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The Delaware Newborn Screening Program (NSP) is a program intended to identify newborn babies with one of a number of rare disorders. Babies with these disorders may appear well at birth. Most of these disorders, if not identified and treated soon after birth, can result in developmental delay, substantial cognitive disability, serious medical problems, or even death.
Delaware Early Hearing Detection Intervention (EHDI) program works to ensure that families of babies and children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) receive appropriate and timely services. These services include hearing screening, diagnosis, Early Intervention (EI) and parent-to-parent support, provided through coordinated systems of care. It is important to identify a baby's hearing level as early as possible so that families can figure out the best way to communicate with them. Hearing screening is the first step in finding out if a child is deaf or hard of hearing.
Delaware law mandates that all babies be screened prior to hospital discharge. Delaware EHDI follows the 2019 Joint Committee on Infant Hearing's Position Statement and national benchmarks for hearing screening no later than 1 month of age, diagnosis no later than 3 months of age, and for infants who did not pass the screening, and those who were diagnosed as Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) be referred to early intervention by 6 months of age. Families will also receive referrals for parent-to-parent support to link you to services to provide support and guidance and help you navigate through the coming months. The parent support group also can make referrals to connect families with a Deaf Mentor to provide families with opportunities to learn sign vocabulary and American Sign Language. Families are matched with an adult Deaf Mentor to support their child's communication and language. Early involvement can help these children meet age-appropriate language, social, and developmental milestones to optimize language, literacy, cognitive, social, and emotional development.
Newborn screening, together with rapid confirmatory diagnosis and treatment prevents cognitive delay, illness, and death in newborns. It also saves millions of dollars in treatment, home, and institutional cost.
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