Back-to-School Checklist for Children with Hearing Loss
With many schools resuming this month, it is time for parents of children with hearing loss to prepare for the upcoming year. Whether you are returning to a listening and spoken language program like CCHAT or mainstreaming into your neighborhood school, there are several steps you can take to ensure that your child is ready to thrive in an educational setting.
Prepare Your Child’s Daily Hearing Kit
Every day your child who is deaf or hard of hearing attends school, he/she should bring a kit with all of the essential items needed for optimal hearing. This should include device batteries (disposable and/or rechargeable), battery or transmitter chargers, and additional replacement equipment such as coils, magnets, tubing and battery sleeves.
This preparedness is especially important in the mainstream. Whereas CCHAT staff members are aware of children’s hearing needs and are constantly monitoring equipment, many times, the responsibility for ensuring optimal hearing in the mainstream falls on the student. It is important that your child has everything they need to successfully rectify any issues that arise with their hearing equipment.
For younger children, it may be beneficial to include a chart or pictogram with instructions on how to complete certain troubleshooting tasks, like battery changing or coil replacement. Give your child all the tools needed to get their hearing devices back up and running quickly.
Schedule an Inservice Day
CCHAT’s goal is to make sure every student enjoys a successful transition from our program to their neighborhood school. One way we make this possible is by setting up an inservice day with mainstream teachers.
During an inservice day, a CCHAT staff member or your child’s case manager will attend your new school and speak with new members of your child’s team – teachers, speech therapists, and other school personnel. The staff member will educate your child’s teacher about hearing-assistive technology (HAT), your child’s personal transmitter and provide other tips to ensure your child is put in the best possible position for success.
Feel free to discuss plans for an inservice day with your CCHAT team, as well as your new school team members. This valuable resource can bring your child’s teacher up to speed on their hearing needs and help ease the transition into a new educational environment.
Meet with Your Audiologist
It is ideal to start off the new school year in the best possible position when it comes to your child’s hearing health. With this in mind, a visit to your audiologist prior to starting a new school year can be one of the better choices you can make.
The beginning of a new school year is a great time to get your child’s hearing in tip-top shape. Your audiologist can make sure all hearing-assistive equipment is functioning at an optimal level. They can provide mapping and hearing tests to ensure your child is ready to tackle another school year. They may even have suggestions to improve your school experience or know of new upgrades that could enhance your child’s hearing capabilities.
Meet with Your New Teacher or Write a Letter
When starting at a new school, it can be very beneficial for your child with hearing loss to meet their new teacher before school starts. This can help ease any nervousness and make your child more comfortable in their new environment.
This is equally helpful to the teacher, who may not have a lot of experience with a child who is deaf or hard of hearing. The teacher will be able to speak to you and your child directly and figure out the best way to serve your family for the upcoming school year.
If an in-person meeting is not possible, your family can prepare a letter for your child to give to the teacher on the first day. Depending on the age of your child, have him/her help write the letter, introducing him/herself and explaining more about hearing loss and how it impacts daily life. This exercise is a nice way to start the school year and helps build a relationship between your family and your new teacher.
Make Sure Your FM/HAT System is Ready to Go
One of the most valuable tools for a child with hearing loss in a mainstream classroom is an FM or HAT (hearing-assistive technology) system. This combination includes a microphone worn by a speaker (typically the teacher) and receivers that connect to hearing devices worn by the child. It allows for sound to transmit directly to the child, helping to eliminate background distractions.
It is essential that your child’s HAT system is ready to go on their first day of school. Be sure to coordinate the delivery of this system with your district and/or previous school. Your child’s ability to learn is greatly impacted by the presence of this valuable system.
Enjoy the New School Year!
This checklist may seem extensive, but once you feel settled for your upcoming school year, be sure to enjoy yourself. Your child is ready for their journey, and your family has many resources at your disposal to make sure things go smoothly.
Whether your child will be attending CCHAT or moving on to the mainstream, the CCHAT staff remains committed to your child’s success. Don’t hesitate to reach out to CCHAT if we can be of any help for your family during the next step of your hearing loss journey. Use our contact page to get in touch with a CCHAT professional who can answer any questions that may arise.