When you have a child that has hearing loss, whether moderate or profound, you may find yourself worried about them as they prepare to start school. A school environment, particularly one where the majority of the students have "normal" hearing, can be challenging for a child with hearing loss. However, there are ways that you can help your child to be successful in school while managing their hearing loss. Get to know some of these steps you can take. Then you can rest assured that you are doing everything you can to help your child.
Make Sure They Have Hearing Aids
Hearing aids can make a big difference when it comes to your child's success in school. Even if your child has significant hearing loss and is legally deaf, hearing aids can help them to hear ambient noise around them and at least recognize when the teacher is talking so they can be sure and pay attention.
For a child with moderate hearing loss, hearing aids will allow them to hear what the teacher is saying without the use of a sign language interpreter much of the time. Be sure to get your child fitted for hearing aids before they start school and help them get used to wearing those hearing aids every day.
Add an Educational Audiologist to their IEP
Children with hearing loss in mainstream (non-deaf) schools often need IEPs (individualized education programs) to navigate their education. These programs are designed for children with any kind of special needs or requirements and lay out exactly what they should have to succeed in the classroom.
Teachers and administrators use the IEP plan as a guide for providing proper education to each child. One of the things you may want to have included in your child's IEP is an educational audiologist.
Educational audiologists work in the school environment to advocate on behalf of your child and help them in the classroom. They can assist with hearing aids and other hearing assistance devices, educate teachers on hearing loss, and even help to improve classroom acoustics for your child. They are an excellent resource and can make a major difference in your child's school experience.
Work with a Speech Therapist
If you choose to mainstream school your child, one of the best things you can also do for them is to have them work with a speech therapist on a regular basis. Because your child will be surrounded with hearing children that do not know how to sign, your child will most likely need to be able to communicate with other children orally. The same goes for their teachers.
Having your child work with a speech pathologist can help them to improve their oral communication skills as well as help them develop lip reading skills that will further assist them in their day-to-day interactions with teachers and students. Increased self-confidence is also a common effect of going to speech therapy.
Now that you know these steps you can take to help your child with hearing loss succeed in school, you can start doing what you can for your child right away.
For more information, contact a medical center like Desert Knolls Hearing Center.