The study aimed to describe ages at identification and initiation of early intervention (EI) services for children enrolled in centre-based EI programmes in Gauteng, as well as to describe the nature of EI services that the children received. The researchers conducted retrospective record reviews of the EI programme files. In addition, caregivers of eight children identified with hearing impairments and enrolled in centre-based EI programmes in Gauteng completed a newly constructed questionnaire. The caregiver questionnaire produced data pertaining to the child's family demographics, background information and schooling history. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data, using frequency distribution and measures of central tendency. None of the children received newborn hearing screening services, thus they were identified late following maternal suspicion of hearing impairment. Late identification of the hearing impairment resulted in suboptimal initiation of EI services. All the children received aural habilitation and/or speech–language therapy services. These findings indicate that there is a great need for the establishment of widespread early hearing detection and intervention programmes that will lead to earlier identification of infant and childhood hearing impairment and timely initiation of EI services.
- Early hearing detection
- early intervention
- hearing impairment
- universal newborn hearing screening