As we embark on a new school year and students return to in-person learning, below are some tips to assist your child’s education team in understanding your child and their hearing loss to ensure a positive start to the school year.
We know going back to school can make any parent nervous (and excited), but it can be especially hard for parents of kids with hearing loss, so we asked Jen Haney, the Hart Family Cochlear Implant Education Liaison at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago to give us some tips to make the transition from summer to school easier for everyone. These should help to ensure a positive start to the school year.
Request a beginning of the year meeting
If your child has a hearing itinerant or teacher of the deaf, they will in most cases provide an in-service to the educational team. Ask to be part of the in-service. If your child does not have special services providers at school, ask to set up a meeting with the staff that will be interacting with your child.
Provide extra batteries and other supplies necessary to ensure your child’s hearing aids/cochlear implants work properly throughout the school day. Demonstrate how to utilize equipment including remote hearing assistive technology (R-HAT) and provide troubleshooting guides.
Ask about related service minutes
If your child receives special services (OT, PT, Speech, Hearing Itinerant Services, etc.), touch base with each provider to ask how will services be provided.
a. Will your child be seen one on one, in a group setting, or will the service provider push-in to classroom?
b. When will service minutes be met? Will they be pulled out during academics, during specials, study halls, etc.?
c. Discuss how will that might impact their day socially and academically.
Summarize key components of the IEP or 504 Plan with your child’s education team
Set up Goals
Go over classroom accommodations and testing accommodations, making sure everything listed on your child’s IEP/504 is being addressed.
Set up a schedule for service minutes.
Set up regular communication with team
It’s very important to collaborate with the school team. Make sure you discuss and decide on the type and frequency of communication between the team and you.
Teach your child to self Advocate
Make sure your child is comfortable speaking up if they are having trouble hearing something.
Make sure your child knows that they should sit somewhere where they can hear the speaker
Make sure your child is able to identify when their device is not working and lets the teacher knows, so they can help work to troubleshoot the issue.
These tips were written by Jen Haney, MA, DT-H, the Hart Family Cochlear Implant Education Coordinator. Jen has been a true patient champion, constantly in contact with families and schools to identify each child’s set of strengths and areas of need so patients have appropriate supports in place.