There are three provincial "specialized" centres for BC families with young children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
These centres offer opportunities for family involvement with:
Sign language services are available through BC Family Hearing Resource Society, Deaf Children’s Society of BC, Starbright Child Development Centre and Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre.
- speech language pathologists
- teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing
- sign language instructors
- listening and spoken language specialists
We encourage you to explore all opportunities available to make informed decisions about which services and supports you would like for your child and family.
Your BC Early Hearing Program Service Coordinator may also suggest coordinating with other service providers involved in your community or provincially.
Families living in the Lower Mainland usually are involved with services from a specialized centre in their home and/or at the center. If their baby is also involved with additional services at a community child development centre, a specialized agency may work in consultation with these other recommended services. Parents may contact specialized centres about their services any time. A BC Early Hearing Program Service Coordinator may also provide assistance.
For families outside the Lower Mainland (or further east in the Upper Fraser Valley area), the primary provider may be a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) working for Health or for a Community agency.
Families may contact specialized agencies to find out current information on what is available for their family and community.
Consultation and in-person visits on an outreach basis for those families and community service providers may be recommended. Involvement of specialized agency services and coordination with community based services meets international best practice standards for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. A BC Early Hearing Program Service Coordinator can also offer assistance with recommended services and next steps.
A BC Early Hearing Program Service Coordinator is available to help you monitor your baby's early communication, speech, and language needs in some cases. For example, monitoring may be recommended when your baby has a mild to moderate level unilateral hearing loss. Service Coordinators are Speech-Language Pathologists with expertise in early communication development, and connect with parents by phone and email.