Once a hearing impairment has been identified, the next step involves creating a plan of action, or the Individual Education Plan (IEP), that meets the abilities and needs of the student.  It is important to do this by using a team approach.  Table 3 below describes the various team members. The team can be comprised of a variety of educational specialists, such as a certified teacher and assessment professionals.  The team also includes a variety of other health professionals such as Occupational Therapists, Audiologists, and Speech and Language pathologists. The composition of the team will depend on the needs and abilities of your student.  Hence your team may not necessarily include all the people listed below.


Table 3

Educational staff

Role

Visiting teacher or Hearing Support Teacher

  • Assesses and evaluates the needs of each child 
  • Explains the impact of hearing impairment to staff and students without a hearing impairment in terms of current and future implications
  • Assists teaching staff understanding of audiological equipment (such as sound amplification technology)
  • Offers support to the student (such as note-taking, assisting with concerns related to academic work, social matters, audiological issues, speech, listening, language and literacy goals)
  • Provides advice on adaptations to the school environment needed for the student
  • Assists with educational programming for the student
  • Providesadvice to teaching staff regarding instructional and classroom management strategies 
  • Liaises and consults with parents and outside agencies

Health Professional

Role

Occupational Therapist

  • Develops daily living skills (educational skills such as writing, and self-help skills such as washing, dressing, eating)
  • Advises on special equipment, aids and adaptations to the environment to maximise independence.

Physiotherapist

(Physical Therapist)

  • Assesses student’s gross-motor skills (ability to sit, stand or walk)
  • Recommends exercises to develop motor skills, increase flexibility, balance and coordination
  • Provides mobility aids

Psychologist

  • Provides psycho-educational assessments
  • Identifies student’s learning style and educational needs
  • Addresses learning, behavior and emotional concerns
  • Provides counseling as needed.

Social Worker

  • Provides family support and counseling
  • Supports the family in accessing community services
  • Assists the student in accessing programs in the community

Speech/ Language Pathologist

  • Assesses communication skills
  • Provides communication intervention (Receptive skills intervention may include awareness of sound, localization of sound, discrimination of sound differences, recognition of sound and comprehension of speech.  Expressive skills intervention may include developing breath control, vocalization, voice patterns and sound production. Social skills intervention could involve support with making friends, requesting clarifications, problem solving skills and developing a positive self concept.)

In conclusion, teachers can work with a variety of professionals to plan an appropriate educational program that will help the student with hearing impairment participate successfully in the classroom. This chapter has provided an overview of hearing impairment by detailing information on how we hear, how hearing is assessed, ways of identifying students with hearing impairments in the classroom, and learning characteristics of students with hearing impairments.  Additional information has been provided on the types of professionals who can be of assistance in diagnosing and educating students with a hearing impairment.