Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program (May 2014)

All babies in the RMI are now screened for deafness and hearing loss prior to discharge from the hospital.  If the baby does have hearing loss, deaf education starts right away!  The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program is run by Nancy Rushmer and Chinilla Pedro, part of the Pacific Outreach Initiative from the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawaii.  The Ambassador joined Ms. Rushmer and Ms. Pedro on two home visits in Majuro and thanks the Centers for Disease Control for funding these important programs.  Nancy and Chinilla remind parents that there is a Deaf Center in Majuro with three excellent teachers and students aged five to 21.  They credit Education Minister Hilda Heine and Minister of Health Phillip Muller for the RMI’s success as a leader in deaf and blind education and early intervention projects in the Pacific.  Another part of Ms. Rushmer’s and Ms. Pedro’s mission is to find families who need special education services.  Their home visits have resulted in new students for special education classes.  Children who had previously relied on “home signs,” are finding a rich new world with a fuller vocabulary, allowing them to communicate more fully with their family and participate more fully in school.  Embassy staffers also learned some basic signs, like “Iakwe,” “how are you?” and “outstanding!”  Deaf World Teach Volunteers from the United States are also extremely important partners in the Pacific.  The Embassy thanks all of these educators for their great work.