Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) offers specialized early intervention services for infants and toddlers with hearing loss and their families. These services are called “deaf education early intervention services” or “parent-infant services,” and are coordinated by parent advisors (teachers for infants and toddlers who have hearing loss) from the Regional Day School Programs for the Deaf (RDSPD), local school districts, and Texas School for the Deaf. Learn more about ECI and how to refer a child. Texas Connect offers a 2-page downloadable guide with information about early intervention services for children who are deaf or hard of hearing (PDF). This guide is also available in Spanish
Services for infants and toddlers are based on an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) and will be different for each child and family based on their individual needs. They will be provided in your home and/or other natural environments where your child lives, learns, and plays. Find more IFSP info here.
Only the Auditory Impairment (AI) services and ECI service coordination are free. Any other services (e.g., physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy; nutrition; etc.) fall under ECI’s Family Cost Share and you may have to pay for them. No family is turned away because of an inability to pay.
Making a Plan for Your Child: IFSP Considerations for Children Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (PDF) is a 6-page downloadable booklet from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that has information and advice about developing an IFSP for a child who has hearing loss. The booklet is also available in Spanish (PDF).
The National Association for the Deaf also offers tips for developing an IFSP for infants and toddlers who are deaf and hard of hearing.
“Deaf,” “hard of hearing”, and “hearing loss” are often referred to as “auditory impairment” or “AI” in ECI and the public school system.
In Texas, teachers for infants and toddlers who have hearing loss are called “parent advisors” or PAs. Teachers for children with hearing loss from 3 through 21 years old are often called “deaf ed teachers” or “AI teachers.”
Each Education Service Center (ESC) across the State has a deaf education contact. These contacts can help you connect with your local ECI program or school district staff and give you information about resources in your community.
The Regional Day School Program for the Deaf (RDSPD) was established by the Texas legislature and is operated by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in partnership with local public schools across the state. RDSPDs provide developmental and educational services to children (birth through 21 years) who are deaf and hard of hearing and their families. Download a listing of ESC deaf education and RDSPD contacts (PDF).
The Educational Resource Center on Deafness (ERCOD) at the Texas School for the Deaf provides statewide outreach services to support deaf and hard of hearing students (ages birth through 21 years), their families, and the professionals who serve them. ERCOD provides online listings of programs and services and information and resources (also available in Spanish).
ERCOD offers a Parent Infant Program in the Austin area that includes home visits for children birth to age three and morning onsite classes for toddlers 18 months to 3 years. At age 3 children can transition into a preschool program that best meets their individual needs. This can include the Early Childhood Education program (for children 3-5 years) at Texas School for the Deaf, another program in their home school district, or at the closest RDSPD site.
There is an agreement, called the DARS-ECI TEA Memorandum of Understanding (PDF), that outlines how DARS-ECI and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) work together to serve infants and toddlers who are deaf, hard of hearing, and/or have visual impairment.