When children with hearing loss and their families got together to support each other and learn how to advocate for their needs, the reviews were glowing.
"I learned that I have some teacher skills,” said one student. “Maybe I can be a Teacher of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing!"
"It was so good to see I'm not the only parent trying to learn sign language,” said a parent. And, said another, "My little one absolutely did not want to leave. Riverview IU 6 knows how to support children with hearing loss."
This particular seminar, hosted by the Council of Hearing Impaired Parents and Students (CHIPS), was just one aspect of Riverview IU 6’s academic and social supports for children with hearing loss and their families.
In the classroom, hearing loss can present surprising barriers to learning. A teacher turns away to write on the board. A heater blows loudly. Group assignments generate background noise. All can prevent children from fully hearing and comprehending their lessons. If they can’t hear words or phrases, they’re less likely to recognize or repeat them in their schoolwork.
“Hearing loss is like Swiss cheese learning,” says Michael Boston, IU 6 Teacher of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing. “Children miss so much, and there are gaps in their hearing. They have difficulty discriminating between sounds.”
IU 6 personnel work with students to help them hear and perceive correctly, and with teachers and families on educational strategies. Some children might need alternative lessons, assistive listening technology, or help bridging the social gaps caused by communication breakdowns.
One student needed gentle guidance to overcome her resistance to wearing hearing aids, Boston recalls. Before long, she was wearing them all the time, improving her study skills and making new friends.
“It was it a perfect upward slope,” he says. “Her reading and note-taking skills definitely improved. She gained a whole new level of self-confidence. We even decreased services because she’s doing so well on her own.”