Miss Kat is attending a literacy camp for deaf elementary school students this week. She is loving it! It is fantasy themed and they are talking about dragons and knights and all that cool stuff. She is having a blast.
Well, the camp is being held at a local university that has a Teacher of the Deaf program, and we had never been to the campus before. While I was dropping Miss Kat off the other day, I saw this poster on the wall. It was a poster presentation that had been at the most recent EHDI conference. It was about minority children and their access to cochlear implants and early intervention. What I read was shocking to me!
First, it said that 35% of US kids are on Medicaid. Ok, that isn't particularly news to me. But then it said that only 13% of the kids on Medicaid get audiological services WHEN THEY ARE NEEDED! So, we aren't talking about the entire group, just the kids who have been referred for some reason. Of the reffered kids, only 13% are seen by an audiologist! WHAT?! Why?? I happen to know that audiological services are covered by Medicaid, so what is preventing the follow up?
The study said that 49% of children diagnosised with a hearing loss are "non-white", with the Hispanic children being 24.5% and African American children being 15.4% (uh, but how many are undiagnosed since they are being seen by audiologists?)
It also said that (presumely becaue of the language barrier) the majority of Hispanic familes are given information about only one mode of communication and are rarely given information about cochlear implants.
Next was the most information that was most shocking to me. It said that European American children receive cochlear implants at a rate of three times more often than Hispanic American children and 10 times the rate of African American kids! It also said that African American children, on average, wear their devices "far fewer" hours than white children....WOW...so this begs the question....WHY???