How To Choose A School For Your Kid With Hearing Impairment
Most parents are terrified when their hearing-impaired kids have to start school. Will the school know how to cope with the kid's impairment? Do they have experienced teachers? Are there adequate facilities for the hearing impaired? Those are some of the questions that may plague your mind while looking for a school for your kid. It doesn't have to be a herculean task, however, if you start early enough. For example, you can use these three criteria to sort the suitable schools from the unsuitable ones:
Evaluate the Available Resources
The first step is to evaluate the resources of the schools you are considering. This evaluation should include everything from human resources and physical structures of the school. For example, you need to know if the school administrators and teachers have experience in dealing with hearing-impaired children. You also need to evaluate the acoustics of the classrooms as well as the class sizes.
For example, you can ask the school if their classrooms' acoustics are in line with the recommendations of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI has a guideline on how classroom acoustics should be reduced to facilitate effective learning of all students, including those with hearing impairment. Though compliance with ANSI standards is voluntary, many schools make an effort to do so, so there is no harm in asking.
Solicit Personal Advice and Recommendations
While it is good to research schools online and evaluate what they say about themselves, it's also advisable to get advice and recommendations from other parents. The personal experiences of the other parents will help you evaluate whether the school would be a good fit for your kid. For example, the parents can share their experiences on how the school treats their queries and concerns. Does the school listen to parents or does it have a know-it-all attitude? Note that a school doesn't have to implement the recommendations of parents. It's perfectly all right if the management ignores parent's suggestions as long as it takes the suggestions into considerations and offers reasons for their rebuttal.
Consulting Hearing Loss Associations
Apart from talking to other parents, you can also consult local associations dealing with hearing impairments. Such associations often have relevant data on local schools, and they will offer you unbiased advice. A good example of such an association is the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), which provides help and resources for people living with hearing impairment. Of course, the best thing you can do for your kid is to get them medical help and (hopefully) have their hearing impairment corrected. However, some forms of hearing impairments don't have permanent cures. If that's the case, you just have to help the child get used to their hearing and get them into the best school possible.
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