We have a bit over a week until Christian starts Kindergarten. And I'm anxiously awaiting both a classroom teach assignment and our itinerant teacher assignment. We've got the new backpack, new shoes, and the IEP is in place. Here's some other Back-to-School things I have planned to ease the transition regarding Christian's hearing loss:
-Conduct joint-meeting with our in-class teacher and itinerant to give background and go over specific proven strategies for Christian.
-Present in-class teacher with a prep-kit that includes an adaptation of these cards that AG Bell has developed, as well as Tips for Teachers (page 7) from this Cochlear Americas resource. (Check below for our version of the prep sheet)
-Continue auditory rehabilitation on newly implanted ear with our fantastic private SLP through the fall.
-Conduct programming and MAPping appointment the 3rd week of school with our equally fantastic private audiologist.
I'm also packing up his little backpack kit with his extra batteries, battery covers, and tape and trying to figure out a way to keep it safe and snug but also accessible in his new backpack. He's going to be great, and we absolutely are confident in our school. But, I'm his Mom. And it's my job to worry.
As you may know, our son Christian has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) due to his hearing loss. If you have not received a copy of Christian’s IEP, please see the principal for a copy, and discuss with her how to best ensure the agreed upon goals are met. While the IEP outlines Christian’s formal educational goals, we wanted to share suggestions that will help us succeed together from day one. Please keep in mind that cochlear implants (CIs) do not “fix” hearing, like glasses fix poor vision. Christian’s cochlear implants help enhance his hearing, but additional assistance is still needed. We’ve listed some strategies below that help Christian to better understand conversations and classroom lessons. We are looking forward to a successful year working with you.
It helps Christian when:
Ø Classroom directions are repeated. It’s easy for Christian to miss things that are said quickly and it is important that he not fall behind or appear to be misbehaving by not following directions.
Ø People speak clearly and he’s able to see their faces. Please try not to cover your mouth with paper or books, or talk with your back towards the class.
Ø He doesn’t stand out amongst his classmates. If you are concerned he missed something you have said, please check with him in a subtle way.
Ø He is able to sit close to the point of instruction whenever possible, whether it is you, videos or other activities.
Ø The whole class understands that it’s important to speak clearly and one at a time. Directions and assignments are available in writing.
Ø He is able to share or compare notes with a classmate or you, as appropriate.
Ø He is able to anticipate the schedule and is alerted of any changes in routine. Visual schedules are a great tool for Christian.
Ø Christian’s Cochlear Implants help him hear much better, but he doesn’t always understand what he hears especially if the room is noisy or if people talk too fast and on top of each other.
Ø We are happy to talk with you about Christian’s Cochlear Implants. We will feel better knowing that you understand how his hearing technology works.
Ø We plan on keeping a kit of supplies Christian’s backpack that will include extra batteries. We do not anticipate him needing to change his batteries, but it may happen. He will do his best to do so in a quick and timely manner, but please do allow him time to troubleshoot. He can’t hear without his CIs.
Ø Christian’s kit will also contain extra tape strips that he uses to help adhere his CIs behind his ears. He may need to change the tape after gym or recess when he is sweaty, so please help remind him to check to see if his CIs are staying on ok. Please remind him to check if his CIs are ok before and after playground.
Ø Christian has a remote control that he uses to change the settings of his Cochlear Implants. Please allow him to keep this remote in his backpack and to be able to readily access it during times of transition. We anticipate that he will want to change his program before going into the noisy lunchroom. Please allow him time to do this.
Ø Christian’s CIs and remote cannot get wet. If a water activity is planned, please call us to make arrangements.
Ø Please ensure that NO other students touch his CIs or remote.