Teaching Hearing-Impaired Children in Mainstream Classrooms
Deafness is invisible. A child’s hearing loss may be easily misunderstood or undetected. A partial hearing loss needs your special care too. Lack of care may interfere with the child’s development or ability to communicate. Sometimes parents are not aware of hearing impairment. Loud, disruptive behavior, or inattention and apparent daydreaming may be your only hints of underlying hearing impairment. An angry deaf child simply needs to close his eyes to block you out.
As a teacher, you must pay attention to their behavior and try sonus complete as well. Position yourself so the windows are not behind you. It is hard to hear when your face cannot be seen. Maintain good lighting in the classroom. Children with hearing impairments need to see the expressions on your face. Slow down but do not exaggerate your speech. Speak clearly. Leave a hint of space between the end of one word and the beginning of the next. Do not rely on lip-reading. If necessary, learn sign language together. Take time to be certain comprehension is happening. Remember it is hard work for this child to listen. Just trying to hear you can be frustrating or tiring for her.
Make it easy for them to look at you when you are talking. Place yourself near the child. In the old days when desks were in rows, it was easy to put the child in the front row. All of the learning areas around the room need to be clearly marked so it is easy for you to direct the children to specific areas. Use images whenever possible to help your hearing-impaired child.
Sometimes little things can make a difference. For example, instead of clapping your hands for the attention of the class, create a blinking light signal to capture everyone’s attention and teach them that the signal means you want them to listen to you now.
If the child has an advanced hearing loss and wears a hearing aid, you can help by teaching the class how this works. That will help them feel less strange about the mechanics and become more accepting of this child. You may find helpful Assistive Listening Devices through your hearing professionals or online. Sometimes you may wear a small microphone while the child wears a receiver.
Look online for specialized resources for hearing impaired children. Investigate the latest technical advances and discuss the situation with a hearing specialist as well as the school nurse and the family. You may become the advocate for care in collaboration with hearing professionals.
I speak from experience as a person with hearing impairment since childhood and as a teacher of deaf children. During my college days, I worked with elementary, pre-school and high school students who attended schools for the deaf. Nothing teaches as well as concrete experience with a room full of four-year-old deaf children whose language skills are rudimentary at best.