Early years support will be provided by HAST's peripatetic team following receipt of an initial referral, which will come via the young person's audiology clinic using a HAST proforma.  Support is provided for home, pre-school and nursery provisions.  This will be provided for unilateral and bilateral hearing impairments, and conductive and sensorineural hearing losses.

A Teacher of the Deaf specialising in pre-school HI support will be assigned, who will make contact with the child's parents/carers, arranging a visit at a mutually convenient time, incorporating NDCS/MCHAAS guidance.  Depending on the level of impairment, a decision will be taken as to the appropriate support provided; this will use the NatSIP guidance alongside professional judgement.  Support can range from weekly visits, provided by a qualified nursery nurse specialising in HI, working alongside the Teacher of the Deaf, to less frequent visits.  Support will be provided flexibly reflecting individual need; hence if an increase in visits is required, for example following cochlear implantation, support can increase to reflect this.  This can include accompanying the parents/carers to audiological and/or cochlear implant clinic appointments.

HAST has a pre-school parent group at Toddington St George, where parents/carers and their children can meet informally.  This is facilitated by HAST staff, but the agenda for these gatherings is decided by the parents/carers, as is the frequency of meetings.

Teachers of the Deaf will attend audiology appointments whenever possible.  HAST's educational audiologist supports Bedford Hospital's audiology clinic on a regular timetabled basis.  Appointments are arranged by the hospital to ensure that Central Bedfordshire students are offered appointments within this clinic to provide a link between audiology and education.  Clinical audiologists are able to contact HAST directly when a new child is identified through the newborn hearing screening programme.  The referral will be followed up within the recommended timescale of 24 hours.