Guidance from a CHC Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
By Sivan Levy, M.A.
It’s that time of the year! As the hot days of summer come to a close, parents and teachers are preparing for the upcoming school year.
This can be an uncertain time for parents sending their children to school for the first time, or for teachers having their first student with hearing loss. There are so many new steps to take. Where should they start?
As a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at the Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC), I get lots of questions at the beginning of every school year. Below are the top five with my key takeaways for each.
1. Where is the most appropriate seat for the child with hearing loss?
While it's often the case that the best seat for auditory access is front and center, it is important to consider the child’s specific hearing needs and the classroom environment. Does the child have a bilateral or unilateral loss? Are the students sitting at desks or tables? Is there street noise coming through the classroom window? Considering all factors will help determine the most appropriate seat.
2. When should the teacher wear the FM unit?
For preschool and elementary school students, the teacher should wear the FM during circle time, group instruction, and during any periods of direction (i.e., lining up for lunch or a bathroom break). For middle school and high school students, there may be more pushback to having the FM during every class. Discuss with your child which classes may be more important or more rigorous, and encourage FM usage in those classrooms.
3. How do I introduce my child’s hearing loss to the classroom?
There are many approaches to teaching the class about your child’s hearing loss. Books can do this in a way that is both informational and heartwarming. Check out CHC’s book recommendations here. Having your child present a PowerPoint or an autobiography is a great way to encourage independence and promote self-advocacy.
4. How do I prepare my child to be more independent at school with their hearing devices?
Begin by making a checklist that your child can go over when getting to school. Are my batteries working? Are the receivers connected? Did I give my teacher the FM? Practice the checklist at home so your child knows exactly what to do! Encouraging independence at home will carry over at school as well. Try a nighttime routine where your child is in charge of packing their backpack for the next day and checking that all their hearing supplies are stocked and ready to go.
5. How do I ensure my child’s teacher is implementing the accommodations for my child?
Provide your child’s teacher with multiple resources and handouts with tips and explanations on how to best support a student with hearing loss. Consider using CHC's customizable letter templates below for users of hearing aids or cochlear implants. Host a meeting with all of your child’s team members and encourage collaboration throughout the year. Before school begins, consider having a member of the CHC’s educational team conduct an in-service at the school.
Do not hesitate to reach out to me at (917) 305-7809 or email@example.com if you have any other questions or concerns regarding the upcoming school year. We understand it is a tough time and we are here to help! Best wishes on a safe and successful school year!