Bi-Monthly Update: Pace of Learning & Keeping Up in the Classroom

Late November 2017

As you are probably aware, education has changed with teacher lecture becoming less prominent as an educational practice. Typically, new information is presented in a lecture format supplemented by reading material, until students build surface knowledge of the topic. Interaction activities such as classroom discussion, small group work and partner problem-solving are used to solidify surface knowledge and to move students to a deeper level of understanding1. Therefore, how well students are able to participate in the classroom setting truly impacts their move toward deeper understanding.

This article focuses on the ‘unseen’ challenges that children with hearing loss often experience when trying to keep up in the regular education setting.

Continue reading the Early November 2017 Update

Bi-Monthly Update: Brain On? Hearing Device Monitoring is Necessary for Access to Education

Early November 2017

At the October Clarke Mainstream Conference Dr. Carol Flexer emphasized how hearing loss is about the brain, not the ears. Hearing devices are needed to activate the brain and to access spoken communication for learning. While the audience laughed as she said, “Your brain is in your pocket! Oh no!” it is a cruel reality that about 25% of students do not (consistently) use their hearing aids1 and that 50% of children’s hearing aids malfunction on any given day2.

In the US, IDEA specifies3 that for children with IEPs the schools must ensure that the hearing devices worn by students with hearing loss are functioning. Indeed, malfunction rates can drop to less than 1% if an effective hearing aid monitoring program is in place.

Continue reading the Early November 2017 Update

Advocacy In Action

Expectation: Most Children Will be Fully Integrated and Make Progress in the General Ed Curriculum

On March 22, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling in favor of children with special needs (Endrew F. v. Douglas County Sch Dist (Opinion # 15-827, Chief Justice Roberts).

Purpose of IDEA: Congress Acted to Remedy Children Excluded from School with Tragic Pervasive Stagnation
Justice Roberts noted that “[T]the broad purpose of the IDEA, an ‘ambitious’ piece of legislation enacted ‘in response to Congress’ perception that a majority of handicapped children in the United States ‘were either totally excluded from schools or [were] sitting idly in regular classrooms awaiting the time when they were old enough to drop out.’ . . . A substantive standard not focused on student progress would do little to remedy the pervasive and tragic academic stagnation that prompted Congress to act.” (Page 11).

The Court emphasized that full inclusion is the primary standard with the “child progressing smoothly through the regular curriculum.” However, if the child is not fully included, then the school officials must look to the child’s unique needs to develop an IEP which is “pursuing academic and functional advancement.”

IDEA Demands More: Inclusion & Progress in Regular Curriculum; IEP ‘Tailored to Unique Needs’

In defining FAPE for a child who is placed in a setting that is not fully integrated or mainstreamed, the Supreme Court noted that “The ‘reasonably calculated’ qualification reflects a recognition that crafting an appropriate program of education requires a prospective judgment by school officials. . . The Act contemplates that this fact-intensive exercise will be informed not only by the expertise of school officials, but also by the input of the child’s parents or guardians.” (Page 11)

“The IEP provisions [of IDEA] reflect Rowley’s expectation that, for most children, a FAPE will involve integration in the regular classroom and individualized special education calculated to achieve advancement from grade to grade.” (Page 11)

“When a child is fully integrated in the regular classroom, as the Act prefers, what that typically means is providing a level of instruction reasonably calculated to permit advancement through the general curriculum.” (Page 13)

The decision is clear. Being “fully integrated” and “making progress in the general education curriculum” are the keys. If a child is not fully integrated, the focus shifts even more to the “unique circumstances of the child.”

“IEP Must Enable Child to Make Progress: A Plan for Academic and Functional Advancement” 

The IEP must aim to enable the child to make progress. After all, the essential function of an IEP is to set out a plan for pursuing academic and functional advancement.” (Page 11)

In the decision, the Court opened with “A FAPE, as the Act defines it, includes both ‘special education’ and ‘related services.’ §1401(9). “Special education” is ‘specially designed instruction . . . to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability’; ‘related services’ are the support services ‘required to assist a child . . . to benefit from’ that instruction.” (Page 2)

Instruction Must be ‘Specially Designed’ to Meet ‘Child’s Unique Needs’ Through an IEP

Later, the Court returned to these concepts: “A focus on the particular child is at the core of the IDEA. The instruction offered must be ‘specially designed’ to meet a child’s ‘unique needs’ through an “[i]ndividualized education program.” §§1401(29), (14)

An IEP is not a form document. It is constructed only after careful consideration of the child’s present levels of achievement, disability, and potential for growth. §§1414(d)(1)(A)(i)(I)–(IV), (d)(3)(A)(i)–(iv)

