Services consistent with a child's hearing impairment & how to get them

Your child has a hearing impairment and is eligible for special education. How should the school take this into consideration? Do your homework to ensure your child is supported with appropriate instruction from the beginning. Here are a few resources:

1) Contact Hands and Voices. In Texas, this is #txhv. Not only does this organization provide advocacy services, but they also have a wealth of resources including documents, seminars and presentations. Educate yourself and you will begin to understand how your child's mode of communication should be reflected in all aspects of the IEP: Training, instruction, the communication plan, the Auditory Supplement and the modification and accommodation page.

2) The Listening Evaluation: This is an assessment of the implications for hearing loss in a variety of circumstances with or without recommended amplification. Usually, there are 8 measurements taken during quiet and noise, close and distant administration. Regional Service Centers have developed checklists. If your child also has a behavior intervention plan, it will need to be revised based on the Auditory Impairment (AI) eligibility. For example, if your child cannot see the teacher's face from the front, he/she may have significant issues speech reading any cued speech and this could be the trigger (antecedent) for a meltdown. The Functional Behavioral Assessment will need to be reviewed as well.

3) In many states an otolaryngologist performs an otological examination and must be part of the evaluation team that determines if the child has a deficit that adversely impacts educational performance. If a school uses information from a prior private evaluation, this is a REED (review of existing evaluation data) and it is not acceptable or current. Make sure that the expertise of this team member is considered and they are participating in the eligibility #IEP meeting.

4) Teachers must be proficient in methods for teaching hard of hearing or deaf children. This may mean: American Sign Language (ASL) or cued speech. There is a standard for proficiency in cued speech. How your child's teacher becomes adept is the school's responsibility. If you, or the school recommend placement in a regional day program, or state school for the deaf, be aware that they may use American Sign Language predominantly for instruction. The need for collaboration and consultation with professionals that specialize in teaching #Deaf children is critical because if #ASL hasn't been taught, your child will not benefit from these placements. Apart from teaching ASL from Kindergarten onward, the teachers in these programs also use state standards-aligned curriculum that is modified to integrate technology and develop literacy and Math skills.

These are just some basics and a place to start. Please sign up for my newsletter to learn more about special education.

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Virginia Spencer,  M.Ed.,

(630) 251-5658

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