AG Bell Monograph Highlights Compelling Strategic Analysis of State Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Programs

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Results offer a guideline for strengthening statewide systems to provide comprehensive care to infants and young children with hearing loss

This monograph will be an excellent resource for EHDI stakeholders and a valuable tool for analyzing strengths and needs of state EHDI programs.

The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) released a monograph that presents the findings of a groundbreaking analysis that applies a widely used business strategic planning tool to gain new insights into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of statewide early hearing detection and intervention programs (EHDI) across the nation. The results provide a guideline for strengthening EHDI systems in each state to provide comprehensive care to infants and young children with hearing loss.

The monograph presents the findings of a 2009 survey in which state EHDI coordinators responded to an online survey of 12 major areas within their EHDI systems. Each EHDI coordinator was asked to identify at least one strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat for use in strategic planning.

The survey used a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis, a well established strategic planning tool, to identify the internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) of the EHDI system, as well as external ones (opportunities and threats) that could affect the system. The 12 areas surveyed include EHDI components such as newborn hearing screening, professional development, collaboration, and loss to follow-up. A panel of experts in the field reviewed the results and categorized them into common themes in each of four strategic planning areas.

Jackson Roush, Ph.D., professor and director of the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, served as guest editor of the monograph. “This monograph will be an excellent resource for EHDI stakeholders and a valuable tool for analyzing strengths and needs of state EHDI programs,” said Dr. Roush.

The project was supported by the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM), which serves as a national resource center to ensure that all infants and toddlers with hearing loss are identified as early as possible and provided with timely and appropriate audiological, educational, and medical intervention. The Volta Review, AG Bell’s 120-year-old scholarly journal, was selected as a publication venue for the groundbreaking comprehensive analysis.

Monograph articles underwent a rigorous, peer-review process that included blinded review of all articles. Peer reviewers were selected for their high level of expertise, objectivity, and diversity of background.

“This report will go a long way in building a better EHDI system,” said Kathleen Treni, AG Bell president and the principal of the pre-kindergarten through 12th grade programs for students who are deaf and hard of hearing in Bergen County Special Services District in Northern New Jersey. “A well-functioning EHDI system is critical to improving the communication outcomes of children who are deaf and hard of hearing. I am delighted that AG Bell has been able to support this project through The Volta Review, our peer reviewed journal.”

NCHAM Founding Director Karl White, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Utah State University and an internationally recognized expert on EHDI, applauded efforts on the monograph. “This monograph is a tremendous step forward in the quest to improve and increase the effectiveness of EHDI,” said Dr. White. “These strategies should be carefully considered by national and state level EHDI stakeholders to continue improvement to state EDHI programs so that children with hearing loss and their families benefit from the advances made in recent years and the opportunities now available.”

The monograph can be accessed on the AG Bell website at http://www.agbell.org. Printed copies may be purchased from the AG Bell Bookstore (visit http://www.agbell.org and click on "Publications and Bookstore").

AG Bell has developed a comprehensive summary of the strategic analysis of EHDI programs. Download this free summary (PDF) from http://nc.agbell.org/NetCommunity/Document.Doc?id=817.

About the AG Bell Association

The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing helps families, health care providers and education professionals understand childhood hearing loss and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. Through advocacy, education and financial aid, AG Bell helps to ensure that every child and adult with hearing loss has the opportunity to listen, talk and thrive. With chapters located in the United States and a network of international affiliates, AG Bell supports its mission: Advocating Independence through Listening and Talking!

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