In this article: The “Medical Home,” social media and web resources, and listening and spoken language. Read on!
Plenary III: The Medical Home and EHDI
A “Medical Home” is the concept that the child’s pediatrician or family practitioner should be the home base for referrals and coordinating care following the newborn hearing screening.
Dr. Mehl, who is a pediatrician who chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics’ EHDI taskforce, noted that most pediatricians will see a child with hearing loss every 1-5 years in their practice. How can we expect them to be knowledgeable? Instead of knowledge, Dr. Mehl identified characteristics which he believes make a pediatrician a good member of a child’s Medical Home team:
Comfortable in ignorance (understands she doesn’t know it all)
Committed to education (willing to learn what she needs to best serve the family)
Cooperates with non-MD providers (audiologist, early interventionist, etc.)
Co-management with specialists (ENT, geneticist, etc.)
Connected with families
Clever with advocacy (uses her power to help the family in insurance an education management)
Is like the conductor of an orchestra of talented artists (the child’s whole team)
Dr. Mehl also advocated for just-in-time learning. Learning that happens “just-in-time” arrives at the right time, lets people know what to do, why it is important, where to go for more information, and is short (one side of one page)! When we provide information that is easy to digest and there when people need it, we can educate them about the EHDI process and compel them to action when it is crucial for the child and the family.
How was your “Medical Home” experience? Did your pediatrician fit the characteristics listed above?
Creating a Program of Family-Focused, Web-Based Resources
Terrell Clark, Betsy Kammerer, Garland Walker, Greg Licameli
Social Media Support in EHDI
These presentations focused on the ways that the internet, multimedia, and social media applications are revolutionizing the way parents connect to information about hearing loss on the web. I am proud to be a part of this revolution! From the content on this site, to my Facebook Fan Page, to my Twitter feed, I provide a variety of ways for parents, professionals, and adults with hearing loss to connect. Join the conversation!
Intervention Options: Informed Parents Rely on Informed Professionals
In this session, Estes presented some of the latest research on the listening and spoken language approach. At birth, the auditory cortex in the brain and the cochlea are formed, but not “talking” to each other. These structures mature, and the connections between them are myelinated in the first year of life. Between 4.5 months and 5 years of age, the cortex organizes itself based on input (auditory input = auditory organization, visual input = auditory deprivation) and prunes the connections based on what it does (or doesn’t) hear. All of the neurons that you will ever have are created before your birth — you can’t make new neurons but you CAN use input and experiences to create connections between the ones you have. The body adapts itself to the input that it is receiving. This is no different for children with hearing loss. All of these structures and potential connections are in their brains at birth — we just have to figure out how to get the sound to the brain via hearing aids, cochlear implants, and aggressive audiological management.