Hearing impaired - children 0 to 5 years

Support is available to families with a baby or a young child who is diagnosed with a hearing loss. This includes referral to services and learning programs.

Diagnosed hearing impairment

All babies born in SA are screened for a hearing impairment.

Older children are usually referred for clinical assessment when their doctor or health service suspects they have a hearing impairment. If the assessment confirms this, the family will be referred to an Early Intervention Co-ordinator experienced in the education of children with a hearing loss. The coordinator will:

  • talk to the family about the impact of the child's hearing loss
  • link the family to services and organisations that will help the child develop the communication skills they need to be successful at play and at preschool.

Education support services

The Early Intervention Service has a team of qualified teachers of the deaf and speech pathologists who provide individual support in the home or early childhood settings. The level of help depends on the degree of hearing loss, other disabilities and the involvement of other services.

Families actively participate in the program, which includes:

  • teaching and learning programs
  • home visits
  • playgroups.

Teaching and learning programs

Lessons can be held either at home or at a preschool depending on the family's requirements. They include:

  • learning through speaking and listening techniques
  • use of sign language if appropriate.

Home visits

A teaching service may be offered in the family home as:

  • children learn best when they feel comfortable in their home environment
  • this is where most speech and language learning takes place
  • normal household routines can be maintained.

Resources and aids are loaned to families between visits.


Primary schools catering for hearing impaired students may provide a playgroup for children as part of their early intervention program. The playgroups provide opportunities for parents to meet other families of deaf and hearing impaired children. Talk to the school to find out if they offer a playgroup.

For more information about education support services or for a referral phone the Early Intervention Services on 8235 2871.


Department for Education Disability Policy and Programs

Telephone: 8226 0521
Email: education.dpp@sa.gov.au

Related information

On this site

Negotiated education plans for children with special needs

Other websites

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Page last updated 23 November 2022

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