(2018, December 20, Update May 2023) | Useful to early interventionists, lead agencies, and Parent Centers on screening during evaluation of an infant or toddler for hearing loss or deafness.
This Dear Colleague letter from OSEP responds to a question about the evaluation process for an infant or toddler suspected of being deaf or hard of hearing to determine eligibility for early intervention services under Part C of IDEA. The inquirer also sought guidance on the applicable evaluation timelines and required protocols.
In answering the writer’s questions, OSEP explains in concise detail what the IDEA requires. Included in the discussion is the need for parental consent before evaluating a child suspected of having a disability or developmental delay, what that evaluation must involve (including a family-directed assessment to identify the family’s resources, priorities, and concerns and the supports and services necessary), andhow each state’s policies are a factor to be considered. The letter also answers questions such as:
May a previous hearing screening (such as a newborn hearing screening outcome or a hearing screening result provided by an Early Head Start program or a health care provider) meet the Part C evaluation requirements?
How can Part C programs ensure that a hearing screening or evaluation is completed in a timely manner when a child is determined to be eligible for Part C services based on an established condition?
If an initial evaluation has begun and the child requires treatment to resolve any temporary medical conditions before the hearing evaluation can be completed, how should Part C programs ensure that the child remains actively in the eligibility determination process if the hearing evaluation requires more than 45 days to complete?
The 4-page Dear Colleague letter is available in PDF, at: