Starting school is an important milestone in any child (or parent’s!) life. If your child has a hearing loss and is starting school for the first time, here are some tips that may make the journey a little bit easier:
1. Meet with teachers and tour the school before starting
This is a great way to get to know the environment which your child will be learning in. It’s also good to meet with the teachers to discuss what’s best for your child and how they can help.
2. Make sure they get the right support for their level of hearing loss
Children with a severe-profound hearing loss can be entitled to support in class, such as a note taker, interpreter or classroom assistant. This can be discussed with school prior to a new school year. Without support, children with hearing loss can struggle in classroom situations and it can impact their grades and they might not achieve their full potential.
3. Invest in equipment to improve their learning
There is some great technology available that can help understand the teacher in the classroom, such as the Roger Pen. These microphones amplify the teacher’s voice over background noise, which will help them lip read or understand better. If you do use this equipment, always make sure it is charged up the night before class!
4. Encourage them to get out there!
A great way of helping a child make friends is by encouraging them to join a club or group. It’s also important for them to relax, socialize and take time for hobbies.
5. Store spare batteries!
If the child’s hearing aid uses batteries, make sure to pack extras to store in their bag or locker. Better to be over prepared than under prepared!
6. Participate in a sport!
Participating in a sport not only boosts a child’s confidence, health and fitness, it also creates a sense of belonging. Being part of a community can boost a child’s self-esteem and lead to greater achievements at school. And it’s a great way of making friends! Deaf Sports Australia (www.deafsports.org.au) has a great program that educates and empowers kids with hearing loss on the benefits of participating in sport. www.activedeafkids.org.au