Progress: IDEA Demands More

“When all is said and done, a student offered an educational program providing ‘merely more than de minimis’ progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all. For children with disabilities, receiving instruction that aims so low would be tantamount to ‘sitting idly . . . awaiting the time when they were old enough to ‘drop out.’” (Page 14)

“The IDEA demands more. It requires an educational program reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.” (Page 14)

“We will not attempt to elaborate on what “appropriate” progress will look like from case to case. It is in the nature of the Act and the standard we adopt to resist such an effort: The adequacy of a given IEP turns on the unique circumstances of the child for whom it was created. This absence of a bright-line rule, however, should not be mistaken for “an invitation to the courts to substitute their own notions of sound educational policy for those of the school authorities which they review.” (Pages 15-16)

In closing, the Court returned to the importance of both parties being able to “fully air their respective opinions” and that school authorities should be able to offer “a cogent and responsive explanation for their decisions . . .”

Please refer to the document Is the Inclusion Model Good for Students with Hearing Loss? from Supporting Success for more information on full inclusion for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Supporting Success thanks the experts at Wrights Law for this important information. http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/art/endrew.douglas.scotus.analysis.htm Posted 3/23/2017

A Few of the New Features for Interact-AS™

Supporting Success is proud to be the sole source to offer Interact-AS captioning technology to schools!  The new products described below will soon be added to those offered by Supporting Success.

Welcome to the new school year. We’ve got some good news for you. Two of the requests that we received from teachers during the 2016-2017 school year was a way to better support team teaching situations and also student discussion groups. Plus, there were several other suggestions we received. Thanks for forwarding those ideas to us. By partnering together we can help ensure every student has equal access to classroom discussions. Here is a quick summary of how over the summer we took your suggestions and came up with solutions.

Voice Training is No Longer Needed: With Interact-AS™ Version 6 you no longer need to train voice profiles. You still can train a voice profile, and it is recommended that each teacher do this, but training is no longer required. Having the ability to recognize speech without having pre-trained voice profiles means students can now pass a microphone around their group and whatever they are saying will be captioned. Also, a substitute teacher no longer needs to train a voice profile. Instead you can just create a User Account called “Substitute Teacher” and use the default “English Speech” option. Also, training a voice profile is now much faster. Instead of taking about 8 minutes to do this, with Version 6 it only takes about a minute. That was step one in our summer efforts. Next, we worked on microphones…

Team Teaching: To support team teaching situations Auditory Sciences is now offering a new dual-channel wireless receiver. This new Dual Receiver includes a second audio channel, so now two wireless microphones can be simultaneously connected to the student’s computer. You still need to take turns speaking, but two teachers can now easily be part of the same captioned conversation. There’s no longer a need to switch user profiles, or hand over a microphone, or to turn off and on a transmitter. Just turn on your microphone and it automatically connects to the student’s computer. The new Dual Receiver includes a built-in audio output jack. This makes it easier to connect an earbud, headset, hearing aid or CI to the wireless microphone. All you do is plug the device into the receiver, that’s it. Plus, this new receiver includes a built-in digitizer, meaning you no longer need a USB adapter to connect the receiver to the computer. Fewer parts, not as many connections, and more functionality, all built in to a receiver that can still fit in a student’s pocket.

New Handheld Wireless Microphone: The previous handheld wireless microphone was designed for use in adult conference rooms — the setup time was way too long for classroom use. That issue is now solved. The new handheld wireless microphone automatically connects to the new Dual Receiver.

Mix and Match Components: With the new Dual Receiver and handheld and wireless transmitters you can mix and match components to meet your needs. You can use two wireless headsets (e.g., for two teachers); or one wireless headset and one wireless handheld (e.g., for a teacher and a group of students); or two wireless handhelds (e.g., for a large auditorium assembly). Plus, there are more options…

1:1 Teaching or Meetings: In addition to the new wireless components, we also developed a new Y-Cable (part Z.DUAL.CAB) that allows multiple microphones to be connected via cables to a student’s computer. This is an extremely low-cost team-teaching solution ($14.95). It’s a cabled versus wireless option, so this is not a solution designed for use in a classroom, but it works great for 1:1 meetings with the student, or during an IEP where multiple people may be speaking.

More Captioning Options with Multiple Speakers: So, what about situations where you have dozens of people speaking? We’ve got an answer for that as well. We’ve added a new feature to Interact-AS that is called Streamer™. With Streamer™ you can connect as many people as you want to a student’s computer. Literally, you can have hundreds of people speaking, even speaking at the exact same time, and whatever they say is labeled with the speaker’s name, captioned, and displayed on the student’s computer. The way this works is that each person that is speaking needs to have a copy of Interact-AS running on their computer (such as the teacher’s computer). Whatever they say is captioned on that computer and then “streamed” to the student’s desk. The student can view the captioning on any device that can connect to the internet, including iPad, Chromebooks, Android Phones and iPhones. Note that student does not need to install any app on their device, all they’ll do is go to www.streamer.center and enter the name of your Streamer™ account (usually the name of your school) and that’s it.

