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The Institute for Parents of Preschool Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing



The Institute for Parents of Preschool Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing is canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are sorry to announce that this year's Institute for Parents of Preschool Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing is canceled. This decision follows the Governor's executive orders to keep schools closed, keep people home, maintain social distancing and promote public health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Although we cannot gather in person, parents can still access presentations from the Institute's experts. As a supporter of the Institute, the University of Illinois at Chicago's Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) has made these presentations available online so they can benefit more families of children with hearing loss.

Videos on each topic are posted below for your convenience. Parents and caregivers can watch each presentation at their own pace in the comfort of their own home. We will announce details for next year's Institute after organizers determine a date.

The Institute for Parents of Preschool Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, often also known as Institute, is traditionally held the second week of June. The Institute is for families of children, age 6 months to 5 years with moderate, severe or profound hearing loss. This one week (Sun- Fri)  program including meals and housing is provided at NO charge to families. The Institute brings together families from all over the state. At the Institute, families spend 5 days with the best staff in the field of deafness from all over the state. The staff gives information needed to help families make choices along the path of raising a child with a hearing loss.

Topics for the week cover:

  • Language development
  • Communication options
  • Reading an audiogram and learning about the reports from the audiologist
  • Hearing aids and cochlear implants
  • Reading to a child with a hearing loss
  • Working with a child's behavior
  • Working with the school

Children may receive audiology, psychological, speech/language, vision and educational testing. All of these are free of charge! It is a week of learning and getting to know others who are going through some of the same things.

Institute is a team effort of: Illinois Department of Human Services: Department of Rehabilitation Services, Illinois School for the Deaf and Bureau of Early Intervention; Illinois State Board of Education; University of Illinois at Chicago - Division of Specialized Care for Children; and other state and local groups for people with a hearing loss.

For more information about the Institute, contact UIC-Division of Specialized Care for Children at: 1-800-322-3722 Or email:

Please click on the links below to watch 2019 video presentations from experts in the field on a range of topics affecting children who are deaf or hard of hearing:

IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act):

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Part 2 -

This presentation focuses on what families need to know about the laws that protect their children. Participants will learn the differences between a 504 Plan and an individualized education program (IEP), how a child qualifies for a 504 Plan and an IEP, and more.


This presentation educates families on how to advocate for their child. Families will learn and understand their rights as parents and will gain knowledge and understanding of how the "system" works. Families will also learn strategies and techniques for advocating for their child.

Communication Options

This session educates families on communication options for their child. Families will learn about communication modes and the differences and similarities between different choices, including American Sign Language/English Bilingualism, Signing Exact English/Signed English, Total Communication, Cued Speech and more.


Part 1 -

Part 2 -

The main goal of this session is to educate families about hearing loss and the development of speech and language skills. Families will learn about audiology testing and process, the different communication options, rationale for early intervention, speech and language evaluation and treatments, best indicators for best outcomes and listening strategies.

Assistive Listening Devices

Families will learn about the two different types of assistive listening devices (FM, or Frequency Modulation, and DM, or Digital Modulation systems) and how they operate.


Part 1 -

Part 2 -

Families will gain a basic understanding of the Six Early Skills Predictive of Later Literacy Achievement and The Five Early Skills Moderately Predicative of Later Literacy Achievement. This session is designed to provide families with hands-on tips and activities they can do to increase their child's literacy development.


This session educates families about amplification options, including hearing aids, bone conduction devices and cochlear implants.

If you are interested in participating in the next Institute or would like more information, call us at (800) 322-3722 or email

You may also read about the 2019 Institute at .