Return to site


Hard of


SKI-HI and

Deaf Mentor

· Deaf Hard of Hearing

The deaf/hard of hearing early intervention area at the SKI-HI Institute is known as "SKI-HI" and is the oldest and largest one at the Institute. SKI-HI programs are in every state as well as in some other countries (South Africa, England, Poland, a few areas in China).

The SKI-HI curriculum, early intervention and training model began in 1972. SKI-HI programming helps families learn how to promote communication and language with the child in ways that best match the child's needs. This could include the use of Auditory-Oral, Visual/Sign Communication, and ASL/English Bilingualism. How to promote the child's development in other areas including literacy, cognitive, and social-emotional development are addressed. Families are given choices, illuminated to possibilities, given information, skills and resources and are bolstered in their confidence, appreciation and love for their child, and hope for the child's future. The curriculum itself was last published in 2004, but the training is updated by staff yearly. New curricular materials and updates are being developed.

There are two main groups, professional and paraprofessional, who provide early intervention services to families of young children with hearing loss. Both are vital to the success of young deaf children. The Institute provides special training to these individuals.

The first training is for professionals who will be working with these children and their families weekly in the home using the SKI-HI Curriculum. These professionals are given training and support in all areas of SKI-HI programming. The training involves six days or two, three-day workshops.

The second training is for paraprofessionals called Deaf mentors. Through weekly home visits, these trained Deaf adults teach family members American Sign Language (ASL) and other visual communication skills, early literacy through shared reading in sign, and information about Being Deaf and Deaf Culture. The Deaf Mentor Manual and training was also developed by the SKI-HI Institute. The training is updated yearly and is three days. A new Deaf Mentor website is now available at

The early interventionist and Deaf mentor in working together make possible a Bilingual-Bicultural home environment wherein the child has access to early language and the benefits of the skills and values of both the Hearing and Deaf cultures. For more information and research on the Deaf Mentor Program, view the powerpoint below:

SKI-HI staff train state trainers in both the SKI-HI and Deaf mentor models once they have had some experience with the programs so that a state can offer their own training as needed on into the future.

For more information about these materials and training, contact Paula Pittman: or call 435/797-5600.

Trainees acting out the parts of the hearing system