoken language, and 3) the potential of hearing families to acquire the competence to facilitate their child’s development of visual language.

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Recommended Practices

Based on evidence, the recommended practices for Factor 3 are to develop a program philosophy reflective of evidence documenting the benefits of early visual language and to provide family services and supports to facilitate visual language acquisition.

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Program Highlight: Massachusetts Family Sign Language Program

The Massachusetts Family Sign Language Program, coordinated by the Gallaudet University Regional Center at Northern Essex Community College, provides sign language instruction for eligible families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing from birth through 3 years of age.

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Program Highlight: New Mexico School for the Deaf

The New Mexico School for the Deaf (NMSD) started a statewide early intervention program (one of the first in the country) in 1981, long before early intervention was entitled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The Parent Infant Child Program and the Deaf Mentor Program now both fall under the Early Intervention and Involvement Division at NMSD.

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