The right to effective language and communication is enshrined in
Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.1
Furthermore, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child2
recognizes the right of every child to ?the highest attainable standard
of health?, to the development of ?mental and physical abilities to their
fullest potential?, to optimum socioemotional development and to the
opportunity to contribute fully to society. There is now incontrovertible
evidence to show that early identification coupled with high-quality
diagnostics and intervention can radically improve outcomes in these
and other areas for DHH children.
Traditional guidance typically refers to three components that need
to be included in an EHDI program.
? Early screening and confirmation that a child is DHH as part of a
newborn hearing screening program or as soon after birth as
? Provision of optimal amplification, such as hearing aids or
? Engagement in an early intervention program.
Early intervention, however, is too often conceptualized as
primarily the provision of amplification devices, with or without
some therapeutic professional input for the development of spoken
language. FCEI challenges this notion, emphasizing the need for
recognition of different approaches to developing language and
communication, whether spoken or signed. FCEI is important to
support the wellbeing of families and their DHH children, and
facilitates the development of effective early intervention programs
in which families themselves, and those with the lived experience
of being DHH, are involved not only in evaluating the services they
receive but also in their design and strategic development.