Educational audiologists – an important resource for your hearing-impaired child

For children with hearing impairments and their families, an educational audiologist can be an invaluable resource. According to the Educational Audiology Association these professionals specialize in delivering comprehensive support services to children in educational settings. They serve as a critical linchpin between a child who needs support and the successful delivery of those services in school. While the child’s hearing may be impaired, the educational audiologist makes sure that learning is not and that a full spectrum of appropriate support is made available to the child.

Educational audiologists provide comprehensive clinical services that range from diagnosing hearing problems to finding the right supportive technology that may enhance hearing and learning. The services can include:

  • Diagnosis, management, and treatment of hearing and balance problems
  • Performing specialized assessments that help to facilitate listening, learning and communication
  • Recommending hearing assistance technology
  • Monitoring personal hearing instruments and their performance
  • Providing and recommending support services and resources

 

Working with the hearing-impaired child from the very beginning
As soon as a child with a hearing impairment enters an educational setting of any type, an educational audiologist (EA) should be part of the child’s support team. For example, the EA will work with children and their families as they transition from early intervention to preschool programs. It’s the audiologist’s responsibility to monitor their progress and make sure that technology, learning, and communication systems continue to match their needs. This can include:

  • Advising parents and teachers on communication choices for optimal hearing
  • Helping parents to understand the hearing loss and its impact on the child’s speech and language development
  • Ongoing monitoring of skills development in speech
  • Observing and assessing the child to collect data necessary for the appropriate selection of technology and placement in educational programs.

 

Support in higher grades
As the child grows and progresses through school, the educational audiologist can serve as a powerful advocate. As members of the multi-disciplinary team at the school, the EA can provide the evidence needed to ensure that the child receives the services and technology needed to hear and learn. As an advocate, the educational audiologist can:

  • Counsel the child to promote personal responsibility and self-advocacy
  • Help the student maintain performance levels
  • Collaborate with private sector audiologists
  • Help the student transition between educational levels and schools
  • Team with other school professionals to facilitate student learning

 

The bottom line is that educational audiologists make sure that children can be successful in the classroom. As a professional who has a 360 view of a child, the degree of hearing impairment, and the specific learning environment, they are in a perfect position to champion their best interests at school. This may include:

  • Recommending modifications that improve acoustics in the classroom
  • Participating in the plan development of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that support a child’s learning
  • Ensuring the child can access the curriculum being taught in the classroom

 

It’s the law
These are meaningful services that most school systems provide to support student success. However, it is also the law. If your child is not receiving support services in school, the law supports your request that they be provided. Specifically, the regulations are included in The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

If your child has a hearing impairment, make sure an educational audiologist is part of his or her support team from the first days of learning. Ask your child’s audiologist if he or she can recommend one. If not, call the Educational Audiology Association and ask for one in your area. The EA can ensure that your child does not lose step with speech and language development in the early years, and has full access to classroom learning – just like every other child.

 

 

References
Educational Audiologist Role Defined: http://edaud.org/educational-audiologist-role-defined/
The Educational Audiologist’s Role in EHDI and On-Going Hearing Surveillance in Young Children: http://www.edaud.org/advocacy/7-advocacy-07-10.pdf
Educational audiologist: an important resource for your child with hearing loss: https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52897-Educational-audiologist-an-important-resource-for-your-child-with-hearing-loss
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): https://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm#anchor62335
Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973: https://www.dol.gov/oasam/regs/statutes/sec504.htm
Disability Discrimination FAQ: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/frontpage/faq/disability.html
Accessing the Sounds of Learning: https://edaud.org/