NECAP: EHDI Developmental Outcomes Study – Multistate Assessment

Update, July 2014: In addition to Colorado, assessments are now being conducted in Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico,  Oregon, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Agreements to conduct assessments in Arkansas and Georgia are being finalized. The results, to date, indicate that most of the children who are deaf or hard of hearing with cognitive development within the normal range are demonstrating expressive and receptive language skills within the normal range. The data indicate that some of the states that are currently participating have significantly fewer children with language quotients within the normal range. Further analysis of the characteristics of these state systems will hopefully yield information about variables that might be related to age appropriate versus significantly delayed language development. Because there are now 3000 assessments of over 1200 children in the state of Colorado and 1000 assessments of over 700 children from the other participating states, there will be evidence of the success of universal newborn hearing screening and early intervention programs.


Christine Yoshinaga-Itano, PhD, Principal Investigator, University of Colorado – Boulder.  Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) programs were instituted in the United States to provide infants and toddlers who are deaf or hard of hearing an opportunity to develop language and social/emotional skills commensurate with their cognitive potential. However, there are limited data available to determine if this public health initiative has been met. Although approximately 98% of the babies born in the United States are screened for hearing loss, adequate documentation of the longitudinal developmental outcomes of those children identified as deaf or hard of hearing does not exist. This project involves collecting and analyzing language and other developmental outcomes of children 12 months to 4 years of age who are deaf or hard of hearing enrolled in early intervention services in 15 different states. The primary goals of this project are to: 1) document longitudinal developmental outcomes in this population, 2) determine strengths and limitations in the children’s language skills, 3) identify characteristics of the child, family, and intervention program that contribute to more successful outcomes, and 4) examine intra- and inter-state variations in the knowledge and skills of early intervention providers as well as differences in the level of parent systems involvement. A pilot feasibility study has been conducted demonstrating that diverse state systems can collect a common set of developmental assessments from the families they serve. The project has been successful in small, mid-sized, and large state systems. Ten states have participated in this pilot project, four additional states have committed to joining the project, and several other states have expressed a strong interest.

The Colorado system has collected systematic assessment data for the past 20 years that has provided a basis for surveillance and quality assurance and has created a roadmap for improvements to the system. Expanding this dataset nationally will provide states with an evidence-based system for possible program modifications. Additionally, a national database will provide information about the characteristics of the most successful programs so that this information can be disseminated to other systems.