Strategies for Helping the Hearing Impaired in the Primary Classroom

Teaching a hearing impaired child within the setting of a primary school classroom can be challenging but the rewards will far outweigh the efforts. Having a hearing impaired child in a classroom with other students broadens their social awareness of disabilities and the needs of others as well as raises the confidence of the child with the disability and aids in their own feeling of social acceptance. While it may seem like a daunting task to teach someone with a hearing impairment in a classroom full of noisy children, by following a few selective strategies the job becomes much easier.

Primary school consists of the first few grades of school and involves the teacher remaining in one classroom for the duration of the teaching day. This means that the teacher has more one on one time with their students and can accommodate specific learning needs much more easily and tailor their teaching methods in order to reach those students with additional needs. For children with hearing impairments there are many technologies available which can aid in their education such as hearing aids for those with a diminished hearing capacity. Computers also become a valuable and necessary tool for a variety of purposes, most importantly being one of communication and interactive learning.

By using computers the teacher can send email notifications to the student regarding the lesson including notes and assignments as well as aiding them in participation in discussions. Since the hearing impaired student may not realize when another student is talking or when a question has been asked the use of both computers to aid in this as well as visual signs can be crucial to communicating everything that is being said in such conversations. Visuals of all sorts become important and one really great way to aid a hearing impaired student is by using an overhead projector rather than strictly following a lecture plan. When using this technology everything that is said in the lecture and all material to be covered should be included on the overhead layout, that way the student with the disability is absorbing all of the same knowledge that the other students are.

When using computers and other technologies it is important that any type of symbol or warning on the device which may be auditory be changed to a visual symbol which they will take notice of. For extensive projects such as science labs it may be a good idea to videotape certain instructions for them ahead of time. Hands on experiences like this can greatly aid in a student’s understanding of a specific topic and they should be utilized in the classroom. Also, regardless of what technology is being used the pace of the lesson should be adjusted to compensate for the use of visual signs, this will ensure that the overall lesson plan doesn’t fall behind it’s time constraints.