School Intro: I Have A Hearing Loss

 

Introduction

school intro bookWhen a child with hearing loss begins school, some families find it good to put together a book which can introduce the child to the school. It’s a friendly way to explain about hearing loss and what the child needs for success. The book can be written either from the point of view of the parents or written in the child’s voice. It can be simple, a couple of typed pages or printed with photos.

 

 

An example from a child’s viewpoint

Hello, my name is Hannah.

I am 5 years old. I am very excited about starting kindergarten. I was born with a profound hearing loss identified at birth. I use cochlear implants to help me hear. I need to wear the cochlear implants all day long. My right ear is my better ear so please talk to me from in front of me or from my right side.

Hearing loss is not the only thing you need to know about me. I have a brother and a sister. My favorite color is ____, my favorite book is ­­­­_______, I love to dance and I play soccer.

(Include photos of the child and photos of the hearing aids or cochlear implant both on and off the child.)

Here are some things about hearing loss that may be helpful for you to know:

  • No matter how good hearing aids or cochlear implants are, they are not perfect. They work best when I am close to the person who is speaking and when there is no background noise.
  • Classrooms are always noisy so I will have trouble hearing in a classroom.
  • I can manage just using listening in quiet, but in a noisy classroom I will need to use my eyes and add lipreading to help me understand.
  • Because I have a hearing loss, I may not know that I have missed something because I did not hear it. So if I don’t seem to be doing what I am supposed to be doing, check that I understand.
  • Children with hearing loss may need 2-3 repetitions to get a message. This is the reason children with hearing loss need Teacher of the Deaf Services to preview and review academic materials.
  • Students with hearing loss may need additional wait time and processing time when questions are posed in class. Please give me a little extra time.
  • Listening and attending all day can be difficult. Children with hearing loss need “listening breaks” during the day when listening is not essential. Lunch doesn’t count as a listening break because I want to talk with my friends.
  • In planning my management, it is useful to look at areas of weakness on tests (educational and speech and language evaluations), not just the total score. When developing my treatment plan, goals should be developed according to my areas of weakness.

 

Some other things that may be helpful:

Seating – I need to sit where I can see and hear the person talking. Please seat me in the middle during circle time. At other times, please seat me close to the front and over to the left side so that my right ear is facing the other students. In this way I can hear and see both the teacher and other students are saying. If the teacher moves about the room, please let me move so I can see and hear.

Using the remote microphone system – Listening in noise is difficult. I need an remote microphone (RM) system to hear. The RM system will reduce the difficult hearing in noise and in a reverberating room.

  • The RM needs to be used in all academic situations. If the teacher is talking she needs to wear the RM microphone.
  • The RM microphone should be worn within 6 inches of the talker’s mouth. A head-worn boom microphone is best and will always be right in front of the teacher’s mouth so I will be getting a clear message.
  • If the teacher is talking to another child and it is not necessary for me to hear, the microphone should be placed on mute.
  • If I am working in a small group and the room is a little noisy because other children are talking it would be good to give the RM microphone to another child in my group or to place it on the work table
  • The child with hearing loss will only hear what the teacher is saying into the RM microphone. In order to hear what other students are saying it is important that the students use a pass around microphone or that the teacher repeats all the comments other students make. Part of learning is hearing classroom discussion and understanding what other students say – right or wrong, so please repeat what other students say.
  • THIS WOULD BE A GOOD PLACE FOR PARENTS TO INSERT INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO THEIR CHILD
    • INSERT DIRECTIONS ABOUT HOW TO USE THE SPECIFIC RM SYSTEM.
    • INSERT PHOTOS OF EQUIPMENT
    • INCLUDE TROUBLE SHOOTING INFORMATION

 

Check my listening every day

Listening needs to be checked every morning.

  • Have me turn my back or close my eyes so I cannot see you or cover your mouth. Repeat Ling Sounds (ah, ee, oo, mm, sh, sss) in random order (so I cannot anticipate what is being said) and ask me to repeat the sounds. Talk in a regular voice. Do not raise your voice. If I make any errors please let my parents, my TOD, and the Educational Audiologist know so that they can have my equipment checked.
  • Please also check by asking me some questions which I cannot anticipate or asking me to repeat words. Be sure that I cannot see your face when you ask me the questions.
  • Every few days please check right ear alone, left ear alone and both ears together. On other days you can just check using both ears at the same time.

Checking my cochlear implants

  • INSERT HERE INFORMATION ABOUT HOW TO KNOW IF THE CI IS WORKING, CHECKING BATTERIES., etc.

 

Keeping the classroom quiet

Listening in noise can be difficult.

  • Movements of tables and chairs can be very disturbing. Tennis balls, footies or other noise reducers should to be placed on the bottom of all classroom chairs.
  • Doors and windows should be kept closed to reduce noise
  • Students should be asked to talk one person at a time
  • No use of pencil sharpeners etc. during teaching time

 

Other things that might help

  • Visual aids will help. Please use visual aids to help me understand.
  • If video’s or movies are shown in class they need to be captioned. If videos or movies are not closed captioned, the student should not be responsible for, or tested on that material. If information is not closed the tape should be sent home for preview or review. Direct links to other materials viewed in class should be sent home for review in quiet.
  • Cue for attention
    • To be sure that I know what is happening, the teacher should call my name to cue/focus me so I know she wants my attention. She should also call students by name when they want to speak so I knows where to look to both hear and see the talker.
    • The teacher should call attention to topic changes so that the student can keep up. This will help the student follow discussion and remain on task.
  • Check for Understanding
    • When it appears as though communication breakdown has occurred ask me to repeat back what was heard to encourage active listening. The teacher can then repeat any portion of the message that the student has missed and provide clarification when needed. Rephrasing of commands or directives is necessary if communicative breakdown is noticed. Check that I understand especially when the talker uses a whisper or low-tone.
    • Older children will not want you to call attention to them so, if they appear to be struggling, try to find a way to discreetly check if they understand
    • Repeat what other students say into the RM microphone so that the student with hearing loss can hear what is being said.
  • All homework or in class assignments should be written on the board or in handouts. Do not count on me to understand the assignment in a noisy room using listening alone.

 

Getting help

We know that having a child with hearing loss in your room can add a burden to teaching. Please do not hesitate to talk to my parents, the TOD, or the Educational Audiologist if you have any questions.

 

My parents can be reached at

Mom—–

Dad——

 

Obviously, these should be individualized depending on the child. This is just a suggestion. Anything that works for your family will be great. Enjoy.

 

 

About Jane Madell

Jane Madell has a consulting practice in pediatric audiology. She is an audiologist, speech-language pathologist, and LSLS auditory verbal therapist, with a BA from Emerson College and an MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin. Her 45+ years experience ranges from Deaf Nursery programs to positions at the League for the Hard of Hearing (Director), Long Island College Hospital, Downstate Medical Center, Beth Israel Medical Center/New York Eye and Ear Infirmary as director of the Hearing and Learning Center and Cochlear Implant Center. Jane has taught at the University of Tennessee, Columbia University, Downstate Medical School, and Albert Einstein Medical School, published 7 books, and written numerous books chapters and journal articles, and is a well known international lecturer.

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