Students who are deaf or hard of hearing will learn to advocate for their hearing loss, meet their individual goals and participate within their school to achieve their highest potential so they are successful, independent students.
What is a Hearing Impairment?
Hearing impairment is defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as “an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.”
A student may be identified as hearing impaired if an unaided hearing loss of 25+ decibels is present that makes the acquisition of receptive and expressive language skills difficult. A hearing loss of 25 decibels or less, with or without amplification, is considered within the normal hearing limits.
There are two general categories of hearing loss:
- Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve. This type of hearing loss is usually permanent.
- Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound waves cannot reach the inner ear. The cause may be earwax build-up, fluid, or a punctured eardrum. Medical treatment or surgery can usually restore conductive hearing loss.
The definition of hearing loss is not the same for everybody and the different degrees of hearing loss are divided into categories. The most common categories of hearing loss are mild hearing loss, moderate hearing loss, severe hearing loss and profound hearing loss.
What is a Hearing Itinerant Teacher?
The Hearing Itinerant Teacher serves students who require educational services due to a hearing impairment. They travel to multiple buildings to directly serve students and collaboratively works with staff to monitor the impact the hearing loss may have on the student’s educational progress. They act as a link between the school and family of the deaf or hard of hearing child.
The Hearing Itinerant works with the hearing impaired students and classroom teachers on a regular basis to meet the student’s individual needs outlined on the IEP. The Hearing Itinerant Teacher may conduct observations, work 1:1 with students, work with small groups, tutor as needed or push into classroom lessons. At this time, District 158 does not offer a self-contained setting option for students with a hearing loss.
What is the Role of a Hearing Itinerant Teacher?
An itinerant teacher fulfills many roles; a few key ones are listed below:
- Make sure student has appropriate/adequate support services.
- Monitor language development.
- Monitor auditory training and use of auditory equipment.
- Tutoring as needed.
- Formal and informal assessments for the purpose of the three year re-eval or annual reviews.
- Provide the student with independent skills necessary to succeed in the classroom.
- Provide the student with coping strategies.
- In-service teachers and support staff regarding the characteristics of hearing impairments, the use of FM equipment and accommodations they may need.
- Keep in contact with parents and teachers to monitor educational progress.