Preparing Your Child With a Cochlear Implant for School
How will my child manage the school environment? Will they be able to follow the lessons? Will they make friends? These are just some of the questions that parents may ask themselves before their child starts school. Guiding your child through this period so they feel confident when starting school is essential for the social and academic success of children with CIs. Here are tips on how to prepare your child for their first day of school.
Teaching Awareness and Confidence About Cochlear Implants
- Make sure your child is aware of the listening environment in the classroom. Remind them to get closer to the person speaking or move to a quieter corner.
- Teach your child to not be shy and ask lots of questions. Practice with role-play scenarios at home to increase your child’s confidence and help them learn what type of questions to ask.
- Teach your child to ask clarification questions when they don’t understand something during the lesson. The best way for them to learn is to practice at home. Some helpful questions are: Can you repeat that?, I didn’t understand—can you repeat the last word?, Can you explain that phrase again?, or just simply I don’t know what to do.
- Teach them to raise their hand before asking questions or when they want to talk. This way, they will learn to be patient and wait for their turn as well as ensure that only one person is talking at a time.
- Practice sentences and words that your child can use when talking to peers, teachers, and other school staff. Also, try to pre-teach vocabulary to help your child prepare for lessons.
- Check for understanding by asking open-ended questions such as: What will you do next?
Communicating With the Teacher
- Maintain regular communication with your child’s teacher and school staff. It is important to inform them about your child’s cochlear implant, individualized education plan, and learning style.
- Offer help and knowledge to your child’s teacher, if needed. This will motivate them to support your child’s education.
- Provide the teacher with resources about hearing loss and cochlear implants to ensure easier preparation and communication.
- It can be helpful to check out your child’s classroom and get a visual understanding of the setup. This can also help optimize your child’s understanding during lessons.
- Remind the teacher to speak clearly and use visual cues, as well as reduce background noise and other distractions during lessons.
- Inform the teacher about Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs), such as FM systems or neckloops, and how to use them properly to help your child hear.
Managing Hearing Technology
- Teach your child to do basic troubleshooting of their device independently and report to the teacher when something isn’t working properly.
- Make sure the batteries are working when your child leaves for school and they have spare batteries in their schoolbag or in the classroom.
- Teach them how to talk about their audio processor with confidence in front of other peers and teachers.
- Before leaving for school, make sure your child is hearing optimally. Check their audio processors and battery, and run a quick Ling Six Sound Test. This way, you can ensure your child is hearing well throughout the school day.
- If your child uses Assistive Technology (for example, FM systems), remind them to ask their teacher to turn the technology on. Teach them how to describe the purpose of this technology to their teacher and classmates.
Making Friends and Communicating With Classmates
- Encourage and practice the proper way to start conversations with peers.
- Few children will admit that they do not understand something in a conversation. To repair communication breakdowns, it is important for children to learn some strategies like saying: Can you say that again slower? or Can you say that in a different way?
- Getting someone’s attention or joining a group of peers who are already playing together can be difficult. Role-play situations at the dinner table or in the car on the way to school to teach your child ways to interact with classmates during playtime.
With these tips, your child will have the knowledge and skills they need for a successful school year. They will be confident about wearing their audio processor and know how to manage hearing technology. And they will be able to communicate with their teachers and classmates with ease.
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The content on this website is for general informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Please contact your doctor or hearing specialist to learn what type of hearing solution is suitable for your specific needs. Not all products, features, or indications shown are approved in all countries.