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Tech tips for parents of students with hearing loss

Make the most of hearing technology this school year

Pencils are sharpened, backpacks are packed and the kids are underway with the new school year!

Here at CHC, we know that the end of summer and the early weeks of a new school year mean updating audiograms, obtaining testing with your child’s hearing aids or cochlear implants, arranging classroom in-services and working toward new IEP goals. Now is a great time to look back at The ABCs of Literacy post, where you can also find CHC’s Tips for Teachers handouts – a great resource for classroom teachers.

Recently, we’ve been giving a lot of thought to the role of technology for students with hearing loss – both in terms of the devices they wear (i.e., hearing aids, CIs) and the accessories that integrate with those devices. We hope you find the following tech tips and recommendations helpful for fostering meaningful technology use – at home and in school.

CHC’s tech tips for families

Assistive Tech Advocacy – As early as kindergarten, children are expected to take responsibility for their supplies, take-home materials, and homework. Help your child to become his/her own advocate when it comes to hearing technology used in school. Practice connecting and troubleshooting FM and wireless microphones early. Create an FM checklist with your child to give to the classroom teacher: Is the power on? Is there a full charge? Are the spare batteries in their designated storage spot? Are the receiver boots inserted properly? Did the FM connect? You’ll promote independence with hearing technology while helping make sure that their day goes smoothly.

Be sure to recap at home with one of several books about hearing loss that are useful for reinforcing independence in the classroom:

When in doubt, CHC’s Back-to-School Audiology Tips,by pediatric audiologist Anita Stein-Meyers, will help you and your child’s teacher identify and fix common problems that can occur with hearing technology.

Classroom Connectivity – Tech has increasingly become an integral part of the classroom. Many SMART boards, tablets and school computers can connect – either wirelessly or directly with an external cord – to your child’s hearing devices. For example:

  1. Activities that involve the use of headphones connected to a computer can instead be done with the computer coupled directly to your child’s devices.

  2. Lessons being taught with additional media clips from a computer or SMART board can also be linked directly to your child’s devices.

Phonak Roger mic w/audio in/output cord

Check with your child’s school team to see what technology will be used in the classroom and during therapy sessions this year. Your audiologist will be able to provide more information about your child’s device connectivity.

Technology for Entertainment – Academics are only one part of the school day. Social interactions make up a significant portion of the school day during free/lunch periods, group projects, transition periods and after-school programs. Building valuable friendships is crucial for a successful school year.

When your child comes home from school talking about the latest show, app, or video game, it may be difficult to decide how to manage screen time. Something to keep in mind is that children with hearing loss and communication delays need to be able to join in on conversations at school. What is already a challenge for them – initiating and maintaining conversations – can be made more difficult if they aren’t familiar with the topics their peers talk about.

We like the suggestion made by a CHC dad who noticed his two teenage children struggling to understand lyrics to the latest hit songs. After a bit of research, he discovered the Shazam app and, after that, made a point every week to spend time with his kids listening to their favorite new songs and reading the lyrics together.

At the end of the day, children’s TV shows are and will continue to be popular topics of conversation in the classroom, at recess, at lunch, and during play dates. That being said, balance is key when it comes to technology at home. The American Academy of Pediatrics has published a customizable Family Media Use Plan that can work within your family’s values and busy lifestyle. You can set individualized goals for your family to use media in a thoughtful way that enhances daily life and view tips on healthy media use, screen-free zones, and media manners.

CHC recommends a comprehensive approach

While technology plays a pivotal role in your child’s educational life, additional support is often needed to help your child reach his or her academic potential. CHC’s comprehensive services for children with hearing loss and their families include educational and emotional health and wellness services.

Educational support

Educational support is a vital step in your child’s journey with hearing loss because it bridges the gap between center-based speech/language therapy and the academic environment. Educational support services at CHC include:

  1. Reading and writing support

  2. Organization/classroom strategies

  3. IEP support

  4. Social pragmatic language groups

  5. School observations

  6. In-services

  7. School placement consultations

To learn more about these and other educational support services that can help your child become a more confident and independent learner, contact me, Dana Selznick, CHC’s education specialist, at (917) 305-7855 or submit your inquiry using the link below.

Emotional health and wellness

Jeffrey Wax, Director, CHC’s Baker Family Emotional Health and Wellness Center

Jeff Wax, Director of the Baker Family Emotional Health and Wellness Center, reminds us that psychological evaluations are very helpful this time of year if you are concerned about your child’s academic standing.

Most psychologists do not understand the impact and meaning of hearing loss during an evaluation. We do. Our pediatric psychologist, Sandra Mays Clough, MA, PhD, has many years of experience working in health care and school settings with children who have any degree of hearing loss.

Click below to learn more about our emotional health and wellness services, You can contact Jeff Wax to request an appointment or submit a question using the link below or calling (917) 305-7739..

Happy learning and best wishes for a successful school year!

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