Hearing loss in public school

This is my first post being new to this forum. Both my kids(6 and 3) have bilateral sensory-neuro sloping mild/moderate hearing loss. Both are aided. My daughter was homeschooled for kindergarden but we are considering public school for first grade. Any of your experience as a child with hearing loss or as a parent of a child with hearing loss would be helpfull making this decission. Thanks

I am assuming you are in the U.S…your children should have an IEP, individual educational plan to address needs…go speak to the principal before school starts to see what the process is for your school…although I have never used an FM system with my students, we have classrooms set up with the system for children who are hard of hearing…you must be the advocate for your children and research what others have for their children in the public schools so you can ask if these things are available…your speech therapist at the school/county should assist you as part of the team who will help your children…good luck! Rosie

Hi Geow
my son is 14 now and about to start high school. He was diagnosed with a bilateral moderately severe to severe cookie bite loss at 16 months old and aided immediately. We were also immediately referred to the county school system’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing program. Starting at 18 months old we have been working with the school system with him. For the first two years it was in home speech therapy twice weekly.

Starting at 3.5 he started going 5 days/week to a regular elementary school that had the DHoH preschool program in it. Here they did more intensive speech therapy and taught the kids in three modalities - oral, cued speech and sign language. They evaluated what worked best and then for kindegarten they split the kids up into three different elementary schools based on their communication needs. My son has always been in the oral group. For kindegarten he did half a day with the small DHoH group and half a day with the mainstream regular kids (the school had a half day K program so it did all of that and got extra with the small group). For first grade he spent 2 hours a day in the DHoH group (which was about 5 kids and 3 teachers) and the rest of the day mainstreamed. By second grade he was fully mainstreamed. The program provided him with a FM to use so the teachers wore microphones. We kept him in that elementary school through 5th grade since all the kids and teachers were very accustomed to the kids with hearing aids.

For middle school he chose to go to his home school since it had a magnet program (aerospace engineering) that he was very interested in. For the first time in 10 years he was the only kid in the school with hearing aids. He still had the use of the FM system and he had someone come in from the DHoH program 1-2 times weekly to work with him and his teachers to make sure his needs were met. This and all his other accomodations were provided by his IEP that he had since K. He weaned himself off the FM and doesn’t use it now.

In a couple of weeks it’s another new school as he starts high school. He has become very accomplished at self advocacy and does wonderful in school (all A’s and B’s in honors classes). I attribute his confidence in dealing with his disability to the intensive intervention he had in elementary school. Starting them dealing with the issues young before they have a chance to become more self conscious and vulnerable to peer pressure is important. Kids that young are pretty flexible.

I think it is important that you work with the school to make sure that an IEP (individual education plan) is put in place and followed carefully. Ask about FM systems and other accomodations like speech therapy, preferential seating, closed captioning etc.
I don’t know that other school districts have such a fabulous program like our DHoH program but it doesn’t hurt to ask about it.
Good luck

I am in northern New Jersey, USA. My daughter was enroled in the Pre-K program for children with disabilities at our public school when she was three. Her IEP was for 3 20minute group speech sessions a week, and one 30 minute by her self. She was in a class with almost all autistic children, this turned out to be a bad placement, so we pulled her out and provided her speech, physical and ocupation therapy ourselves. Before this she received early intervention services with a speach therapist, physical therapist, and a teacher of the deaf. This was only for 18 months as her hearing loss was caught late at 18 months. We learned a lot from my daughters experience so my sons hearing loss was found early and aided. This made a huge difference in his speech.
Maureen, it sounds like you have a very good program for children with hearing loss. Where was the school with the DHoH school located? Was it in your school district or was it an out of district placement.

It wasn’t our home school but it was only a 10 minute drive from us, so maybe 2-3 neighborhoods away. We are in a suburb of Washington DC. I think because Gallaudet University is local we may have stronger DHoH programs than many areas.

I’m thinking your preK program may be different than what you’ll find with an IEP for them in elementary school. I can see where they tried to give services but may not have had a specific program in place for HoH at that age level. But for elementary school where you will be looking for special ed services in the regular classroom I don’t think that you should have all the same issues. It should involve pull outs for speech and other therapies as needed but most instruction in with the other (hearing) kids. There should be in class accomodations for preferential seating, closed captions, hopefully a provided FM system and training for the teacher on how to use it.

You should be able to initiate an IEP meeting now before the school year begins so as to get things in place right off the bat.

Good luck.

edited to add - my son got door to door transportation to the school as part of his IEP. Perhaps if your neighborhood school won’t accomodate as you prefer - look to see if others will. Don’t know if that will fly or not though.

We requested an IEP meeting which will be next week. Our district does not have staff in August when the extended year program has ended. so I guess they will not have a FM system in place for September. The principal at the elementary school told my wife that she didn’t think they could/would want to use an FM system, which is not supprising.
Last time we requested the meeting in May, but they would not do any testing untill after the school year ended in June, so testing started in July. The FM system that was in the IEP was not even ordered in September when school started. We pulled my daughter out after seeing that this was a poor placement. We did and continue to use a private speech teacher (who works at a speech school)and a speech clinic at a local university. This along with homeschooling has worked well, but were/are very expensive. Thats why we are considering the public school.

