Ms Anita Condon1, Ms Lauren McHugh1
1Healthy Hearing Program, Children’s Health Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
The Queensland Minimum Standards of Practice: Early intervention for children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and their families were released in 2015 with the aim of strengthening the quality of early intervention services for children who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH). To support early intervention services to provide a consistent approach to assessment, the Communication Assessment Protocol was developed. The Communication Assessment Protocol provides Speech Pathologists with guidelines for assessing the diverse range of children who are DHH, and details the assessments to be used for each age-range, under each assessment domain.
Using the Minimum Standards, The Healthy Hearing – Early Intervention Working Group (EIWG) determined requirements for the assessment protocol. The best available evidence and the clinical expertise of the EIWG was used to compile the guidelines, including the assessments used in the protocol. Standardised and non-standardised assessments were included, with strategies for assessing spoken language or Auslan users or a combination of these. Strategies to ensure appropriate and valid assessment of the diverse group of children who are DHH and their families were included.
The Communication Assessment Protocol:
- provides a clear protocol for a standardised approach to assessment for children from 0 to 6 years.
- provides evidence-based guidelines for the diverse range of children who are DHH.
- supports services to comply with the Minimum Standards of Practice.
The Communication Assessment Protocol has been developed for Speech Pathologists in Queensland to guide assessment and monitoring of children who are DHH. In the future, the impact of the assessment protocol will be measured against services’ ability to meet the Minimum Standards of Practice.
Anita Condon (B.Sp.Path., CHIA) is a Speech Pathologist with 20 years’ experience. She has spent the past 12 years working with children of all ages in the tertiary hospital setting including the Childhood Hearing Clinic, and the Hearing Implant and Cleft Palate/Craniofacial teams. Anita is currently working with the Healthy Hearing program to develop, manage and implement paediatric speech pathology initiatives that are in line with the strategic direction of the Statewide Healthy Hearing Program. She has recently become a Certified Health Informatician Australasia.