When you have a child with hearing loss (or any disability), you are instantly thrown into the deep end of new jargon, appointments, professionals, and more. When a therapy or early intervention provider is assigned to your family, how do you know if who you’re getting is any good? They’re supposed to be the expert in this, so how are parents who are new to this whole world supposed to know if they and their child are getting what they deserve?
Of course, there are many, many ways to be a great speech-language pathologist/audiologist/teacher of the deaf/early interventionist/etc. Different professionals will have different backgrounds, personalities, and therapy styles, and that’s great. This checklist is meant to be the bare-bones minimum of quality indicators that define an evidence-based, family-centered practice. Below, I’ve shared just a few very basic questions that you can ask yourself to determine whether or not the services you’re receiving are of high quality. (Here’s a hint: the answer to every question should be YES!)
Note that I say “my provider” on the checklist for two reasons — “My” because the professionals real job is to coach YOU, the parent/family and “provider” because this checklist applies to professionals with a range of different designations (“my audiologist, my speech-language pathologist” etc.)
CLICK HERE for a free PDF download of this checklist. You are welcome to use it and reproduce it as long as it is unaltered with the original attribution.
Okay, so what if you’re not getting this from your current provider? Well, first of all, know that YOU have the RIGHT and RESPONSIBILITY to participate in your/your child’s care. Speak up! Ask for the things on this list that you feel would be helpful to you (“Could you explain to me why we are doing this activity?” “Could you show me how I could do this?” “I need more explanation about that activity you just did.”). It may feel awkward at first. Most of us grew up thinking it wasn’t our place to question those in charge. But you are the parent now, and your child’s future depends on you. Your provider might be a bit flustered at first, but he or she should be willing to adjust to your requests. If your provider isn’t willing to work with you and make these changes, it might be time to ask for a change.