Did your son have any issues with the understanding the teacher using the FM system? Did it cause confusion when she was talking to other students? Is there anything to make our daughter aware of when using the FM system?

Hey…when you have your IEP meeting, you may want to ask your private speech therapist to be there if possible…then she can be a support for you and help make the goals for the IEP…as Maureen has said, special settings in the classroom, FM system (I would insist that this be in place in the classroom, even if the children end up not wanting to use it…search “using FM system in the classroom” on this forum to see if there is more info. for you…I have not used one in my classroom with my children so I don’t know how sound is)…teachers must follow the IEP’s for the children…as a parent, you can request meetings and I would do it in writing as well as a phone call…although an FM system may not be in place right away (depending on your district…sounds like Maureen is in a very good one!!) if it is written in the IEP it will need to be done…at my school, our special ed. person, speech therapist, grade level teacher and parents (with other support people) are usually present…we are there to give the children what they need to be successful…I hope your school has that goal in mind as well…good luck! Rosie…kindergarten teacher in NC:)

The FM system is tied to the hearing aids through boots. Originally the school provided a different set of hearing aids (i.e. not his personal ones) with the boots and the teacher wore a microphone. He could hear both the teacher and environmental sounds and learned which to pay attention to.
The problem developed with him when we bought him new hearing aids (his third set - Phonak Naida SP) that were newer and better than the school aids. Then he didn’t like switching. After that we bought him the iCom and the boot for the FM hooked into that. That worked well for a while until he lost the boot. He was 13 at that time and I think was starting to not like the extra work/attention from others/whatever tweaks a teenager’s mind and stopped using it. Little Turkey still wore his iCom and passed the microphone around to his teachers for a while before it came out that he lost the boot. Since he was gettng all As and Bs we let him stop using it (and I felt very fortunate that the school system did not charge me the $700 for the boot).

I think one key will be teaching the teacher how the FM works. If he/she can learn to flick it off when they are not addressing the whole class (or heaven forbid when they go to the bathroom) then that will help lots. Otherwise it will be a learning process for all. It will also be important to properly program the balance between the FM volume and the hearing aid volume. We’ve been fortunate in having the DHoH program to take care of all these issues for us. They have a staff audiologist who programs all their equipment and has worked with my son since he was diagnosed. She even helped us twice to buy his personal aids (we paid, but she ordered them) and she programs them for him.

I agree that your speech therapist will be valuable in helping if she is willing to attend the meeting.

To go along with what others have said here, you have to be very active in advocating for your children. Some school districts can be resistant to things like FM systems and expect children to “deal with it” and consider putting them in the front of the classroom sufficient to deal with a hearing loss issue. Such was the case in the school district where I grew up, and I know that my mother (an AuD) and several speech therapists from the community really had to go to bat for some of the HoH kids in the system.

I hope this isn’t the case where you live, but be aware that it happens.

With all the budget cuts going on in public schools, some districts are cutting everything even IEP’s.When I taught IA we where told we had to provide everything the IEP called for there was no exceptions. A friend of ours son has numerous learning disabilities and his IEP was basically being ignored by the school claiming they didn’t have the funds to pay for his special needs. After hiring an attorney and spending a lot of money the district found the cash to pay for their sons needs.

We decided to homeschool for one more year, mostly because we like the quality of education. My wife is a certified special education and elementary education teacher and has taught the first grade, along with the resource room for grade K to 5. We will continue with the University speech clinic and a private speech teacher who works in a DHoH school durring the day. Your input was helpfull, as was the experience of a students in public schoolsl who have hearing loss, although they were not from our district. It appears some districts are better than others, ours is not so good based on past experience and talking with profeshionals who interact with them. Thanks again for your input.

I know what its like to where hearing aids, in an school, it was hard for me, as in the mid 80s and early 90s, the kids were mean to me, I understand now that they never knew somebody with an hearing loss before and I didnt learn any sign language, but I’m glad i did go to school b/c it helped my to interact with people with good hearing, and made some good friends along the way, anyway, I’m 30 now and totally accepted my hearing loss now, i love that i sleep and not hear anything that would wake me up, you get good sleep lol, my hearing is severe to profound

Hz L R
250 80 90
500 75 95
1000 75 90
2000 70 110
4000 70 NR
8000 100 NR

I found out I was born with this and my mom had suspious that i was hard of hearing when i was 11 months old and didnt get fitted for my first pair of hearing aid til i was 2 1/2 b/c of how things were in the early 1980s, wow i missed out of my first 2 yrs of hearing anything lol… I never learned sign language, taught myself to read lips when i was a baby, also the dr told my parents i was never gonna talk , well i proved them wrong now i talk too much (only b/c i have too much to say)

Ive used to FM system, it worked very well, I only heard the teacher, it did help me alot in grade school, from 3rd grade to 6th grade, when i got older i wanted to fit in more so i stopped using that system