Involving the School

The school is the larger system that needs to be involved in assuring a positive experience for the student with a hearing impairment.  The climate of this environment can have a tremendous impact on the student’s attitude and adjustment, also providing an opportunity for students without disabilities to develop an appreciation of commonalities despite differences.

Suggestions:

  • As a counselor in the school environment, you are in a unique position to foster relationships among students.  Create opportunities for all students to work together outside the classroom. Invite students with auditory impairments to work on projects with other students, assigning tasks with which they feel comfortable, so you can promote a sense of collaboration.
  • Provide opportunities for the student with a hearing impairment to communicate personal experiences in a small group so others can understand both the uniqueness and similarities of struggles and needs.
  • Establish a group for students with disabilities who are functioning at similar cognitive levels to provide a sense of support. The student with a disability needs to be aware of membership in the larger community of the school, but also to be able to share common experiences with others.
  • If the family is not familiar with groups dedicated to serving the needs of individuals with hearing impairments, provide information to the family and student about groups within the immediate area as well as the state and nation.  It is important to determine the family’s perspective on the Deaf Community since there may be considerable differences in levels of identification. Parents who have hearing impairments themselves may already be involved and can serve as resources for others. If this is the first experience with this impairment, families may need to be introduced to available resources. Their level of acceptance of their child’s disability and the degree of identification with the Deaf Culture may be an issue to be addressed in an on-going manner throughout the student’s progress through the educational system. It is important for the student and the family to have a sense of empowerment and utilize their energies in productive ways.