The National Audiology Review is inviting submissions from parents & carers of deaf children and service users, before March 19, 2010. This feedback is from a mother of a 4 year old boy who was diagnosed as being profoundly deaf at 14 months old.
1. Newborn Hearing Screening:
Why do babies not automatically have hearing tests at birth? The earlier a diagnosis is, the sooner options can be considered and actions taken. The child can be fitted with the right hearing aids and have access to speech and language services. In our situation the child had to wait until 14 months to be diagnosed and lost out on vital months of intervention.
2. Hearing Aid Moulds:
The delivery of hearing moulds is severely delayed at times. Organisations such as Audi Labs can dispatch an order within days but with the HSE it can take months and in the above situation it took 3 months. Kids are constantly growing and these moulds need changing regularly. What is the point in waiting 3 months when the child could have grown out of that size by the time it arrives? Turnaround times need to be assessed.
3. Staff Replacement:
Where a doctor needs to be replaced either temporarily or permanently the HSE should move faster. In one case, it took 18 months to replace a doctor. This is not acceptable when kids need the services now and 18 months can make a big difference to their development.
4. Lack of Information Packs: The HSE do not supply a parents’ information pack on deafness. Parents have to do their own research and learn from other parents, the internet and resource organizations.
5. Limited clinic hours:
The need for appointments at Hearing Services of the HSE in North Great Georges St. There is currently no process for regular appointments. Added to this the need for longer clinic hours. Closing at lunch time and again at 4pm leaves little time for working parents.
6. ISL tutor payment scheme:
Currently the payment goes from the Department of Education to the parent to the tutor. Is there any reason why the tutor cannot deal directly with the department?
7. Funding of Cochlear Implant Programme:
The Beaumont Hospital Cochlear Implant Programme is under funded. The sooner a child is fitted with an implant the better their speech & language progress will be.
8. Shortage of Visiting Teachers:
The visiting teacher for the deaf service is under-resourced, which gives teachers a very large caseload and means they sometimes have to miss a weekly appointment. As a home-school liason, their role is under-valued.
As a note to other parents this mother says, “we find most people we have dealt with in all the services to be very helpful, which would indicate that they are doing as best they can either under heavy workloads, possible unnecessary red tape and probable under funding. If this feedback helps improve the services provided, then that would be great”.
To have your say, email your opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 19.