Support in early childhood for hearing loss

​If your child is deaf or hard of hearing, they can get extra support with:

  • early childhood intervention
  • childcare
  • kindergarten.

Getting early intervention services

Early intervention gives your child and family the support you need as early as possible.

Early intervention services provide specialist support from birth until your child starts school. They can help you strengthen your skills in areas such as:

  • engaging and communicating with your child
  • building your parenting skills
  • understanding how deafness can affect your child’s development.

When your child is diagnosed with hearing loss, you’ll get information about early intervention programs from your audiologist and maternal and child health nurse.

Early intervention programs for deaf children and their families may specialise in:

  • oral-aural (speaking and listening)
  • bilingual (spoken language and sign language).

They’re either:

  • home-based
  • centre-based
  • provided by video-conference.

The service you use depends on your family preference and if you can access a certain program.

If you live in a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) area

Apply to the National Disability Insurance Agency for early intervention support if you live in an NDIS area.

If you do not live in a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) area

Apply directly to an early intervention service provider. 

If your child is under six years old you may also be able to get support from the Better Start for Children with Disability program. The Australian Government manages this program.

New registrations for Better Start will not be available when the NDIS becomes available in your area.

Early intervention service providers

Early intervention services are available from:

Starting childcare or kindergarten

Things to consider when starting childcare or kindergarten include:

Your child has a right to enrol at their local designated mainstream government education provider. 

Support at kindergarten

Most children start kindergarten in the year before school, usually when they’re four years old. Qualified early childhood teachers deliver kindergarten programs.

Preschool field officers can work with early childhood teachers to support the access and participation of children with additional needs.

The Kindergarten Inclusion Support Program enhances the kindergarten’s ability to support children with disabilities and/or complex medical needs. This includes:

  • extra staffing support
  • specialist advice and training for teachers
  • minor building modifications.

Find out more about support for children with additional needs in early childhood.

Training for early childhood professionals

Children with additional needs training are available for professionals working with young children. This includes training about early childhood intervention and learning support, such as:

  • the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education
  • the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.