You can have as many students as you want connect to the Streamer account. So, for example, if you have 20 students in an all-school assembly that want to see a captioning and/or translation of what is being said, with Streamer™ you’re all set. The same for enabling those students to view a captioning of the morning announcements, or an announcer at the football game. The Streamer™ module costs just $99, and like Interact-AS, this is for a permanent unlimited use license.

More Comfortable Teacher Microphone: This past year many teachers requested that we offer a behind-the-head microphone versus the over-the-top version. So, we’ve done that as well. You now can choose the style of microphone that you would like to use with your Interact-AS Captioning and Translation System. You can now select the traditional over-the-head option or the behind-the-head option.

A More Cosmetically Acceptable Student Receiver: For students where “fitting in” is a priority, we’ve developed a receiver that looks like a USB thumb drive. This USB model receiver was designed to be as small as possible. It does not have dual channels (just a single channel), nor an audio output jack for a hearing aid or CI, but it is incredibly small. For some students, this may be the key to having them be excited about using a captioning system. Keep it in mind as an option when configuring a captioning system for your students.

Easier Phrase Building: Interact-AS™ includes at no extra charge the complete set of PhraseBuilder™ features. These are used by students that are non-verbal. This past year many teachers requested an improved way to create and maintain Favorites Lists. These are lists of phrases and/or sentence constructs that students can use to easily ask questions in the class or hold conversations with others. So, we did it. You can now use basically any text editor (such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs) and with a single click convert that document into a Favorites List. Likewise, you can export a Favorites List into your preferred text editor. This new module is free, just ask, and we’ll be glad to send you a download link.

Thanks Again for your Suggestions. Together, Interact-AS, Supporting Success and YOU are making the classroom more accessible for everyone, including students that are Deaf, Hard of Hearing and/or non-verbal. You, the teachers, are the most important members of our team. Thanks for all you do to help so many students !!!

Sincerely,

 

 

Robert Palmquist
President & CEO, SpeechGear, Inc and Auditory Sciences, LLC.

205 South Water Street, Northfield, MN . 55057 | 507.645-8924

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Pace of Learning & Keeping Up in the Classroom

As you are probably aware, education has changed with teacher lecture becoming less prominent as an educational practice. Typically, new information is presented in a lecture format supplemented by reading material, until students build surface knowledge of the topic. Interaction activities such as classroom discussion, small group work and partner problem-solving are used to solidify surface knowledge and to move students to a deeper level of understanding1. Therefore, how well students are able to participate in the classroom setting truly impacts their move toward deeper understanding.

This article focuses on the ‘unseen’ challenges that children with hearing loss often experience when trying to keep up in the regular education setting.v

On the way to deeper understanding: For students with hearing loss, keeping pace in moving to a deeper level of understanding can be very challenging. A favorite study was reported by Christie Yoshinaga-Itano in 20102 and considered language learning of students with hearing loss from age 4 to age 7. There were 4 categories of results: children who were delayed at age 4 and still language delayed at age 7 (45%), those who had language within the normal range and 4 and still did at 7 (35%), those who actually closed their language learning gap from age 4 to age 7 (15%), and 10% of the children had language within the normal range at age 4, but due to lack of access and/or appropriate instructional support, developed a learning gap by age 7. Clearly, it cannot be assumed that just because a student has ‘okay’ language at school entry that they will be able to keep up with class expectations across the academic years.

Background, or world knowledge is necessary to build surface level understanding of a specific topic. Prior knowledge is an excellent predictor of performance. Our students tend to have ‘Swiss cheese language’ with unpredictable knowledge gaps in vocabulary and concepts. They also are often limited in the number of attributes they use to describe objects or concepts, further contributing to their gaps and limited world knowledge. Imagine learning about the conquistadors if you lacked knowledge of geography, discoveries of early explorers, and that there are different countries and they may desire different things.

Examples of Student Misunderstanding of Teacher Instruction

“The Indians were dying because of the drought and the famine.” Student asked: “Why were they dying if they had all that fish?”  Lack of discrimination between d/t and f/s. Student thought the words ‘trout’ and ‘salmon’ were said.

Book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom was being read aloud by the teacher: “A told B and B told C, I’ll meet you at the top of the coconut tree.” At the end of the lesson, when asked to retell what was said the student replied, “Today we learned about cocoon trees.”  Thereby demonstrating that the vocabulary ‘coconut tree’ needed to be pretaught and connected to knowledge of other trees before the teacher read the story.

