“Children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families should have access to Early Intervention services from the earliest age possible. These children and their families benefit from intervention to assist them in understanding the unique needs a hearing loss presents on language, communication, socialization, and overall development.
Each year it is estimated about 360 children are born in Illinois with hearing loss. The ages of birth through three are critical for children who have hearing loss because this is the age when children are acquiring language and developing communication skills which ultimately impact future academic achievement. Special attention must be given to receptive and expressive communication to ensure that these children will reach their full potential.
Recent studies have shown that infants with hearing loss can be acquiring language similar to peers by five years of age if they are identified and provided with appropriate early intervention services before six months of age by providers trained in service delivery for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Even a six month delay, identification at twelve months of age, causes significant reduction in the rate of language acquisition.” (Illinois Department of Human Services)
On December 31, 2002, Illinois began mandating that all newborns be screened for hearing loss and Early Intervention began their plan to support all children birth through 3 years old and provide them with quality services, including hearing aids. However, that is all the further the state carries their mandate for children with hearing loss.