OBJECTIVE : This study aims to determine the status of early intervention services provided to children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their parents/caregivers from birth to five years of age at two main state hospitals in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, based on their parents’ perceptions. METHOD : A descriptive quantitative research design was used to determine the status of early intervention
services for deaf or hard of hearing children in Saudi Arabia based on their parents’ perceptions. Semistructured interviews based on a questionnaire were conducted with 60 research participants from
two main state hospitals where early detection and intervention services are provided. A purposive sampling technique was employed. Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were performed on the data collected. RESULTS : The participants’ children were diagnosed at a substantially late age, resulting in delayed ages
for initial hearing aid fitting and enrolment in early intervention services. A significant relationship was found between the residential area of the participants and timely access to intervention services. The results indicated that participants residing in Riyadh were fitted with hearing aids and enrolled into EI services earlier than those living outside of Riyadh. The delivery of information also emerged as a weakness in the EI system for the majority of participants.
CONCLUSION : The findings of the study suggested that limited services of detection and intervention for deaf or hard of hearing children and residential area of participants are likely to be barriers to early access to intervention services. It is proposed that the benefits of UNHS accompanied by appropriate early intervention
services should be made available in all regions throughout Saudi Arabia.