Hearing Impaired Education
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Teaching students with physical disabilities has unique challenges; teaching students with hearing impairments is especially unique in the public education system. There are several accommodation strategies that can be implemented when working with individuals in this population. Some of these accommodations require minor behavior changes, while others require the use of extensive outside support. According to the Oral Deaf Education Organization, the main accommodations associated with children and learning disabled education include:
- Inclusion in the classroom using an interpreter through sign language
- Providing copies of lecture notes
- Utilizing body language and speaking directly to the student
One of the most common teaching methods used is to provide the use of a sign language interpreter. This person can interpret lectures, lessons, videos, etc. so that a student with a hearing disability is able to obtain the same information in the classroom environment. When working with an interpreter, it is essential that one speaks to the person with the hearing disability, not to their interpreter. A person with a hearing impairment might be able to read lips, so eye contact should be maintained whenever possible. The interpreter is simply there as a mediator and should not have the conversation directed toward them.
Hearing Impaired Education and Body Language
Providing typed copies of lecture notes can also supplement this process; if an interpreter is not able to keep up with the flow of the conversation, or if student discussions are part of the classroom experience, a tape recorded can allow them to interpret the information to the student after the class has ended. Paying close attention to body language can also help one gauge the effectiveness of an accommodation; if the individual has difficulty speaking, this might be the best way to determine if they are fully understanding the concepts being presented. Oftentimes a behavior change as simple as this is enough to dramatically change the classroom environment for students with hearing disabilities.
If a teacher has a child who has a hearing disability there are some basic strategies and technologies that will allow the teacher to individualize instruction for the child, while allowing him or her to remain in the general education classroom.
One very important step a teacher must take when trying to set up the optimal learning environment for a child with a hearing-impairment is to make sure that general classroom noise is reduced. This not only includes the noise from other students, but also background noises and vibrations that can be very irritating to students with a hearing-impairment. Teachers can help minimize the background noise by making sure that classroom equipment is functioning correctly. This includes checking heating and air systems and fans for humming noises and vibrations.
Hearing Impaired Education
It is also important that teachers check frequently with hearing-impaired students to make sure they understand what is going on or what is expected of them. This requires teachers to read the student’s facial expressions and anticipate student needs. This might include repeating directions with more explanation.
There are several different technologies that help support hearing-impaired students. One of these technologies is the use of an Assistive Listening Device. This device is worn around the teacher’s neck. The device picks up the sound of the teachers voice and amplifies it so the child can hear his or her voice more clearly. Captioning also helps students with hearing-impairments.