Contributed by Debbie Clason, staff writer, Healthy Hearing
And just like that, summertime is almost over. As you prepare for the annual back-to-school frenzy, your days are likely filled with a rush of activities designed to set your child up for a successful school year. If your child has hearing loss, make sure your back-to-school list includes securing the services of an educational audiologist.
What is an educational audiologist?
An educational audiologist (EdAud) is a hearing healthcare professional who works with children with hearing loss to make sure they receive maximum support in the classroom. This may include making recommendations for acoustic modifications in the classroom, fitting hearing assistive technology and counseling parents and teachers about your child’s hearing loss.
In many school systems, an educational audiologist is part of the team which develops Individualized Education Program (IEP). Once the plan is in place, the EdAud can fit hearing assistive technology (HAT) to each child requiring it and make sure each child is able to access the curriculum.
How to advocate for your child
Because educational audiology is a related service under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), your child is entitled to have access to an EdAud. In a July 2017 article for Wrightslaw, Educational Audiologist Kym Meyer provides these suggestions for securing this important resource for your child:
- Write educational audiology into your child’s IEP. At the beginning of the school year is a good time to review this plan to make sure it is included.
- If your school system does not employ an EdAud, ask them to find one. An EdAud can be a consultant from a hospital, university, school for the deaf or another school district as long as they are a licensed audiologist in your state. If your school system doesn’t have an EdAud, another school district may be willing to share their EdAud services.
- If your school system says they cannot find an EdAud, Meyer suggests searching for one yourself. Ask your child’s audiologist if she is able to provide this service or contact the Educational Audiology Association to see if there is one in your area. Other parents of children with hearing loss may also be good resources.
Once an EdAud has been identified for your child, touch base with them on a regular basis. Keep them informed of any physical or social developments and ask questions about your child’s progress. The more the EdAud knows about your child and his hearing loss, the better equipped she will be to customize the services your child needs in order to be successful in the classroom.
Finally, don’t wait for school-administered hearing tests to tell you how well your children are hearing. Hearing loss affects speech and language development and can also negatively impact school performance if not detected quickly. Before school begins, have each of your children’s hearing evaluated by a qualified hearing healthcare professional. If you don’t have a hearing healthcare professional you trust, search our directory for audiologists near you.