If you have a child with hearing loss, you’re well aware of the challenges they face, and you’ve likely found ways to adapt your home environment to meet their needs. But what happens when they reach school age and must enter a new environment? One where you won’t be there to guide them through every step? One over which you don’t have as much control? Here, we look at a few things you can do to help your child with hearing loss succeed in school
A child with hearing loss should get a hearing test
It may seem obvious, but it’s hard to solve a problem if you don’t know how severe the problem is. Most schools do conduct hearing testing as part of an overall health screening; but it’s not typically done the first week of school. Get a hearing test done by an audiologist prior to school starting and you will have detailed results that show the exact amount of hearing loss your child has. Share these results with the school team, ensuring there is a plan of action ready before the school year begins.
Communicate with school staff
The only thing that teachers and other school administrators know about your child is what they see or are told about in person, or what they read in papers submitted with your child’s registration. Since you’ve been with your child longer, you will have learned about his needs. It will be helpful for school staff if you share what you already know about your child. Let them know what environmental adaptations have worked well at home. This will enable them to easily determine options that may also work well in school.
Be aware of social needs
Most school children feel a need to fit in with their peers. This may be difficult to do if they feel too different from the other students. If your child has an assistive hearing device, such as a hearing aid, he may neglect to wear it, thinking that this will help him fit in better. It’s important to educate your child at home. Make sure they know the importance of wearing their hearing device at school. When they are happy, confident, and have a high self-esteem, wearing the device at school will not be an issue.
Regular progress reports
Once you and the school team have determined a favorable plan of action for the school year, it’s important to follow up with the school staff throughout the year to make sure it’s going well. You may see things in the way your child acts at home that would indicate to you one way or the other, and it’s important to share those with the school staff. It’s only when you work together that your child will be best poised for success in school.
See an audiologist
Finally, don’t neglect regular checkups with your child’s audiologist. She will be able to monitor hearing changes as your child grows, and may have other recommendations for adaptations to the classroom environment. With the right team, your child will be successful at school and at home … even with hearing loss
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Source: Hear Well-Live Well Blog