What Does Hearing Loss Mean for My Child's Education?
If your child is diagnosed with a form of hearing loss, one of your biggest concerns may be how it will impact him or her academically. The good news is children using hearing aids and having fully developed speech can perform at the same level as their normal-hearing peers, and reach their full potential in the classroom and beyond.
Upon diagnosis, you, your child, teachers, school counselors and your child’s audiologist will work together to determine the best learning environments for your child. Many factors will be considered including the type and severity of your child’s hearing loss. The school will want to assess your child’s ability to take part in classroom teaching and activities to identify if he or she qualifies for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan.
IEP: Supported by federal law, this provides individualized special education and other services to meet a child’s unique needs in a special or regular education setting. The plan outlines specific goals – developed by school staff and you – for your child and describes any special support, including school-based therapies and specially designed instruction, he or she needs to achieve those goals.
504 Plan: Also supported by federal law, a 504 Plan is a list of accommodations that a student needs to be able to take part in a regular education classroom. This may include an educational audiologist and or a specially trained teacher.
Your child may not qualify or need an IEP nor 504 Plan, however children with hearing loss can still encounter learning challenges.
How Can Teachers Help your Child in the Classroom?
You and your child can educate teachers on behaviors that can facilitate a better classroom experience. They include:
· minimizing movement or noise (e.g., moving desks, handing out papers, walking around, etc.) while talking;
· talking toward the classroom rather than with their backs to it;
· avoiding taking classes outside or to large rooms;
· use FM systems that transmits their voices into hearing aids; and
· enabling closed captioning on videos.
What Can My Child Do in the Classroom?
While teachers and schools can set up a conducive learning environment, parents and audiologists can empower kids to be their own advocates. There are new technologies available that many students find helpful in the classroom, as well as in other social settings. In addition to FM systems, there are directional microphones that can be used in small groups and activated to capture one or several different speakers.
Whether children need a lot or minimal classroom assistance, hearing loss will impact their learning experience. Building a team with the student, parents, teachers and audiologists will ensure that educational advancement and achievements remain attainable for any child with hearing loss.
This information is provided by the Georgia-based Sounds Waves Pediatric Hearing Aid Program which provides children, ages birth to 19 years, with audiology services and hearing aid devices. The organization operates under the principle that no child should be denied hearing aids due to the inability to pay. Learn more or apply now!