Filling the gaps. We can expect that surface learning will take longer for students with hearing loss than their typically hearing peers. Students who have a less complete understanding of surface level information are not going to benefit to the same degree, or at the same rate, during interactive activities meant to move them to deeper understanding.  “Closing the language gaps” is not just something that is a nice extra touch to provide to our students if there is a teacher of the deaf available; it is necessary for deeper learning. Add to this the fact that reduced precision listening ability often delays literacy skill development and slows reading fluency. Just teaching vocabulary, without sufficient phonological awareness, will not develop the reading fluency the students need for comprehension at the pace of peers. Filling in the gaps in prior knowledge is necessary if a child is to be able to develop the surface learning that is prerequisite to developing deeper understanding. Without this surface learning, a deeper understanding is not possible.

Conversational inequalities. Research4 has indicated that during one-on-one conversations in a quiet setting, students who are hard of hearing have conversational skills equivalent to their hearing peers. This includes skills for initiating a conversation, maintaining a dialogue over several turns, shifting the topic, and terminating the conversation. In a typical mainstream classroom, there are many choices for communication partners along with background noise, reverberation, and listening at distances beyond 3 feet that interfere with speech perception of students who are hard of hearing. Students with hearing loss make fewer overall communication attempts than their hearing peers. They also often seem unaware when their peers tried to initiate conversation and did not attempt to maintain the conversation. When they attempt to maintain the conversation they generally use one-to two-word phrases to maintain the communication and do not add new information. The research found that in a 1:1 conversation, 75% of the maintenance attempts by children with hearing loss were appropriate compared to 100% for hearing peers. They frequently tried to maintain the conversation by bringing up a topic that was unrelated to the conversation. In other words, they were not aware enough of the content of the conversation to contribute information, so they brought up a new topic.

Thus, educational practices to move to deeper understanding by way of interaction with peers is often very challenging for students with hearing loss. As can be inferred by the research, in quiet settings listening by students who are hard of hearing often approaches or equals peers. Therefore, it is the acoustic access inequality in the classroom that results in conversational challenges for students with hearing loss. This provides a powerful argument for the use of hearing assistance technology (HAT) that will improve perception of peer voices in 1:1 or group settings.

Challenges repairing breakdowns. Another aspect of conversation relates to what a person does when they do not fully understand. One study5 found that persons with hearing loss were able to cue into changes in topic but had much more difficulty when a shift in topic was made during the conversation. The research findings can be summarized as, the more predictable the conversation, the fewer the likely breakdowns. If a student is sitting with a group who maintains their focus on the problem-solving task, the level of understanding is likely much higher than if the student was in a group who wandered off topic repeatedly.  The teacher needs to be aware of this issue when pairing the student with different partners or groups. Moving to a quieter area for discussion will not ensure full participation by the student with hearing loss, but will make participation easier and more likely. Including him or her in a group that sticks to the topic will heighten the value of the exercise for the learner with hearing loss.

Keeping up in the classroom is a challenge for children with hearing loss due to access issues that interfere with understanding conversational communication and the gaps in knowledge resulting from decreased auditory access since infancy (or sign communication with limited language models since infancy). Filling the gaps of vocabulary and phonological awareness is necessary for students to keep up with class expectations for developing surface learning. Access to classroom discussion and for all group activities is a prerequisite for deep learning to occur. Providing the appropriate access technology is a necessity to facilitate deeper learning to occur within the classroom. Selecting appropriate group partners and honing communication repair skills is also critical to students with hearing loss achieving at the same rate and to the same level as peers.

References:

1. Fisher, Frey, Hattie (2016) Visible Learning for Literacy Grades K-12: Implementing the Practices that Work Best to Accelerate Student Learning. Corwin/SAGE, Thousand Oaks, California

2. Yoshinaga-Itano (2010). The longitudinal language learning of infants and children with hearing loss. ASHA Virtual EHDI Conference, October.

3. Meyer, Kym (8/17/2017). Wait – There’s a Student with Hearing Loss Coming into My Class? Webinar viewable at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3ytOawiYuI&feature=youtu.be

4. Duncan (2001). Conversational skills of children with hearing loss and children with normal hearing in an integrated setting. The Volta Review, 101(4), 193-211.

5. Caissie (2002). Conversational topic shifting and its effect on communication breakdowns for individuals with hearing loss. The Volta Review, 102(2), 45-56

2017 © Karen L. Anderson, PhD, Late November Update, Supporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss http://successforkidswithhearingloss.com This information is not intended as legal advice.

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Advocacy Notes

Equal Opportunity to Participate – It’s the Law!

