Every child with hearing differences has unique needs, and each one requires different attention to those needs. Talking to the parents will help identify those needs and how to address them. The children may also want to be part of the conversation.
- Be sensitive to how children who are hard of hearing feel. Some might be very comfortable talking about the hearing loss and others may find it difficult to ask for help or admit that they can’t understand speech.
- Be aware of children with hearing loss who may be present in the classroom. Hearing aids may not be visible (or may have been taken out). Children who are intent on other people’s faces may be reading lips. Children who look bored or inattentive may not be hearing you and may be afraid to tell you so. Young children may not yet be diagnosed.
- Some children may have systems that allow the leader to wear a microphone to best facilitate the child’s hearing. Make sure you understand the system and how it works so you can use it in your setting.
- Arrange the room so everyone can see each other. Ensure that only one person speaks at a time. Encourage the children to raise their hand before responding and point to the person speaking. In a large group, ask the child who is speaking to stand. These visible cues can help direct the attention of children with a hearing loss in the right direction. Repeat what was said. Children with hearing loss may have caught part of what was said, but not all of it. Since it is impossible for them to tell you what part they missed, avoid asking questions like, “Did you understand what was said?” or “What did you miss?”
- Think of ways to communicate learning that is not verbal or based on sound (i.e. learn a song using sign language; teach stories with pictures). Keeping in mind the end goal of learning and understanding the Word of God, be creative in trying new ways of learning and teaching that do not rely solely on sound and hearing.