Kids experience full or partial hearing loss due to a variety of causes, including certain illnesses, loud noises and injury. Hearing impairments of varying degrees interfere with a child’s development and success in the classroom. Early and effective interventions give her the chance to catch up or stay at grade level.
A child with a hearing impairment faces the possibility of delayed language and cognitive development, according to the World Health Organization. The lag in development leaves the child behind in academic areas. If appropriate accommodations and interventions aren’t used, the child may struggle to understand information in the classroom. The child may need to put more effort toward understanding the lessons. Noise from other students makes it more difficult for hearing-impaired students to hear necessary information.
Students with hearing impairments also face social difficulties in the classroom. Other students may bully or pick on the child because of his hearing difficulty. A child who leaves the classroom for special education programs associated with the hearing impairment faces potential teasing. Teachers who don’t understand the impact of hearing impairments might also cause the child more difficulty.
A number of interventions both academic and medical are available for students with hearing impairments. Speech and language pathologists offer services to children to improve skills for the classroom. Hearing aids or cochlear implants offer some children a chance to hear more clearly, which benefits their learning. Sign language instruction and interpreters in the classroom allow children with more severe hearing impairments to communicate and learn with classmates.
As the classroom manager, the teacher faces the primary responsibility for ensuring the child’s needs are met. The teacher should make accommodations for the child, such as positioning her desk in a suitable location and providing alternative methods of completing assignments and gathering information. The teacher also helps set the classroom climate regarding how the students interact, which includes potential bullying or teasing.
The school should provide a hearing-impaired student with the services and accommodations necessary, but parents also need to serve as the child’s advocate. Work with school staff to educate them on your child’s needs. Visit the classroom periodically to ensure the environment is compatible with your child’s impairment. Communicating with your child’s teachers and specialists allows you to stay on top of potential problems and increase his chances of academic success.