Quick excerpts of a few of the American’s with Disabilities FAQs related to participation.

  • Public school students with disabilities are covered by Section 504 regardless of their eligibility for special education and related services under the IDEA.
  • Section 504 regulations require, among other things, that public school students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in school and that they receive FAPE consisting of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet their individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met.13  
  • In general, auxiliary aids and services make aurally or visually delivered information available to students with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities so that they can receive information from, and convey information to, others as effectively as students without disabilities.
  • Interpreters must be qualified.24  This means that the interpreter must be able to interpret both receptively (having the skill needed to understand what the person with a disability is saying) and expressively (having the skill needed to convey information to the person with a disability).  For example, an interpreter must be able to sign to the person who is deaf what is being said by the hearing person, and voice to the hearing person what is being signed by the person who is deaf.  This communication must be conveyed effectively, accurately, and impartially, using any appropriate specialized vocabulary.25  Thus, a teacher or other staff member who signs “pretty well” is not a qualified interpreter.
  • For a deaf or hard of hearing student, a sign language interpreter or CART may be appropriate where student comments and discussions are part of the class experience for all students, i.e., to enable the student to understand comments and discussions from classmates that all students are exposed to, in addition to what is being said by the teacher, and to enable the student to express himself or herself in a manner that permits the teacher and classmates to fully understand and respond to the student.
  • Once the student has indicated a need for an auxiliary aid or service or requested a particular auxiliary aid or service, the public school district must provide it or an effective alternative as soon as possible. This requirement is separate from the provision of special education and related services under the IDEA.  For example, where the student or his or her parent(s) requests auxiliary aids and services for the student under Title II, the appropriate aids and services must be provided as soon as possible, even if the IDEA’s evaluation and IEP processes are still pending.

Using the Recorded Functional Listening Evaluation Using Sentences

Using the Recorded Functional Listening Evaluation Using Sentences

There is no more effective way to estimate a student’s level of auditory access in the classroom! This functional assessment is easy to perform and can take only 15 minutes. Find the size of your student’s listening bubble and compare speech perception accuracy at 3 feet in quiet/noise to 10-15 feet in quiet/noise.  Examine the results to identify phonemes that are commonly missed or misunderstood.  Read more

Inside:

This 1:15 minute webcast is only $24.00. Purchase the digital FLE audio files and pdfs for only an additional $13.00 ($37.00 for webcast and the digital FLE). Load it onto your SmartPhone, computer, or DropBox/GoogleDocs.  Purchased separately, the FLE on CD is $20.00. Pricing also available for licensing use for your whole district.

2-minute video – very brief demonstration of using the Recorded FLE Using Sentences or on YouTube.

IDEA FROM THE FIELD: I have used the Recorded FLE Using Sentences with a number of our HH kids and they seem to have real speech perception challenges.  I tried the FLE with my 7 year old grandson, whose hearing is fine, and he got almost all the items right. The couple that he missed were corrected by his 4 year old brother who told him what the sentence actually was! I notice that my two CI kids, whose CI team feel they are hearing at 20 dB or better, tend to omit is, past tense markers and present progressives as they repeat the sentences. They tend to get the key words correct but due to missing so much they really don’t understand what is presented. Even when I question them they can’t explain what the idea of a sentence was with clarity. The Recorded FLE has really helped to identify issues beyond simple audibility.          – Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing

 IDEA FROM THE FIELD:  It is important to note not only the errors the student makes in repeating the sentences, but HOW the student repeatsFor example, I had to pause several times throughout the testing to remind one student to repeat any words of the sentences she heard even if she didn’t catch the whole sentence. That wasn’t easy for her to do…it was either repeating the whole sentence or nothing…she was usually able to repeat 2 of the 5 words of a sentence when I paused to ask if there were any of the words she heard.  Another observation of the HOW was that most of the responses she gave at the far distances were as if she was repeating it as a question (e.g., The fruit came in a box???). The few that she clearly repeated as a statement showed her confidence that she was sure of what she heard.  I think these observations are also very important to share when we discuss results of the FLE with the school team. There was much more of a lack of confidence at the far distance.  Plus, it demonstrates the added effort a student has to make to listen.     – Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Brain On? Hearing Device Monitoring is Necessary for Access to Education

Lecturer Dr. Carol Flexer emphasizes how hearing loss is about the brain, not the ears. Hearing devices are needed to activate the brain and to access spoken communication for learning. For children who are hard of hearing, we need to get them through the ‘doorway’ of hearing loss, so information will get to the brain. Any ‘doorway obstruction’ interferes with auditory information reaching the brain. All hearing devices are designed to break through the doorway to get information to the brain.

