Presentation - ECV2022-285
Working together to develop the Early Childhood Hearing and talking Observations (ECHO) checklist with and for early childhood educators
Isabel O’Keeffe, National Acoustic Laboratories, Australia (email@example.com)
Sanna Hou, National Acoustic Laboratories, Australia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Michelle Saetre-Turner, Dyslexia-SPELD Foundation (email@example.com)
Carmen Kung, National Acoustic Laboratories, Australia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Background: Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are affected by chronic middle ear infections that can have long-term impacts on the development of speech, language, and listening skills. Given the consistency and frequency with which early childhood educators (ECEs) interact with children, they are uniquely placed to facilitate the early identification of possible hearing and communication difficulties. However, ECEs have said they need a simple tool to systematically pick up difficulties, like the functional listening and communication checklists used with caregivers (the Parent-evaluated Listening and Understanding Measure (PLUM) and Hearing and Talking Scale (HATS)).
Aim: We aimed to address this need by co-developing an observational checklist with ECEs to enable them to: (1) identify children with possible listening or communication difficulties; (2) facilitate conversations with caregivers about these possible difficulties; and (3) monitor children’s progress over time.
Method: Researchers at the National Acoustic Laboratories and the University of Newcastle worked with ECEs at the Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation early learning centres to co-develop a prototype of the Early Childhood Hearing and Talking Observation (ECHO) checklist. Two co-designed workshops were conducted with six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ECEs. They then trialled the ECHO prototype during their day-to-day work, providing verbal feedback on its ease of use and feasibility.
Results and Conclusion: In feedback after the trial, ECEs indicated that the ECHO checklist was easy to use and provided useful information to discuss concerns about children’s possible hearing and communication difficulties with colleagues and caregivers, complementing the PLUM and HATS tools. Further research and co-development are required to ensure that ECHO can assist ECEs across the sector with the early identification of possible hearing and communication difficulties (and potential associated ear disease) in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
Implications for children and families: The ECHO checklist will help you know how your children are going with their hearing and communication, identify any difficulties, and get support from your ECEs and other services.
Implications for practitioners: The ECHO checklist can help you track the listening and communication development of your students, and identify potential difficulties so that you can provide support and advice to your students and their families and refer to other services where appropriate.
Funding: Centre of Research Excellence in Ear and Hearing Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
Key words: professionals’ voices, Indigenous voices, communication, health, community services, vulnerable communities, wellbeing
This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: