If a deaf child is in your class this school year, you may be asking “does my teaching have to change?” and wondering how everyone will manage.
Everyone Is Individual
The first thing to remember is that all children are different, so take some time to get to know your new pupil for themselves, as a small person.
What’s their personality like? What do they like / dislike? Who’s in their family? Have they any pets at home? How do they get to school?
What – And How Much Do They Hear?
It’s a good idea to have met your new pupil’s parent or guardian informally, maybe at an open afternoon or parent-teacher session.
How much does your pupil hear, and are hearing-aids worn? Is the loss in one, or both ears?
As term starts, keep communicating with the parent / guardian, especially in the early weeks while everyone adjusts to their new school routine.
Learn to manage your pupil’s hearing-devices, like changing a battery, or testing a radio aid or soundfield system if they’re too young to do this.
Hearing-Awareness At School
Other children in the class may ask what their classmate’s hearing aids are for. Ask their parent / guardian how they explain this themselves.
Think about how your pupil communicates their needs? Are specific words or signs used, eg, for a drink, for the toilet, home-time, etc?
When reading with the class, seat everyone in a circle and make sure your pupil can see you without facing into a bright light or a window.
They may like to read the same book for themselves, or with a teaching assistant.
Visual Education and Reading Ability
In the classroom, hang pictures and collages with labels. Everyone’s reading will benefit, and the children will recognise themselves on a photo-poster.
Labelling items around the classroom teaches incidental reading and makes the classroom a language-rich environment for all pupils.
Make sure your face is visible at all times when speaking to the class, and while talking, don’t turn your back or move around the room if possible.
Don’t treat your pupil any differently. Just be practical and don’t draw attention to any misunderstandings in front of the class.
Including a deaf pupil in your classroom can be a new challenge, but the local visiting teacher will offer advice and experience in resolving issues.
* Lights – Action – Sound! Positively Teaching Children With Hearing Issues
* Visual Learning In The Preschool & Primary Years (PDF file)