An Integrative Review of Current Practice Models and/or Process of Family-Centered Early Intervention for Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Ntsako P. Maluleke*, Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Amisha Kanji

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past few decades, there has been an increasing shift toward emphasizing the importance of the child's family taking an active role in the habilitation process through family-centered early intervention (FCEI) programs. Accordingly, the Health Professions Council of South Africa recommends that early intervention services following confirmation of hearing loss must be family-centered within a community-based model of service delivery that is culturally congruent. The aim of this study was to explore and document current evidence reflecting trends in FCEI for children who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) by identifying and describing current practice models and/or processes of FCEI for these children. This study describes our first steps in formulating a framework for FCEI for children who are DHH in South Africa. An integrative literature review was conducted. Sage, Science Direct, PubMed, and Google Scholar databases were searched for studies published in English between January 2009 and January 2019 reporting on FCEI programs for children who are DHH. Studies that focused on the following were excluded from the study: speech and language outcomes of children, youth, and adults who are DHH; education for children who are DHH; universal newborn hearing screening; professionals' roles in early hearing detection and intervention; diagnosis of hearing loss; and sign language. Kappa statistics were performed to determine agreement between reviewers. Twenty-two studies were included in the review. Cohen's kappa revealed a substantial agreement (κ = 0.8) between reviewers for data extraction and synthesis in terms of the articles that met the criteria for inclusion in the review. Findings were discussed under 5 themes: caregiver involvement; caregiver coaching/information sharing; caregiver satisfaction; challenges with FCEI; and telehealth. Generally, there is sufficient evidence for FCEI, with caregivers indicating the need for full involvement in their children's care. Methods of caregiver involvement involving caregiver coaching/information sharing need to be culturally and linguistically appropriate, with sensitivities around time and manner. This increases caregiver satisfaction with intervention programs and improves outcomes for children who are DHH. Challenges identified by the studies raise implications for early hearing detection and intervention programs, as well as Departments of Health and Social Welfare. These included logistical challenges, professional-related challenges, and caregiver-related challenges. Various aspects of FCEI have been reported in the review. Findings of these studies have significant implications for the formulation of quality FCEI programs to ensure contextually relevant and contextually responsive care of children who are DHH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-71
Number of pages13
JournalFamily and Community Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • FCEI
  • deaf or hard of hearing
  • early hearing detection and intervention
  • early intervention


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