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Hearing Impairments (page 2)

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

Classroom Adaptations for Students with Hearing Impairments

Students with hearing impairments can benefit from instruction in general education classes if specific adaptations are made. Specific accommodations vary depending upon the degree of hearing impairment and whether students have interpreters to accompany them throughout the school day. If you have a student with hearing impairments in your class, establish classroom emergency procedures for use during fire and tornado drills. Many fire alarms can be equipped with a light that flashes while the bell rings, alerting students with hearing impairments. Consider assigning a peer assistant who can pass along information that comes from the announcement system and who can be a buddy during any emergency situations. In addition to these guidelines, consider the following strategies (see also Pakulski & Kaderavek, 2002; Stewart & Kluwin, 2001):

  • Adapt the physical environment so students are seated close enough to the front of the class to maximize their hearing and enable them to read speech. They should also be able to turn to face other students while they are speaking. Because hearing aids are extra sound-sensitive, loud or irritating noises should be avoided. Consider choosing a room with carpeting and located away from noisy school areas, such as the cafeteria and gym.
  • Use technology, including hearing aids, television captioning, adapted telephone equipment (TTY), computer-assisted instruction, and the Internet. When appropriate, use FM sound systems, which include cordless microphones for teachers, and receivers that attach to hearing aids for students. Pass your microphone to classmates who are speaking in a class discussion so they can also be heard.
  • Use visuals such as illustrations, diagrams, pictures, and three-dimensional models to introduce vocabulary and concepts and enhance comprehension.
  • Use language cards that contain vocabulary and illustrations of concepts and definitions that can accompany verbal presentations and be used to preteach. Encourage students to maintain personal dictionaries of their language cards.
  • Create authentic experiences by connecting new language and knowledge to real-world experiences in a context relevant to the student’s linguistic and experiential background.
  • Reiterate major points, write out assignments, or write down questions on overhead transparencies or the chalkboard. Give students outlines or closing summaries as handouts. Repeat questions or answers that other students contribute, to enable hearing impaired students to fully participate in class. Sequence steps or procedures on written cards and place them in clear view.
  • Use hand signals or devise a signaling system to denote transitions or allow students with hearing impairments or interpreters to review questions, answers, and concepts.
  • Alert students as to when to look or listen and position yourself so students with hearing impairments can clearly see your face, without shadowing from backlighting or the reflection of glaring light.
  • Use a “listen, then look, then listen” sequence of instruction, so students can focus on your face as you speak, then focus on the other aspects of the lesson separately, then focus on your face again. Say, for example, “Now, I’m going to pour the oil in with this water” (listen); then pour the oil (look), then say, “I poured the oil into the water. Who can tell me what happened?” (listen).
  • Repeat information from the school public address system to ensure students have understood the announcements.
  • Plan for interpreters. Interpreters often assist students who are deaf, by translating lecture information, tutoring, and assisting special and regular education teachers (Salend & Longo, 1994). Extra space, including chairs or desks, may be required for interpreters to be near students with hearing impairments. Since interpreters are typically adults and taller than your students, check to see that all children have a clear view of important classroom information. Prepare your students for the interpreter and clearly explain the roles and functions the interpreter will have while in your classroom. Schedule time alone with the interpreter to discuss your typical classroom procedures, materials, and routines. Remember that an interpreter cannot proceed at the same pace as your verbal presentation, and you need to slow your rate of presentation accordingly.
  • Work with family members. Parents and other family members have an important influence on students with hearing impairments, with respect to such activities as going out and interacting with people, joining sports and other recreational activities, and monitoring and assisting homework (Stewart & Kluwin, 2001). Work with family members to help them prioritize and encourage important activities.

Adapt Evaluation

Testing and evaluation modifications for students with hearing impairments might include providing individual testing times in separate rooms, and extending the time limit as necessary. Remember to allow sufficient time for interpreters during oral testing situations. Allow students to draw illustrations of concepts. Use performance-based testing measures and identification formats whenever possible.

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