Back-to-School Tips for Students with Hearing Loss
Updated September 1, 2016
It’s that time again! It’s back to school for thousands of children and teens. As many students prepared for their new school year, some children and their parents had a few additional preparations to think about. Hearing loss is one of the top birth defects in Canada that can be diagnosed with screening. About 2000 children in the country are born with a hearing loss.
So, back to school takes on even greater significance in the classroom when a child has hearing loss or any other impairment for that matter. How do you ensure that your child will be successful academically, socially and emotionally at school, despite their hearing loss?
Here are a few tips for parents and children to help make school about learning and fun, instead of focusing on hearing loss, because it’s only one component of who they are, it’s not all they are.
1. If your child wears hearing aids, encourage them to wear them all the time. If they have siblings ask them to help out with this encouragement, particularly if the child with hearing loss is younger. Wearing their hearing aids consistently will not only help them hear better, but it will also help your child properly understand their lessons and what is being asked of them. It will help them communicate with their friends better too.
2. Make sure they have all the associated equipment they need, FM systems, extra batteries, cleaning tools, etc.
3. Teach your child how to troubleshoot their hearing aids, how to remove and replace batteries and how to clean their hearing aids.
4. Hearing aids are expensive, so find a clever way to make sure they stay on your child’s person.
5. Make sure the school and your child’s teacher are aware of his or her hearing loss. Your child’s teacher may need to use communication strategies geared toward your child’s needs. For instance: always getting your child’s attention before speaking to them, making sure they face the classroom when speaking, seating your child at the front of the class, and making sure their voice is at a level that is suitable for your child to hear. Your child may also be entitled to additional services that should be administered by the school, so check with your local municipality on what those entitlements should be.
6. Be an advocate for your child.
7. Encourage and engage in communication with your child by reading, talking or singing with them. This is helpful for nurturing language development.
8. Let your child know that they shouldn’t be afraid to politely ask for what was said to be repeated.
9. Unfortunately, children can be less than nice sometimes by ridiculing others that are different. Let your child know that if this happens they can try to talk to the person and explain to the person why they wear their hearing devices, whether it be a hearing aid or even a cochlear implant. A lot of times people make fun of things they don’t understand or know about. If that doesn’t work then it’s best to speak to an adult, like their parents or their teacher. Ridiculing is bullying and must not be tolerated.
10. Finally, let your child know that a hearing loss doesn’t need to stand in the way of enjoying their scholastic experience. Only the sky’s the limit to what they can do or achieve.