“She’s Doing So Well, But…”

If a child with hearing loss is scoring at or above the level expected for her hearing peers, it’s time to celebrate (and graduate)!  But why does this seemingly joyful milestone cause so much anxiety for parents and professionals?  Why do children who are “doing well” still struggle sometimes, and what can be done about it?

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Frequently Asked Questions About Hearing Loss and Education

Here are some of the questions I hear most frequently regarding students with hearing loss and their education, from preschool to college graduation and beyond!

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Testing, Testing…

Testing and evaluations bring up many emotions in parents and children alike.  Used well, a comprehensive evaluation provides a measure of the child’s progress and a road map for the way forward.  But how are you supposed to untangle the web of jargon and questions surrounding your child’s testing?  Let’s discuss…

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Just Right Challenge

Psychologist Lev Vygotsky is credited with identifying the concept of the “Zone of Proximal Development.”  This “ZPD” is the area between what a learner can do without help and what a learner can do with help — that is, it’s the zone where growth and learning really happen.  Zone of Proximal Development sounds impressive, but for me, I like to think of it as the “Just Right Challenge.”

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Back to School Guide for Students with Hearing Loss

Can you believe that August is here already and it’s time to start thinking about getting back into the school routine?  The beginning of the school year is an exciting time, but it can also be filled with anxiety on the part of parents, students with hearing loss, and school staff.  How will other students react to my child’s cochlear implants?  How can I best teach a child with hearing loss in my classroom?  How can I give my students the skills they need to build strong peer relationships?  How can I keep track of my child’s hearing equipment at school?  How do I write a strong IEP?

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Helping Classmates Understand Hearing Loss

In the past month, I’ve had some incredible opportunities to spend time with a group of children I don’t often see — children with typical hearing — teaching them about hearing loss and how better to understand their classmate who is deaf.  They’ve taught me a lot about hearing loss from a child’s-eye view and how we as parents and professionals can help all children be more integrated in their environment.

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Your IFSP/IEP Tool Kit

The process of preparing an Individual Family Service Plan (ages birth to three) or an Individualized Education Plan (ages three to twenty-one), can be a nerve-wracking process for even the most resilient parent of a child with hearing loss.  These meetings can be stressful, emotional, painful, confrontational… and good.  While there are many factors that may be out of your control, there are also quite a few things that you, as the parent, can do to build the strongest case for what your child needs.

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Spice Up Your IEPs with SALSAS

Writing goals for a child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) can be stressful.  This document, which is legally binding, spells out the child’s goals for the year.  While it can be changed and altered as needed, the process of doing so can be time-consuming and difficult.  How can you make sure you’ve written a comprehensive, appropriate IEP for your child or student?  I’ve thought about this questions for a while, and then it came to me… SALSAS!

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Turning Three: Transition from Early Intervention

Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) stipulates that states must provide Early Intervention programs for children with disabilities/delays birth to age three and their families.  Once a child qualifies (criteria vary from state to state, usually, the presence of a significant hearing loss is enough to qualify a child for Part C EI services), the services he and his family receive are governed by an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).  One aspect of Part C is the idea that services should be delivered in the “natural environment” of the child.  Usually, this means that therapists come to the child’s home, but it may also mean daycare, a relative’s house, or another community setting — whatever is “natural” for the child and the family.

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