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Deafness and Hearing Loss


A student/child with deafness or hard-of-hearing disabilities has deficitis in language and speech development because due to a diminished or lack of auditory response to sound. Students will demonstrate varying degrees of hearing loss which often results in difficulty acquiring spoken language. When you have a child with hearing loss/deafness in your classroom, you need to be careful not to assume that this student has other developmental or intellectual, delays. Typically, many of these students have average or better than average intelligence.

Characteristics Found in the Classroom:

  • Difficulty following verbal directions
  • Difficulty with oral expression
  • Some difficulties with social/emotional or interpersonal skills
  • Will often have a degree of language delay
  • Often follows and rarely leads
  • Will usually exhibit some form of articulation difficulty
  • Can become easily frustrated if their needs are not met which will lead to some behavioral difficulties
  • Sometimes the use of hearing aids leads to embarassment and fear of rejection from peers

What Can You Do?

  • Many students with hearing disabilities will have some form of specialized equipment recommended by the audiologist - help the child to feel comfortable with his/her device and promote understanding and acceptance with other children in the class
  • Remember that devices DO NOT return the child's hearing to normal
  • Noisy enviroments will cause grief to the child with a hearing device and noise around the child should be kept to a minimum
  • Check the device often to ensure it is working
  • When using videos - make sure you get the 'closed captioned' type
  • Shut classroom doors/windows to help eliminate noise
  • Cushion chair bottoms
  • Use visual approaches whenever possible
  • Establish predictable routines for this child
  • Provide older students with visual outlines/graphic organizers and clarification
  • Use a home/school communication book
  • Enunciate words clearly using lip movement to assist the child to lip read
  • Keep close proximity to the student
  • Provide small group work when possible
  • Make assessment accommodations to enable a clear picture of demonstrated academic growth
  • Provide visual materials and demos whenever possible.

Language will be the priority area for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. It is the basic requirement for success in all subject areas and will influence the student’s comprehension in your classroom. Language development and its impact on the learning of students who are deaf or hard of hearing can be complex and difficult to attain. You may find that students will need interpreters, note-takers, or educational assistants to facilitate communication. This process will usually require external personnel involement.

This article is one of the "stops" on the Virtual Amazing Race, a lesson plan suitable for grades 5 and up. Students gather research in a webquest of around-the-world topics and (optionally) create a Web site Using PowerPoint.
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