Using Tele-Intervention to Provide Educational Services to Infants and Young Children Who are Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing

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Advancements in videoconferencing equipment and Internet-based tools for sharing information have resulted in widespread use of telemedicine for providing health care to people who live in remote areas. Given the limited supply of people trained to provide early-intervention services to infants and young children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, and the fact that many families who need such services live significant distances from each other and from metropolitan areas, such “teleintervention” strategies hold promise for providing early-intervention services to children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Unfortunately, little is known about the cost-effectiveness of such teleintervention services. In this article we outline the rationale for using teleintervention services for children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, describe a teleintervention program that has been serving relatively large numbers of children in Australia since 2002, and summarize what we know about the cost-effectiveness of such an approach. We conclude by summarizing the type of research needed to decide whether teleintervention should be used more frequently with children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and the potential relevance of the teleintervention approach for the development of intervention systems in the United States.

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