Being closer to the person talking will help the listener with hearing loss to hear more loudly and clearly. Hearing aids amplify all sound and make it seem louder and clearer at ear level for persons with hearing loss, but never ‘corrects’ hearing to a normal hearing level. They are designed to work best in picking up speech within 3’ to 6’ and amplifying it to an optimal level for hearing speech. Therefore, students with hearing loss have smaller ‘listening bubbles’ or shorter listening ranges than their typically hearing peers.


If a student with hearing aids has two dead batteries, then there is a substantial ‘doorway’ obstruction to him being able to perceive speech clearly enough to understand.  Imagine a child attending class each day, but instead of sitting within the classroom, the student is required to stand outside the room and look in. Is it fair to expect him to learn at the rate of class peers when he does not have the same access to instruction? Because students seem to ‘hear’ the teacher, the impact of the hearing loss significantly reducing comprehension of what is said is very often misunderstood and minimized.


Hearing aids and FM/DM systems do not restore normal hearing, but they DO provide much improved access to verbal communication that would otherwise be auditorilly impossible to the child with hearing loss. The Americans with Disabilities Act2 requires that schools ensure that communication for students who are deaf and hard of hearing are as effective as communication for others through the provision of appropriate aids and services affording an equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement as that provided to others, to participate in and enjoy the benefits of the district’s services, programs, and activities.

It is a cruel reality that 50% of children’s hearing aids malfunction on any given day1. In the US, IDEA specifies3 for children with IEPs, schools must ensure that the hearing devices worn by students with hearing loss are functioning. This requirement underscores the value of working hearing devices and their necessity if a student with hearing loss is to receive a free and appropriate public education, while the ADA focuses on the discriminatory nature of denying full access to classroom communication.  With an effective hearing aid monitoring program in place hearing aid malfunction rates can drop to less than 1%1.


IDEA Sec. 300.113. (a) Each public agency must ensure that hearing aids worn in school by children with hearing impairments, including deafness, are functioning properly. (b) (1) Each public agency must ensure that the external components of surgically implanted medical devices are functioning properly.3


Although the law provides no specifics on who, how or how often hearing device monitoring will occur, there is clear intent that the school bears the responsibility to ensure that this monitoring occurs. This need for monitoring and data gathering was reinforced by the outcome of a 2015 court case4 that ruled that a school violated the IDEA record keeping clause (34 CFR 76.731 ) by not keeping a daily log of whether or not the student was provided daily access to the FM/DM system required by the IEP, and if the student used the FM/DM system each day.


In order to verify that the hearing device monitoring activity has occurred, the school needs to have a record of data that provides evidence of hearing device monitoring, including the daily presence and use of the FM/DM system if this communication access accommodation is included on the IEP.   


Checklist for Monitoring Responsibilities. Do You/Does Your School District:

1. Include teaching hearing aid independence skills to students as a goal on the IEP or as part of ADA accommodations on the 504 Plan. Hearing devices can malfunction at any time. ONLY the student – with training –  is able to immediately identify when a problem arises, and is in the best position to troubleshoot the device and/or request assistance.5   See SEAM skill hierarchy.

2. Have administration knowledge and support of the legal requirement to perform regular monitoring and necessary data collection. Without clear support from the principal, classroom teachers often view hearing aid monitoring as a ‘good thing to do if they have time’ rather than a required activity.

3. Require that a teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing or educational audiologist meet with classroom teachers and provide instruction in how to monitor hearing device function, including involving the student in monitoring, and delineate expectations for necessary data gathering.

4. Provide clear expectations for data collection processes/forms to be used, how often data needs to be collected (i.e., daily), where it needs to be kept, and who is ultimately responsible for ensuring that monitoring and data collection occurs.

What about students who don’t use their hearing devices?

While it may seem funny to turn to a child not wearing their hearing aids and say, “Your brain is in your pocket! Oh no!” it is true that about 25% of students do not (consistently) use their hearing aids6. Rejection of hearing aids can be due to lack of support from home. If the family is not supportive of the child using hearing aids, the student may feel as though they are being disloyal to what parents want by wearing their hearing aids at school. If the family does not want amplification to be used, it should not be included on the IEP and there needs to be a clear understanding of reduced academic achievement expectations and risk for social issues. Children can often reject their hearing aids when malfunction issues frequently occur as they learn they cannot rely on hearing better via the technology. Instruction in hearing aid use, monitoring, and troubleshooting is necessary for equal access to education. Finally, as students enter 3rd grade and beyond, having no preparation for resilience to teasing by peers too often results in students rejecting amplification secondary to social rejection concerns, even if they know that the amplification is important for learning. Most students with hearing loss are in their neighborhood school with no other peers who use hearing devices. Developing an identity as a person with hearing loss is not possible without feeling a part of a group of okay kids who happen to have hearing loss and use hearing devices. The direct involvement of a teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing to instruct students in self-advocacy skills and connect them to similar peers is needed if rejection of hearing devices due to social reasons is to be minimized. Refer here for more information on this intervention.

