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Toolkit for Families of Children with Special Healthcare Needs - Hearing Loss

Tip 4: Consider using decision tools

What We Learned in this Project
• Families of CYSHCNs, including children with hearing loss, frequently face difficult decisions regarding their child’s management.
• Families desire input from their providers about these decisions, but most families want to make final decisions themselves, based on their child’s individual circumstances and their unique family situation.
• Many families are interested in accessing tools that can help them with this process of family-centered decision-making.

What We Did
• One such tool is the Ottawa Decision Guide.
• We tested the use of this guide with families of children with hearing loss, and families applied the guide to decisions they were facing e.g. which communication modality their child should adopt, or whether or not to consider cochlear implantation.
• This version of the Ottawa Decision Guide from the CDC outlines the possible uses of the guide for parents of children with hearing loss. 

Questions to Ask Yourselves
• Have we ever thought about ‘how’ we make decisions? Not just ‘what’ the decisions are we need to make
• Have we thought about these questions:
• What decisions need to be made?
• Why do we even have to talk about the process?
• Who makes the decisions?
• When do we make these decisions, how soon is too soon?
• Where do families go to get information?
• How do people make decisions?
• Do we have a process for decision- making?
• Have we ever used any tools available to help with difficult decisions?

Be Proactive
Paying attention to the process of decision-making leads to:
• Improved and more thoughtful decisions
• Self awareness of our own unique style of processing
• Better understanding of other’s beliefs
• Increased scrutiny of presented information
• More thorough exploration of all angles of a problem or its solution

We recommend you check out the Ottawa Decision Guide:
• Go through the guide with the professionals in your lives, other families of children who are deaf/hard of hearing, and deaf and hard of hearing adult mentors.
• Let us know if you find the Ottawa Decision Guide and/or the Communication Decision Guide useful.

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