Children use their five senses of sound, sight, touch, smell, and taste to experience the world as they learn and grow. The term “sensory impairments” encompasses:
- Hearing loss including deafness;
- Visual impairment including blindness and cortical visual impairment (CVI);
- Dual sensory impairment (also referred to as deaf blindness), which is a combination of hearing loss and visual impairment; and
- Speech and language impairment, which excludes language delay.
Sensory processing (originally called “sensory integration dysfunction” or SID) refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses.
Consider these options to assist your child:
- Request a special education evaluation through your child’s school. Your child may be eligible for an Individualized Education Program or a Section 504 Plan.
- Discuss your concerns with your child’s pediatrician or other knowledgeable professional.
- Ask your child’s school to explore options for Assistive Technology.
- Contact Nine East Network at (802) 229-0100 or firstname.lastname@example.org if your family or your child’s school need help or support with your child’s hearing loss. Nine East Network operates Vermont’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program.
- Contact the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (VABVI) to learn more about the free training, services, and support they offer to Vermonters who are visually impaired. VABVI serves hundreds of children from birth to age 22 and adults age 55 and over. Read the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs memo: Eligibility Determinations for Children Suspected of Having a Visual Impairment Including Blindness under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
- Contact the Vermont Sensory Access Project at (802) 656-1120 if your child has a dual sensory impairment of vision and hearing.
- The National Family Association of Deaf and Blind has many helpful resources.
- Check out the Vermont chapter of Hands & Voices — a parent-driven organization that supports families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing, without bias as to communication modes or methodology.
- Call us if you would like to talk with another parent. We offer at no cost to you, 1:1 parent matches in Vermont and nationally through Parent to Parent USA.