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EHDItion Colorado Newsletter Logo

Jan/Feb 2024

Volume 4 | Issue 4

en español


From the Director | Announcements & Events | Family-to-Family Child Language Outcomes | Intervener Program | CDPHE Corner 

From the Director

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Arlene sits at a small cafe table drinking espresso near a window smiling with sunlight on her face

New Year’s Greetings to all! I hope your holidays were fulfilling and you are primed to launch into another year. Welcome 2024!

I want to start by sharing some parting words as I reflect on the (almost) four years I have been your EHDI Director. First, I want to share that it was a dream come true when Cliff Moers and Katie Cue asked me, in 2019, to be the COEHDI Director. It was not in my professional plan at that time as I was happily engaged at CU-Boulder and with activities associated with The Keystone Project. But, the invitation to be back with EHDI was compelling; and a fulfilling role it has been. I was driven by the goals of the current grant – to refresh our system, to reduce silos, and to increase collaboration among agencies. By all accounts, and we have asked many of you, we have accomplished this lofty goal. 

I want to recognize some essential stakeholders in this endeavor - Heather Abraham, Cliff Moers, Katie Cue, Christy Scott, Rickey Tolliver, Leanne Glenn, and Ashley Renslow. There are scores of others – too many to name. But, I know you know who you are. And I applaud your collaborative efforts.


With the upcoming grant cycle, which will run from April 2024 – March 2029, there are limited funds for EHDI staff. So, I will return to the work I was doing before 2020 (and before COVID!) on the national and international stages. I will eagerly watch while the COEHDI system addresses our federal funder’s new priorities. I believe these new priorities bring new possibilities. It will be great!

~ Arlene Stredler-Brown, PhD, CCC-SLP, director of COEHDI

Announcements & Events

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Colorado Department of Early Childhood Newsletter

  • The new Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) publishes a monthly newsletter. Check out their recent publications in their Newsletter Archive.

Mark Your Calendar

All COEHDI Alliance, task force, and related stakeholder meetings will be listed here. If you would like your meetings included in our monthly newsletter, contact: [email protected]

Event calendar

Family-to-Family Support

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The Ascent Program

Ascent Program flyer featuring information from this article

The Ascent Program offers an opportunity for families of young deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind (DHHDB) children to connect with DHHDB adults. This is especially meaningful as most infants and toddlers who are DHHDB are the only DHHDB person in the family. The Ascent Program gives families an opportunity to interact with DHHDB adults. In those interactions, DHHDB adults have the opportunity to share their positive perspectives as well as their lived experiences of being deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind. These lived experiences might include, but are not limited to: 

  • Experiences growing up as a DHHDB person 
  • Educational experiences 
  • Work/Career experiences 
  • Experiences communicating with others 
  • Perspectives on advocacy 
  • Support and guidance accessing resources 
  • Development of a healthy DHHDB identity 

Connecting with a DHHDB adult can support family members as they look to their child’s future and imagine possibilities. Parents and caregivers often have questions that can be best answered by DHHDB adults who have lived with the experience of being deaf or hard of hearing. While some parents may naturally focus on what is “missing” or what their child is unable to do, due to the impact of being deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind, DHHDB adults can offer a positive perspective and optimism, as they build relationships with families. In addition, DHHDB adults can provide support to parents and caregivers as they bond with their DHHDB child. 

Do you know families who might benefit from the support of the Ascent Program? Please share the attached flyer (available in English & Spanish) with families. It is easy to request a visit from a DHHDB adult at no cost to the family. Visit the Ascent Program webpage for more information.

Child Language Outcomes

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The New Frontier

We work hard to meet the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing’s goal of 1-3-6 benchmarks. We’ve accomplished a lot to screen children by one month of age, identify those who are deaf or hard of hearing by three months of age, and start early intervention by six months of age. It’s a tall order; all states are striving to meet these benchmarks and share common issues in doing so. I think our accomplishments are notable.


Our funder is now asking us to look at what we accomplish through a different lens: child language outcomes. How insightful, I think, for our federal funder, to be looking at the success of what we do by investigating the language outcomes of the little ones we serve.


Colorado secured a supplemental grant to start investigating child language outcomes in the remaining months of this grant year. Through March 31, 2024, we will be collaborating with Dr. Allison Sedey at CU-Boulder. Allison and her team maintain a robust database of child language outcomes and will partner with COEHDI to investigate any health disparities that may limit children from reaching the goal of age-appropriate language outcomes. For instance, how do language outcomes of children living in rural areas compare to children living in urban areas? Or, what might be the impact of early (six months), earlier (before six months), and/or a later (after six months) start of early intervention? These questions, and more, will be proposed for analysis.  


I am hopeful that any disparities we discover will lead to enhancements in our system that will, in turn, improve the outcomes of the children we serve. Stay tuned for more information about this project and any other grant activities that involve the investigation of child language outcomes.

Soon to be launched

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Community Intervener Program

When possible, the Colorado Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf Blind (CCDHHDB) will operate a new program called the Community Intervener Program. It is a program wherein interveners work with children who are deafblind that have additional disabilities to facilitate critical connections between the child and the child’s family, community, and environment. This program is another resource for families of the birth to three population that have children who are deafblind.

Two smiling women wearing navy shirts hold an Award plaque and a glass award statue.

Image Description: Kiera Zink (left) and Elli Streifer (right) accept the 2023 Susan J. Elliot Award on behalf of Family Voices, Colorado at the CCDHHDB quarterly meeting in September, 2023.

This program was made possible by Family Voices Colorado. They piloted the program using various funding sources, including CCDHHDB’s grants, during the past two years. Family Voices Colorado started the program with a part-time manager and interveners who work closely with deafblind children outside of school. The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) has an intervener program available for deafblind children who are in school, however, the CDE program is not available for activities outside of school. Family Voices Colorado believed that constant exposure to the world at large (e.g., outside of the home and school environments) is essential to their children’s whole-being development and learning.

In January 2023, this organization introduced legislation (House Bill 23-1067) to convert the pilot program to a permanent program that is housed within CCDHHDB. This bill was signed into law by Governor Polis on May 15, 2023. As written, the law anticipates the commission will launch this program soon.  

A transition of the program from Family Voices Colorado to the Commission is underway. Family Voices Colorado will continue to operate the program until the program is officially launched by CCDHHDB. A manager to operate the program will be hired. It is anticipated that a posting regarding this position will be made available soon.  

For Interveners

The interveners who are interested in signing up as vendors with the state can begin paperwork prior to the launching of the program. Contact CCDHHDB at [email protected] or 720-457-3679 if you are interested. 

For Families with DB Children

Families with deafblind children are welcome to reach out to the Commission staff using the email address above. You can be added to the list while we are in the process of filling the manager position.

CDPHE Corner

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment logo
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HIDS Newsletters for end of 2023

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment publishes a monthly bulletin on their Health Informatics Data System. Check out their archives under the HIDS User Section.

Smiling young woman with long brown hair wearing a dark purple windbreaker poses outdoors on a hiking trail


Questions about HIDS Newborn Hearing info, contact:

Leanne Glenn, MA 

Newborn Hearing Screening Coordinator

Colorado Responds to Children with Special Needs

Newborn hearing screening provider resources webpage

[email protected]


COEHDI Colorado Early Hearing Detection and Intervention logo
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