References

1. Langan, L. & Blair, J.C. (2000). “Can You Hear Me?” A Longitudinal Study of Hearing Aid Monitoring in the Classroom. Journal of Educational Audiology (5), 34-36.

2. Summary of ADA information related to students with hearing loss.

3. IDEA Sec. 300.113. (a) Supporting hearing aid monitoring (b) (1) Supporting cochlear implant processor monitoring.

4. Detroit City School District., 115LRP 31115 (SEA MI 06/12/15). Written summary of court case findings.

5. Instructional materials for 43 separate goals for hearing device independence can be found in Building Skills for Independence in the Mainstream.

6. 2017 Supporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss Survey: Children Rejecting Hearing Devices: Who, Why, When? Findings for 88 respondents representing a combined caseload of 1863 students.

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Bi-Monthly Update: Tailoring Assessment for Eligibility for Specialized Instruction

Late October 2017

Tailoring Assessment for Eligibility for Specialized Instruction

Description: C:\Users\Karen L Anderson\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\Depositphotos_127559380_m-2015.jpgThe great news is that early identification of hearing loss, improvements in hearing technology, and parent involvement in high quality early intervention services REALLY WORK to improve developmental outcomes by age three. Even so at least 40% of children have the cognitive capacity for higher language levels. All too often transition teams who are evaluating students for eligibility upon school age to deem that they are ‘fine’ and need no extra services or supports.

Can he qualify? Yes! This is possible IF there is someone on the multidisciplinary team who truly understands the impact of hearing loss on development AND knows appropriate assessments to use to tailor the evaluation process to the risk areas of students with hearing loss.

Read more about appropriate assessment for students with hearing loss


Steps to Assessment

Guide to Identifying Educational Needs for Students with Hearing Loss

Description: C:\Users\Karen L Anderson\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\Steps to Assess 4.jpgTeachers who use this guide will have a much better understanding of the vulnerable areas of development due to hearing loss, how the areas interconnect, and ultimately how they are the experts in using the ‘deaf lens’ to contribute to their evaluation teams and service planning. The focus of this 290-page guide is appropriate assessment practices for children from transition to school at age 3 through high school. Categories of assessment are presented, as are ways to tease out information from assessment results to illustrate how to identify needs to support eligibility.

Download this Informational handout describing
Steps to Assessment to share with your Team!

Read more about Steps to Assessment


What’s New? National Microtia Awareness Day is November 9th!

Last year’s first national awareness day was amazing! Families and deaf educators raised awareness with their children at school and helped educate about hearing loss, hearing devices, and Microtia and Atresia.  Supporting Success was one of a number of websites that spread the word about National Microtia Awareness Day. If you would like to purchase an official National Microtia Awareness Day t-shirt or any awareness accessories, you can do so by going to the front page on Ear Community’s website at:  www.EarCommunity.org  Order deadline is October 20th, 2017. 

Read more about Microtia/Atresia on the SSCHL website


Tons of functional performance checklists ready to use or email

If you know and love the Building Skills for Success in the Fast-Paced Classroom book you know that there are many functional assessments throughout the book. Documenting Skills for Success: Data-Gathering Resources was developed following many requests that e-versions of the tools be provided so that they could easily be shared with and completed by classroom teachers and/or the teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing during assessment or progress monitoring. It is intended as an electronic supplement for individuals who have already purchased Building Skills for Success in the Fast-Paced Classroom. Unless someone is purposely monitoring classroom performance over time, emerging gaps can and will be missed!

Documenting Skills for Success has more than 57 tools from Building Skills for Success. There are 10 additional data-gathering tools that included in this e-publication. Of the 67 files, 42 are computer-fillable pdfs.

Read more about Documenting Skills for Success: Data-Gathering Resources


Haven’t seen the new Teacher Tools flippable e-Magazine format yet?    See the FREE Promotional Issue!

Description: C:\Users\Karen L Anderson\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\KKV logo with STRONG.JPGDescription: C:\Users\Karen L Anderson\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\Teacher Tools box logo.jpgThe new format allows members to quickly page through ALL of the materials. A good fit for busy, on the go teachers! The October e-Magazine was packed with over 50 pages of information and teaching tools to have at your fingertips! The November issue will be posted in one more week!
JOIN NOW!     We already have almost 1000 members!     LOGIN NOW

We need more Kool Kidz Vidz! You will receive a $50 coupon for Supporting Success products as our Thank You to you. If you have a student grade K-12 that you would think would be great at stating who they are, challenges, and what they do to help themselves, then consider submitting a Kool Kidz Vid!  A terrific culmination activity for self-advocacy, self-determination, and transition skill goals.


