For New Parents - You and Your Baby
Caring for an infant who has both a hearing loss and visual impairment can be a challenging experience. It is our hope that the information on this page will connect you to helpful resources and needed expertise and that the information that you will find on the NCDB website can help you in adjusting to life with your new baby. Here are a few things that are important in the beginning and will remain important as your child grows.
As a parent and family member, you are the most significant and valuable person in your baby's life. Your baby will come to know you by your touch. Touch is the beginning of communication and the starting point for shaping your child's learning and development. Touching helps your child to know that you are there and that you are paying attention. Touch is essential to bonding and will develop the attachment that you and your baby have to each other. This article describes The Importance of Touch in Parent-Infant Bonding.
Holding and touching your infant is the foundation for communication. Along the way you will discover responses and cues that expand communication. Look here for ways to start with communication and the For Families section of the website offers a number of parent perspectives about this important issue. All infants and children are affected by the quality of interactions that they experience with their parents and other caregivers. Harmonious Interactions describes the importance of teaching families the techniques to create and maintain high-quality interactions with children who are deaf-blind.
Early Intervention services during infancy and early childhood provide critical opportunities to influence the development of children who are deaf-blind. What are some of the things that service providers can do to make this a quality experience for families? Read Home Visits with Families and Their Infants Who Are Deaf-Blind
Finding Resources in Your State
It may be that your local medical and service personnel have had little or no experience with a baby who is deaf-blind, but there are families and service providers across the country who do have experience. Each state has a state deaf-blind project that can help to direct or locate services and provide support. Your state deaf-blind project personnel will know if there are experienced pediatricians, medical facilities, early intervention programs or other expertise in your geographic area. They may be able to provide training to you and to those who are working with your baby. Find the Deaf-Blind Project in your state and contact them.
Most state deaf-blind projects have a Family Specialist on staff. What can a family specialist offer?
Ask your state project about Project Sparkle Project SPARKLE combines DVD technology and the Internet to make information specific to families of children who are deaf-blind available in their homes to be used at their convenience. It also gives them the opportunity to network with other families all over the country.
For many years, families of children who are deaf-blind have come together to support each other and to focus on the unique needs of their children. The National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB) is a national organization that can offer support to families. Your state deaf-blind project may also have family weekends or support family groups. Connecting with other families who have similar situations and experiences can provide a great many benefits. Find advice and stories from other families on the For Families section of this website.
The federal government has a history of support to children who are deaf-blind. The National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB), brings together the resources of three organizations that have long histories of expertise in the field of deaf-blindness to provide national technical assistance, information dissemination and personnel training. As a result, you have, at your fingertips, the most comprehensive collection of articles, books, information and resources on the topic of deaf-blindness. We have professional staff available to help you to find exactly what you need.
We look forward to serving you.
The Staff @ NCDB