Teens with Hearing Loss: How to be an advocate for your education
Figuring out what learning method and environment is best as a student with hearing loss can be frustrating.
It was difficult for me to determine the best methods to succeed in school, but after some years of experimenting, it has become almost second nature for me.
While you’re in school, most likely your parents or other adults have a large say in what makes up your accommodation plan. But you can have a say as well, as long as you approach them respectfully.
Here are my tips for deaf teens to succeed in the classroom:
Get familiar with your hearing technology
When I was younger, I used to remove the extension piece from the back of my hearing aid during recess, since it cut off my hearing if the teacher got out of range. Then, when I went back inside, I would lie to the nurse, saying it fell off when I was playing.
Seriously, don’t do what I did.
If you find that your hearing technology that you use during school don’t work for you, tell someone. Bring up the issues with your parents, guidance counselors, audiologists, and others who can provide support. It’s perfectly fine to say if something when your technology doesn’t help you, and you’d rather stop using it.
My schools were pretty focused on trying out as many different devices and techniques as possible. Keep the discussion going to find the best technology for your needs.
Know your resources
Resources for kids with hearing loss can vary by school. There might even be some times when the school gives you accommodations that don’t really help at all.
This happened a lot when I was younger, particularly in elementary and middle school. I used various FM systems, but nothing made my school life any better.
Unfortunately for me though, my opinions weren’t really considered. I was understandably too young to make big decisions, but when I brought up how the FM device I was using was more annoying than helpful, it didn’t change much – I still had to use them.
Don’t be afraid to speak up. Maybe you need extra training for the accessory, or maybe it’s not the right one for you. Pay attention to specific situations where your technology is working for you and when it’s not.
Connect with your teachers
Some teachers may not know how to best accommodate your needs as a student with hearing loss. I’ve personally had teachers who I found it difficult to communicate with.
In these cases, if you feel that your school or teacher can’t help you succeed academically, and your work is being affecting, you’ve got to talk to a school official or seek outside help.
Rule of thumb: know your options, both inside and outside of school.
Ask your parents to be your advocate
It’s really important to get your parents involved in your education. (Parents of hard-of-hearing/deaf kids – if your child is deliberately sabotaging or ignoring the accommodations provided at school, ask them about whether they like using their technology at school.)
Ssometimes when kids act how I did when I was younger, it’s easy to brush it off as simply just “acting up,” when really they are in need of extra support-
Well, that was certainly a trip down ye ole memory lane. If any of you guys have any other tips or interesting stories from your younger years, let me know in the comments!