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Iowa Department of Health and Human Services

EHDI - Family Support

As a family who is learning about your child's hearing loss, we know you may be feeling many emotions. You may feel unsure, overwhelmed or other emotions related to decisions you are facing ahead. What does this mean? What should I know? Where do I even start? There is so much information to learn and knowing where to start can be confusing. We have worked with parents to develop a quick parent guide and guía para padres en español (Spanish parent guide) as welll as a more comprehensive resource guide and guía de recursos en español (Spanish resource guide). These guides will get you started on your journey and will provide guidance on next steps and resources available to your child and family related to the newly identified hearing loss.

Another valuable resource is Family Support. Family support is an informal way to connect with other families. Families are paired based on the specific need, experience or want for their child with another family or mentor. Families often feel empowered when they talk to other families who have been on a similar journey and are able to share their story and provide unbiased support. We encourage you to learn about family support resources available in Iowa to support your family's needs. It is also helpful to connect with families who have already been on this journey. Learn more about one family's journey-Trevor's Story.

Communication Options

"Our whole world has changed in such a positive way as a result of his deafness… mainly we have gained a wonderful support group and network of other deaf and hard of hearing families." – Jessie, Noah’s mom 

EHDI Family Support

The EHDI program provides family support services for children newborn to three years of age in Iowa diagnosed as deaf or hard of hearing. The needs of Iowa families vary and so do the kind of supports available. Family support is offered through two types of mentor support, each sharing valuable life experiences, acquired knowledge, and an understanding that comes from facing similar situations to families like yours. All mentors are trained in how to provide this type of support in an unbiased and supportive manner to ensure family's needs are met. Mentoring services available for families include Family Partners and Deaf or Hard of Hearing Partners. Find out more about it here in English and Español.

  • Family Partners – Family Partners are parents or caregivers that are trained to provide unbiased support for family's that are interested in support. Family Partners are matched with families to share knowledge, experience and emotional support. Family Partners complete a one-day mentoring training. To refer a family to a Family Partner, fill out the Family Partner Request Form and call, email or fax to EHDI.
  • Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) Partners - DHH Partners are Deaf or Hard of Hearing adults who are trained to be partners and role models to children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and their families. DHH Partners help increase a family's ability to successfully communicate with their deaf or hard of hearing child. They provide unbiased support and increase parent's appreciation for and understanding of American Sign Language (ASL) as well as other forms of communication, Deaf Culture, and the Deaf Community. DHH Partners assist in supporting the child's language development, communication, and self-identity through interaction with a DHH adult. To refer a family to a DHH Partner, fill out the DHH Partner Request Form and email or fax to the EHDI program.

If you are interested in family support for your family or a family you serve, please contact the EHDI program:

"Deafness is not about hearing; Deafness is about communication." -Paul W. Ogden


EHDI offers FREE mentor trainings. If you, or someone you know, is interested in the mentor roles mentioned above please register for a training of your choice. You would be supporting and listening to other families, sharing life experiences and learning more about mentoring.

Additional Family Support Resources

A.G. Bell

A.G. Bell helps families, health care providers and education professionals understand childhood hearing loss and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. Through advocacy, education, research and financial aid, A.G. Bell helps to ensure that every child and adult with hearing loss has the opportunity to listen, talk and thrive in mainstream society.

ASK Family Resource Center

ASK stands for "Access for Special Kids." The ASK Family Resource Center is a "one-stop-shop" for children and adults with disabilities and their families. Through its member organizations, the Center provides a broad range of information, advocacy, support, training, and direct services.

Iowa Hands & Voices

Iowa Hands & Voices is a parent-driven, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. They are non-biased about communication methodologies and believe that families will make the best choices for their child if they have access to good information and support. Their membership includes families who communicate manually and/or orally.

What is Early ACCESS?