Techniques That Assist Classroom Learning for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Sitting close to the teacher or other speakers, in order to optimize listening and visual clues. In a classroom where the speaker moves around the room, the student should be able to relocate as the listening demands dictate. The student and the teacher can negotiate a method so the student can do this with the least disruption possible.
A student who benefits from speech reading cannot attend to a lecture and simultaneously take notes. A notetaker is a person with typical hearing who takes classroom notes for the student; often the notetaker is another classmate with good note-taking skills. Note-taking becomes increasingly important at the middle school level.
A qualified professional who serves as a link between the speaker and the student. The oral interpreter silently mouths the words of the speaker, augmented with natural gestures to support understanding. Usually introduced at the middle school level, oral interpreters are a right for students who request them. However, the lack of trained interpreters limits availability, and the school may need to train someone to provide the service.
Cued Speech Transliterator
A qualified professional who serves as a link between the speaker and the student. The cued speech transliterator silently mouths the words of the speaker, and simultaneously uses hand shapes to cue the child as to what sounds are being spoken. Students have the right to a cued speech transliterator; however, the lack of trained transliterators limits availability. The school may need to train someone to provide the service.
Most classrooms are noisy environments that create listening difficulties for all students, especially those with hearing loss. Sometimes minor changes or additions to a classroom can reduce ambient noise and improve acoustics. Improvements include:
- Acoustic ceiling tiles
- Double-paned windows
- Installation of a lower, sound-absorbing, suspended ceiling in older, higher-ceiling classrooms
- Use of thick draperies at windows
- Elimination of background music
- Rubber tips on chair, table and desk legs
- Repair of heating/ventilation-associated noise
- Avoidance of open-plan classrooms
Encourage children with hearing loss to identify their own strengths and needs. Students who can ask for assistance when necessary and proactively seek reasonable accommodations will serve themselves well in school and their future. Teachers need to be sensitive to a student’s level of comfort with regard to self-advocacy and may need to give some children phrases or strategies to use during stressful times. Some of these include:
- "Please repeat the last part of the directions."
- "There's a lot of noise in the hallway, could you please close the door?"
- "I missed what Sam just said. Could you repeat it?"
- "It really helps me understand you better when I can see your face."
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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