Finally, the beginning of the new school year is here. Thousands of children, teenagers and students are back in the classroom. Students and parents have been thoughtfully preparing for the new school year making sure they have all the books, notebooks, appropriate clothing, etc. However, alongside the usual preparation, some of them had a few additional things to prepare. More than 6% of people in the world suffer from hearing loss, of which 93% are adults and 7% are children. Preparing for school for a child who is suffering from any type of hearing loss or hearing impairment requires additional care and necessities.
How to ensure that your child will be successful in the academic year and fit with social and emotional age at school despite hearing loss?
Here are some tips for parents and children that can help make the school experience about learning and enjoyment.
There is no need to focus on hearing loss. Hearing loss does not define a person as it is just one piece of a puzzle of who they really are.
1. Make sure that school and your child’s teachers/professors are aware of child’s hearing loss. Teachers may need to use extra communication skills depending on your child’s needs. For example: attracting the child’s attention before talking with them, making sure that the child is facing classroom when he or she is speaking, seating your child in the front rows in the classroom, and making sure that the teacher´s voice is loud enough and that your child can hear. Your child may also be eligible for additional services administered by the school, so make sure you check your child´s rights.
2. If your child wears a hearing aid, encourage them to wear them all the time. If they have siblings, ask also siblings to help and encourage them, especially if the child with hearing loss is younger. A hearing aid will help your child understand new school lessons and perform the other school tasks. A hearing aid will also help them to communicate better with their friends.
3. The hearing aid is a device fitted for individual needs and is not a toy. So find a clever way to make sure your child does not lose their hearing aid.
4. Show your child how to remove and replace the battery, how to clean the hearing aid, and how to eliminate other potential interference.
5. Ensure that your child has all the necessary equipment for hearing aid such as additional batteries, cleaning tools, etc.
6. Unfortunately, some children may not behave so friendly and may mock the other children, especially those who have different needs. Let your child know that, if that happens, he or she may try to talk to that person and explain why they wear the hearing aid. A lot of times, people are making fun of something if they don’t know or understand it. If that does not work, then it is best for your child to talk to an adult, such as parents or teachers. Violent behavior and bullying should not be tolerated.
7. Encourage and engage in communication with your child by reading, speaking or singing together. This is of utmost importance for a language development.
8. Be an advocate and spokesmen for your child.
9. Make sure that your child knows that hearing loss is not an obstacle and that it should not stand in the way of enjoying their school experience. Only the sky is the limit.
10. Make sure that your child knows that is ok to ask the teacher to repeat what was said if he or she did not hear or understand.