There’s a little nip in the air, the leaves are starting to turn, and kids are heading back to school as we turn the corner from summer into fall. This can be an exciting time of year for everyone, regardless of hearing ability, with fresh school supplies, old friends and new classes to look forward to.
For those affected by hearing loss, back to school may also include some apprehension. Will the school be able to support your hearing impaired child to help them thrive? The good news is that with a wide variety of resources now available and increasingly educated and trained administrators, teachers and staff, the answer is almost always “yes” especially when parents work closely with schools to plan for success.
Starting a new school or school year can be a smooth transition when you follow tips like these:
Before the start of the school year, discuss your child’s hearing loss and needs with school administrators. If your child is a returning student, this may include reevaluating what has and has not worked in the past. If your child is new to the school, it may mean discussing what they will need to make it a successful year. Keep in mind that your child is entitled to the support they need for optimal learning. This may mean an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that provides them with special resources and helps them manage their hearing aids throughout the school day.
Learn more about assistive technology already available at the school to support your child. Tools such as personal FM systems and room loops can transmit sound, such as the teacher discussing the day’s lessons, directly to your child’s hearing device. Closed captioning can help them keep up with what’s happening on the television or other screen devices.
Meet with Your Child’s Teacher
If your child’s teacher is not part of the initial meeting with administrators, set up a time to meet with them separately to discuss your child’s hearing loss, their level of comfort in the classroom, and anything they may need help with. This could include emergency hearing aid battery replacement, and how you, as the parent, can work with the teacher to make it a successful year for everyone. Let your child’s teacher know more about their particular hearing loss. Is it Mild? Unilateral? Severe? This information can help them better plan for lessons and classroom set up.
Any family knows that the unexpected should always be expected. This includes the surprises that sometimes come up with hearing aids. Be sure to keep emergency hearing aid supplies such as cleaning tools and batteries in your child’s backpack for when the unexpected comes up during the school day. Also, go over strategies and expectations with your child for common situations that may come up and how to handle them. For example, if your child is having difficulty understanding the teacher, what should they do? This can give kids a game plan and relieve anxiety when something comes up that requires action.
Make back to school a fun and smooth transition with tips like these. How do you set your child up for success when they head back to school?