Host Adam Torres talks with Kristen Van Dyke, Executive Director of the Foundation for Hearing & Speech Resources (FHSR)
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Los Angeles, Calif.—Mission Matters Podcast Host Adam Torres sits down with Kristen Van Dyke, Executive Director of the Foundation for Hearing & Speech Resources (FHSR) to discuss a very important topic that is near and dear to Van Dyke and her nonprofit: Hearing loss in infants and children. Her nonprofit, FHSR, is supporting children with hearing loss and is bringing awareness to those who are searching for help.
Torres starts every podcast with the same important question during the Mission Matters Minute. He asks each guest, “What Mission Matters to you?” Van Dyke says, “Well, statistically speaking, every 1,000 children born in Illinois, two or three babies will be born with hearing loss. That’s why the Foundation for Hearing & Speech Resources encourages parents to take the crucial step toward ensuring infants’ optimal hearing health.”
Van Dyke goes on to explain that “if your baby fails their newborn hearing screening exam, that first step is to book a follow-up appointment with a local pediatric audiologist to check on your baby’s hearing within the first month of life.”
FHSR has created the 1-3-6 Hearing Loss Awareness Campaign to support parents who have questions, or need to learn more about what is expected if a child fails their first hearing screening. The nonprofit’s goal is to be a key resource for parents and to help them through the first few months of their child’s life and their hearing loss.
Van Dyke explains that hearing is an important part of a child’s development and plays a pivotal role in their learning, language and cognitive development. She says, “Studies have shown that early detection, early action produce lifelong results.” Her passion for this cause is both professional and personal. She says that her first child was born with pediatric hearing loss and underwent the cochlear implant surgery at six months of age. She joined the board of directors for FHSR when he was a baby, because she wanted to give back, and she wanted to make sure other families had access to the wonderful programs offered by the nonprofit.
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The programs offered through FHSR create a compassionate community, music programs, education support for children and parents. She says, “an educated parent is the best advocate for their child with hearing loss.” FHSR does “everything we can to wrap around that family and help place not only the child, but also the family on a path for success.”
The 1-3-6 campaign centers on the three milestones of the first month, third month and sixth month ages related appointments for a child. If the child fails the first hearing test, they will then go onto a follow-up appointment with an audiologist. If they fail the second and third follow-up hearing tests, then by three months of age, they will be enrolled in a program to obtain a diagnostic program. And then by six months of age, they should have a plan and are enrolled in early intervention programs.
Van Dyke says FHSR works with strategic partners to help communicate and create a cohesive support system, as well as awareness, for children, families and communities, so they can have the best quality of life possible. She says, “the faster you look into it, the faster you take action, the less workload it’s going to be for your child to acquire language and speech.”
FHSR has various printed resources and the FHSR.org/1-3-6 website with a lot of information and resources for families and communities, so they can find the right doctors, set up appointments and understand the process. They provide their printed resources to hospitals, churches and other community programs to create awareness of the issues of hearing loss and the importance of follow-up appointments.
Listen to the full podcast interview by Adam Torres with Kristen Van Dyke on your favorite podcast channel.