For many parents of children with hearing loss, choosing a school for your deaf child can be overwhelming.
Should we send him to a mainstream school or deaf school? What is the best hearing technology for his classroom? How do I inform his teachers about his hearing loss?
I haven’t ever really had apprehension about Harry doing anything before. He seems to take the world in his stride and hasn’t ever struggled. But school is such a big step, its important and grown up.
All of these fears I know are probably all the thoughts that every parent has when their offspring are going to be starting school, but perhaps because of his hearing loss, my worries for Harry feel a little greater.
Harry is currently in childcare for 3.5 days each week while I work, so we are used to being apart for quite long days. However he is in the company of just a very small group of little ones, as opposed to a classroom of 30+ children.
I am a little worried that he will be overwhelmed with noise. He loves being around other children. He communicates and plays well, but I think 5 days a week of constant business and sound could be quite exhausting for his little brain. I worry that he will be behind his peers, his speech is doing incredibly well, but I just don’t know if he will be on par with the other four and five-year-olds in his class. I worry that he might get left out or looked at funny for having his cochlear implant equipment on his head.
Concentration fatigue can be common among deaf children in school. It’s caused by heavy amounts of concentration required during normal day-to-day activities, and usually kicks in when deaf people have to lip-read, sign or listen to somebody for a long period of time.
To combat this, it’s important to inform teachers of your child’s hearing loss, and use hearing technology in the classroom.
In terms of the type of school, we have decided to send Harry to a regular, mainstream school.
The professionals working with Harry don’t seem to see any issues with this, but are interested in helping us to make our decision. I think this will be really helpful in terms of looking at if a school has the right acoustics for a child with cochlear implants and how the work in terms of support for him.
I think a smaller school would be good if we can find one, as working in smaller groups will only be a benefit to Harry. I am going to take my time picking a suitable school, even if I have to visit a couple times to make the decision!
I’ve also been reading a lot of tips for going to school with hearing loss, and found these, “7 Tips for Going Back to School with Hearing Loss,” particularly helpful.
Do you have any other tips for looking for a school for a deaf child? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!