As the final weeks of August drift by back to school preparations shift into high gear. It’s time to begin thinking about life in the classroom for your child with hearing loss. September generally means new teachers, possibly a new school, maybe even a new district.
Here are some tips to get you, and your child, back up and running:
- Review your child’s IEP. Many states have their annual IEP meeting in the spring, so while you might remember the big picture, details might have slipped you mind. Refresh your mind with the specifics so you are better able to follow up with teachers and administrators during the first few weeks of school.
- Make contact with your child’s teacher. This is especially important if your child is new to the school or district. Schedule a meeting with the main classroom teacher and discuss any concerns, demonstrate how equipment works, drop off batteries, etc. For a straightforward and simple way to explain your child’s hearing needs try the All About My Ears: Classroom Info sheet.
- Make a classroom plan This can be tweaked in the early weeks of the school year, but take the time to write down potential concerns and think of ways they can be address. Is your child’s classroom carpeted? If not, does it make sense to put tennis balls on desk chairs. What about lunch room issues – is the cafeteria too noisy? Does your child need to eat in a quieter space? How will teachers ensure that FM travels with your child?
- Schedule appointments with audiologist, and other professionals, to check if hearing aids and cochlear implants are working correctly. Back to school is also a good time to schedule your child’s annual hearing test to make sure there are no changes to hearing and equipment can be adjusted if necessary. If you child received services, such as speech or play therapy, over the summer make sure to get a written summary of progress made for your records.
- Make a plan: new classrooms, new grade level, new district can all heighten your child’s anxiety. Talk/role play ways your child can ask a teacher to clarify what they are saying, or how to interact and respond to questions from new classmates. A little preparation and a positive attitude can go a long way!