What to do if your baby is deaf or hard of hearing

Help and support are available for your family.

Table of Contents

Early Intervention services

Early intervention is available at no cost to families. Families can enroll their children directly; a referral is not needed.

Additional Resources

MCDHH Children’s Specialists

MCDHH Children’s Specialists. MCDHH provides one on one help to families with children identified as deaf or hard of hearing. Connect with the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to better understand how hearing loss might affect development and review options for services and supports to your family. Children’s Specialists are available to your family starting at birth. They can provide guidance and support during times of transition and work closely with early intervention programs and school districts.

Voice: (617) 740-1600
TTY (617) 740-1700
Video Phone: (617) 326-7546

Sign language resources

There are many resources available to help your child and your family learn sign language.  Early Intervention Parent Infant Programs can provide sign language instruction.  Other in person and on line options are also available.

Family Sign Language Program

Children enrolled in Early Intervention who are deaf or hard of hearing can receive sign language instruction for free.  The Family Sign Language Program will send a deaf or hard of hearing tutor into the family’s home once a week to work with the family. The goal of this program is to introduce family members to Sign Language, enabling them to communicate with their child at the earliest age possible.

Families will receive a total of 20 weeks of instruction tailored specifically to them. The first 10 weeks are provided in the family’s home; the second 10 weeks may be in the home, online, or in a group setting with other families. Classes will be scheduled at a time convenient for the family.

Sign It ASL

Sign It ASL is a new, free online curriculum for learning American Sign Language (ASL). The instruction is done by professional actors (both deaf and hearing) who are fluent in ASL and is highly interactive, entertaining, and engaging. You can complete the lessons at your own pace. Built-in quizzes provide feedback about how well you are learning the material, and there is ample opportunity for practice.

Shared Reading Program

The Shared Reading Program is designed to teach parents and care givers how to read to their deaf and hard of hearing children, using American Sign Language (ASL). Tutors also provide strategies to share books most effectively.  Instruction is provided by experienced Deaf tutors and there is a new book every month. This event is held in ASL, Spanish and English with interpretation available throughout. All printed materials are in both English and Spanish as well.

Materials for families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing

Outcomes of Children with Hearing Loss Study

The Outcomes of Children with Hearing Loss (OCHL) study looked at the hearing, speech, language, and psychosocial outcomes of children who are hard of hearing and access to early intervention. The OCHL study was funded by the National Institutes of Health. The OCHL study focused on examining the impact of newborn hearing screening, early intervention, and advances in hearing technology on a wide range of developmental outcomes for children who are hard of hearing. A summary of findings for parents can be found here.



(617) 994-9822


250 Washington St.
Boston, MA 02108