More about Evaluation and Eligibility:

Description: C:\Users\Karen L Anderson\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\Depositphotos_28179053_s-2015.jpgFind more information on the Supporting Success website:

 

Download an eye-catching evaluation results summary form you can customize HERE.


The big 5 – Can you guess???

Description: C:\Users\Karen L Anderson\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\Depositphotos_13884242_m-2015.jpgI am often asked, if I had to choose, which would be the most important assessments for teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing to routinely use during eligibility and 3-year evaluations.

  • We need to consider the vulnerabilities specific to our students with hearing loss.
  • We need to gather information that will reflect educational performance issues common to our students who may be doing ‘okay’ academically.
  • We need to have assessments appropriate for students using all communication modalities.
  • We also need to be able to speak strongly about the need for teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing and educational audiologists to be important members of the evaluation team who perform assessments specifically tailored to the vulnerable areas of our students.

See if you guessed right!!!


Steps to Assessment Workshop – Experience this 9-hour workshop with your DHH team!  

Description: C:\Users\Karen L Anderson\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\TNL-2.jpgNever before has it been as important for teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing to be directly involved in assessing student skills and needs. With increasing numbers of students entering school with low average language skills and ‘pretty good speech’ school teams are more resistant to finding them eligible for services. And yet the access issues related to hearing loss cause many subtle areas of need in our students that the standard assessment practices often do not address. This Workshop will inform you of which areas are most critical to assess, why this is so, how to assess, and provide some recommendations on appropriate assessments that can be used. You have 300 days to view the 9.25 hour webcast and can view the 7 modules of 60-90 minutes each in whatever order you prefer. Purchase it for individual view or discounted group rates for your whole DHH team.

Read more about the webcasts


Advocacy Notes – Children with Disabilities in Virtual Schools

Description: C:\Users\Karen L Anderson\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\Depositphotos_129509528_m-2015.jpgSuccess in mainstream classrooms when you have a hearing loss is often a substantial challenge for our students. Increasingly, parents are exploring the option of enrolling their student in virtual school learning programs.  In August, 2016, the US Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services issued a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter defining school’s responsibilities to students with disabilities enrolled in virtual learning settings. The letter affirmed that virtual schools must carry out the requirements of IDEA as must physical schools.

Read more for specifics for virtual schools


Do any of your students need captioning for equal access? Consider Interact-AS!

Description: C:\Users\Karen L Anderson\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\screenshot of InteractAS.JPGDo any of your students need captioning for equal access? Consider Interact-AS!

Interact-AS has been used successfully across the US and Canada, especially for secondary students who are hard of hearing. Do you have a student with good reading skills who just can’t quite keep up with the instructional content presented in the classroom? Interact-AS also now has options for captioning of small group discussions.
Read more for the new developments in this speech-to-text captioning software.

The next FREE webinar demonstrating and describing the use of Interact-AS captioning will be on October 24th at 1:30 PM CT. One clock-hour CEU is offered for any interested participants.

Register for the free October webinar HERE


Upcoming Presentations

Description: C:\Users\Karen L Anderson\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\Depositphotos_4757785_s-2015.jpgby Karen Anderson, PhD, Director of Supporting Success
October 19-20 – MA (Marlborough)
November 2 – MB (Winnipeg)
March 29 – TX (Houston)
April 10 – IL (Tinley Park)

Now booking for Summer 2018 Presentations!

Read here for more detail

Upcoming Presentations

Karen Anderson, PhD, Director of Supporting Success

  • February 26 – March 1 – invited Denmark presentations
  • March 29 – TX (Houston)
  • April 10 – IL (Tinley Park)
  • October 18-19 – VT (VSHA – Vermont Speech, Language, Hearing Association + Outreach Consultants)

Now Booking for Summer 2018 Presentations!

Contact info@successforkidswithhearingloss.com for more information on specific speaking engagements.

Refer here for more information on presentation services.

 

February 26 – March 1: Denmark presentations – pending.

March 29, Houston, TX. Region 4 ESC Workshop. Supporting Full-Participation of Students with Hearing Loss in the Mainstream Classroom. Outreach via TETN to other ESCs across Texas.

April 10, Tinley Park, IL. ISRC Behavior Team Training. Self-Advocacy. Holiday Inn Conference Center, Tinley Park, IL.

October 18-19, 2018, Vermont, Speech Language, Hearing Association and DHH Outreach Staff Training.