Advocating for Your Child with Hearing Loss in the Classroom

Advocating for Your Child with Hearing Loss in the Classroom

By now, the new school year is in full swing.  And while it might have started with newly made memories of a great summer, it may also bring new challenges—a new classroom, a new teacher, a new setting.  All parents want the same thing for their children—to be safe, healthy, happy and successful.  But the latter can be more challenging in the educational setting for children with hearing loss of any level.  So, as a parent, how do you ensure that your child with hearing loss succeeds in the classroom?

  1. Understand the impact of hearing loss on learning, and how to manipulate the classroom on your child’s behalf.  Hearing loss, even a minimal degree, can have a significant impact on learning.  Request preferential seating for your child.  Sitting closer to the teacher will help improve the signal-to-noise ratio (or how loud the teacher’s voice is relative to background noises).  This will help make listening and learning easier.  Work with your child’s teacher(s) to minimize background noises.  Your child should be positioned away from noise sources, such as HVAC systems, heaters, windows if there tends to be a lot of external noises like traffic or the playground.  Being informed on acoustics and noise management is also helpful.  
     
  2. Work closely with your child’s team in the development and updating of his/her IEP (Individual Educational Plan).  Any child with special needs (ie: ADHD, autism, hearing loss) is a great candidate for an IEP, which is uniquely developed for each child with goals for progress during the school year.  It is important to know that the IEP should be updated every 6 months. 
     
  3. Keep the school, teachers, and educational audiologist informed of the hearing loss. Provide copies of updated hearing tests and the clinical audiologist’s recommendations.
     
  4. Be a resource for your child’s educational team at school when appropriate. Provide articles, websites, and other references for information on working with children with hearing loss to those who may not have the experience.  For example, teachers with no experience working with children with hearing loss may not realize that a beard makes reading lips more difficult or that repetition of the message, sometimes in multimodal ways, can help children with hearing loss follow along. 

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