Introducing Hearing Peers to a Child with Hearing Loss
The ultimate goal of the CCHAT Center is to prepare children who are deaf and hard of hearing for life in mainstream schools. The transition from a room full of classmates with hearing loss to one consisting of typical-hearing children may pose some challenges, but it also presents a great opportunity to inform a new population about hearing-assistive technology.
In general, children are inquisitive and eager to learn about why your child wears cochlear implants or hearing aids. There are some simple steps your family can take to ensure your child feels comfortable and his/her peers receive an informative introduction to listening devices and hearing loss.
Create a Presentation
New teachers are typically happy to give your child the platform to share about his/her hearing-assistive technology. Depending on the child’s age, this is something a parent or family member can assist with. Making a slideshow, creating a short video or sharing photographs is a great way to make this an interactive learning experience for the students in the class.
Topics you may feature in a presentation about your child with hearing loss include:
- The science of hearing (anatomy of the ear, how hearing works, etc.)
- Their hearing loss history (when the hearing loss was diagnosed, other schools attended or services received)
- Hearing assistive-technology (what your child wears and how it helps)
- Assistance your child may need in class (may need some instructions repeated, be sure to face them when talking, what to do if you find a piece of hearing equipment)
Many times you will find that classmates, teachers and other staff members who work with your child will all gain useful information from a personal presentation.
First-Hand Introduction to Equipment
After teaching students about the functions of your child’s hearing-assistive technology and stressing the importance of its protection, letting them see the devices up close can satisfy curiosity and help them broaden their knowledge. This will definitely be an activity to be closely monitored depending on age, but it can serve as a great introduction to the parts and operations of hearing-assistive technology. Additionally, if you have the testing equipment that allows you to listen to your child’s devices, bringing that in for classmates to try can give them a true opportunity to connect with your child.
Share a Book Featuring Hearing-Assistive Technology
Some students will take in new information more seamlessly when it is presented in story form. These days, there are many books available that include characters who utilize hearing-assistive technology. After listening to the story, it may be easier for children to understand your child’s hearing loss.
Some books that feature characters who are deaf or hard of hearing include:
- Mighty Mila by Katie Petruzziello
- El Deafo by Cece Bell
- Super Hearing by Jennifer Whitehead
- Lucy by Sally O’Lee
There are also comic books and coloring books that can provide another avenue to learning for your child’s hearing peers. Reach out to your cochlear implant or hearing aid manufacturer who may have a story or activity book that can be shared with classmates.
Preparing Your Child for a New Environment
It may be beneficial to walk through some scenarios that your child with hearing loss may encounter when joining a new school. Think about questions that classmates may have or role play situations that may arise in the classroom, on the playground or throughout campus. This will not only help your child feel more comfortable; it will also provide a great introduction and learning experience for his/her classmates.
Growing Comfortable in New Situations
Each year, CCHAT watches students graduate from the program and join the mainstream. Based on feedback from graduates, most hearing peers are very welcoming and go out of their way to ensure children with hearing loss feel supported. With these tips, the move from listening and spoken language program to mainstream classroom can be a positive, enlightening experience for all involved. To learn about ways that CCHAT is teaching additional social skills to its students in preparation for mainstream schools, CLICK HERE.