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Supporting Each Other: Teachers of the Deaf and Educational Audiologists

It’s
a typical Monday. One of your students has a dead hearing aid battery. Another
is experiencing some static through her FM system. In another classroom, the
student pass-around microphone is no longer synced with the soundfield tower.
As teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing we are called upon to troubleshoot,
re-sync, inspect and clean amplification on a daily basis. We know our students
and their equipment well and have no choice but to learn how it all works
together! Teachers and other school staff come to depend on us to help resolve
problems with the hearing technology, including equipment malfunctions. But
this is only one part of our job as the bulk of our time is spent consulting
with staff and directly instructing our students. The ideal situation would be
if every school we work in had an educational audiologist on the team. School
teams may not understand the need for both an audiologist and a TOD so we have
to make efforts to help them understand the role we each play in the student’s
education. When there is no educational audiologist on the team, there is
generally little or no contact between the audiologist and the school. It is
critical that the TOD and audiologist collaborate and communicate regularly to
ensure optimal access for our students in school.

In
explaining the differences and overlapping responsibilities of the TOD and
audiologist to school staff, some factors to consider include:

     

Additionally,
teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing see the application of hearing technology
in the classroom and the student’s access. We have important information to
share about a student’s academic progress, speech and language development,
auditory comprehension and equipment use in the classroom. We must also
communicate with the audiologist around problems with equipment in case
adjustments need to be made. I find communicating with the audiologist via an
email the easiest but phone calls or in-person visits are sometimes options as
well.

Audiologists
are knowledgeable about equipment and the student’s hearing needs from
observing the student in the booth. They must communicate about technology to
the TOD/HOH including changes in FM settings, adjustment to CI maps and HA
settings (e.g. activation of noise reduction options) as this will affect the
student at school. This information is often communicated in reports which can
be sent directly to the TOD with parent permission.

Teachers
of deaf/hard of hearing and audiologists are both important members of a
student’s team. How do you collaborate with your student’s audiologists?

Hear Me Out

Hear Me Out is produced by Mainstream Services at Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech as part of our mission to support children with hearing loss and the professionals who serve them.

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About the Hear Me Out Blog

Itinerant teachers of the deaf (TOD) provide direct services to children with hearing loss in mainstream schools, consultation to their teachers, and professional development to school staff. Itinerant TODs travel to a child’s neighborhood school to provide one-on-one educational support, foster listening and spoken language development, and help children build social and self-advocacy skills. They also act as a liaison between the family and their mainstream school. Hear Me Out provides a unique forum for these special teachers to share their experiences as they grow as professionals.

Hear Me Out is produced by Mainstream Services at Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech as part of our mission to support children with hearing loss and the professionals who serve them.

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About the Author

Heather Stinson (CAGS, MED, S/LP-A) received her master’s degree in Education of the Deaf from Smith College in 2006 and a graduate certificate in Children, Families, and Schools (with a concentration in research methodology) from the University of Massachusetts in 2012. In addition to her many years of experience working with children with hearing loss who communicate using listening and spoken language, Heather has also worked as a preschool classroom teacher.

Heather has presented both locally and nationally on issues related to mainstreaming students with hearing loss and is a contributing author to Odyssey magazine. Heather currently works as an itinerant teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing at Clarke Mainstream Services, a program of Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech.

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