How to Educate Teachers About Your Child's Hearing Loss
Parents, as you begin to prepare your child for a new school year consider preparing your child’s teacher(s) as well by sending an “introductory” or “re-introduction” letter.
The letter allows you the opportunity to provide any new or pertinent information regarding your child’s hearing status, remind the teacher about any specific needs your child may have, and it offers the teacher an opportunity to make classroom preparations for your child that may be necessary for an optimal learning environment. Finally, the letter opens the door for consistent, positive communication for the year to come!
Below is a sample outline detailing the information you may want to include in your letter or email to your child’s teacher(s).
Also below is a sample email by Kelin M., Cochlear recipient, who annually proactively reaches out to her teachers to provide information on her hearing loss and how she can work with them to accommodate her needs in the classroom to ensure her best success! If your child is old enough, consider encouraging him/her to be their own advocate in hearing success.
Sample letter outline for parents:
Date: [Date you are writing the letter]
To: [Teacher’s name]
Re: [Insert your child’s name]’s hearing loss and the classroom this school year
Dear [Insert teacher’s name],
- State the reason for the letter
- Include a picture of your child for familiarization of your child’s face
- Provide an overview of your child’s hearing loss, including current hearing status with what hearing device(s) they use, and any new changes in health or development.
- Provide background information on your child’s hearing loss in the classroom. This would include information regarding last year’s educational placement and anticipated needs this year.
- Restate your child’s hearing needs including providing information on your child’s hearing devices:
- Include any literature or user guide information on your child’s hearing loss device(s).
- Provide contact information for your child’s audiologist and when his/her last appointment occurred.
- Provide the manufacturer support information including the website and customer service contact information in case the teacher can’t reach you or your child’s audiologist.
- Provide guidance to the teacher regarding the importance of your child wearing his device all day, every day. Clearly state what settings the device should be on and the importance of verifying that the device is working each day and how to accomplish daily listening checks.
- Restate your child’s hearing needs in the classroom, including:
- Outline any classroom accommodations that may be necessary. These would include preferential seating, use of Wireless Mini-Microphone 2+, FM/Roger systems, list any special services they will be pulled out for and provide an overview of any physical limitations your child may have.
- Highlights of your child’s IEP including any additional services they will be receiving this new school year.
- Provide information on all school personnel that will be working with your child this school year.
- Outline some potential boundaries to access for your child and easy things the teacher can do outside of the IEP, including eliminate background noise by shutting the door, face the students when speaking, avoid obscuring face with hands/objects, closed captioning, etc.
- An overview of any summer services your child participated in and include copies of any pertinent reports that you want the teacher to review prior to the start of the school year.
- Summarize again the reason for the letter and why it is important to you.
- Thank the teacher for their time and efforts on behalf of your child.
- Highlight the importance of open communication between the entire educational team that supports your child.
- Provide your contact information and the best time to reach you.
[Sign your name]