Hearing Loss at School
Research has shown that for children to make significant progress learning to listen and speak, their homes and schools must offer auditory environments that provide lots of opportunities for children to listen and use their own voices. Parents should research the public education services available in their area, as well as private school options.
To inform parents, educators, clinicians and school administrators, AG Bell published the booklet, Components of a Quality Auditory/Oral Program, and an accompanying checklist. The booklet includes guidelines which describe 11 components of an ideal program for children who are learning to use, maintain and improve all aspects of their verbal communication to the greatest extent possible. These components are summarized below:
- Obtain an Individualized Education for Your Child: A commitment to individualizing educational programming to fit the child's strengths and needs, including initial and ongoing assessment, goal-setting, and documentation of progress-all with parental involvement.
- Commit to Aggressive Audiological Management to Promote the Use of Residual Hearing: The education program, school or district will have immediate access to audiological services which must include periodic audiological testing, assurance that the student is wearing appropriate hearing aids and/or other assistive devices, teacher-parent education regarding the use of amplification, daily monitoring of hearing aids in the classroom, easy and fast access to minor repair services, and availability of batteries, loaner aids, and FM systems.
- Maximize the Development of Spoken Language: A commitment to helping children with hearing loss develop intelligible spoken language to the greatest extent possible.
- Provide Support and Guidance to Parents: A commitment to providing support to parents through constant communication from the program's leaders and staff. This should include information on all aspects of hearing loss, opportunities for parents to share feelings and experiences with other parents, and informing parents of their rights.
- Employ Superior Educational Staff: A commitment to hiring and retaining well-trained, well-supported, available staff. Teachers, audiologists and speech-language pathologists should have appropriate licensing and/or certification in their area of expertise.
- Offer Options in Educational Settings: A commitment to providing a range of available educational settings including: full-time regular class; full-time regular class with supportive services; part-time regular class/part-time special class; full-time special class in a regular school; full-time special class in a special school; residential/day school; home or hospital services.
- Adhere to IDEA: A commitment to placement in one of the above settings that is in full compliance with all of the rules and regulations set forth by state law under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
- Provide Services to Parents and Families: A commitment to providing a range of support services; examples include: (a) audiology, (b) speech-language pathology, (c) sensory integration, physical and occupational therapy, (d) counseling services for students and families; (e) behavioral management, (f) social work services, (g) academic tutoring, (h) oral interpreting, (i) note takers, (j) career counseling (k) respite child care and iI) coordinated services from other agencies, if needed.
- Offer a Curriculum Mirroring (as closely as possible) the Mainstream Classroom: If the child is not enrolled in a regular classroom, a commitment to teaching a curriculum that is similar to that presented in the regular classroom.
- Ensure an Environment that Fosters Learning: A commitment to ensuring a physical environment conducive to listening and speech reading. That environment should be quiet, acoustically favorable, well-lit and equipped with assistive listening devices.
- Select Informed and Sensitive Teachers in Mainstream Settings: If a child is in the regular classroom, a commitment to providing teachers with a thorough orientation in working with children with hearing loss, and to offering teachers with assistance from, and access to, specialists in the field.
Work with the classroom teacher to set up a supportive classroom environment for your child. You can also help ensure your child’s success in the classroom by making the teacher aware of challenging classroom situations and providing them with tips for teaching children with hearing loss. Families will want to take some extra steps for children first entering mainstream education.
Reprinted with the permission of the Alexander Graham Bell Association. © 2005 Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
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