Raising and Educating a Deaf Child

International experts answer your questions about the choices, controversies, and decisions faced by the parents and educators of deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

Question from D.B., New York

I have a daughter that has a bilateral severe to profound hearing imparement. She is a well adjusted child socially and does not see herself as different. This confidence that she puts out gives most adults and teachers the impression that she is a normal hearing child. She is behind grade level but when prompted she is at the second grade level and is not the lowest in her grade. The teacher does not recognize that it may not be that she doesn’t understand the concepts but that she has difficulty expressing her answers in the written and spoken language. She is the only case within the district and therefore I am not sure that the district and teachers have taken the time to make themselves aware of her learning abilities and how to evulate them. She has the services of a TOD this year and has in the past but I don’t feel they are using her in the right areas at this time. She also gets a Signs Skill Couch but she is not used to the best of her ability either, the teacher seems very intimidated by having another person in the room that has some control of teaching, even if it is only my daughter doing it. I am looking for an easy way to explain my daughter, her learning style and ability of understanding. I am not sure that they get how her hearing imparement affects the other areas of her life. She does not have that distinct tone to her voice as most hearing impared people do. It is not understood why she sounds normal but that allows others to assume she is normal.
What is the easiest way for me to present my daughter to others so that they can begin to understand her difficulties and hearing abilities?

Question from D.B., New York. Posted March 4, 2011.
Response from Jennifer Adams - NTID

Here are two resources that provide audio for what different degrees of hearing loss “sound” like.   It would probably be helpful for your daughter’s teachers to listen to the simulations so that they can experience the degree to which your daughter is missing out on the speech occurring in the classroom.

http://www.betterhearing.org/hearing_loss/hearing_loss_simulator/index.cfm

http://www.tigerspeech.com/tst_tigercis.html

In addition, it would probably be helpful for the Teacher of the Deaf to put together a resource packet for the classroom teachers about what to expect from a child who is deaf during classroom instruction.  You can actually ask the school district to write teacher training by the TOD into your daughter’s IEP, making it a requirement for those teachers working with your daughter to attend the training.

Another suggestion is to develop a profile about your daughter based on YOUR vision of your daughter and how she functions and works at home and in school to personalize her situation to those teachers.  Include pictures and anecdotes, almost like a scrapbook, to connect them with your daughter and her needs.