Helping children to reach their full potential.

Starting School: Getting Prepared

The beginning of the school year is fast approaching, and with it comes an exciting milestone for many children as they step into the classroom for the first time.

With so many new experiences and changes to routines ahead, preparation is key to success – particularly for families preparing a child who is deaf or hard of hearing to take this big leap.

Former teacher and Hear and Say Listening and Spoken Language Specialist, Jayne Simpson Allen said that it was natural for children to experience some first-day jitters. However, there were many steps parents and carers could put in place to ensure their child hit the ground running and thrived at school.

“The unknowns of starting at a new school can be daunting for many children, so it’s great if you can visit the school before that first morning drop-off, and point out areas like their classroom and where they will play at lunch break,” said Jayne.

“In the lead up, involve your child in fun decisions like choosing a new schoolbag, pencil case or lunchbox, and try to encourage positive thinking while acknowledging your child’s likely mixed feelings and emotions.”

For parents and carers of a child with hearing loss, meeting with their teacher before the start of the school year helps the child to be best supported to learn in their new classroom.

“Working with your child’s teacher from the outset to understand your child’s specific needs goes a long way in best helping them access the sounds around them, and to get the most out of their classroom experiences,” said Jayne.

“Considerations include the background noise levels in a classroom, where a child is seated, using assistive listening technology such as a clip-on microphone or SoundField system, and how a teacher can engage additional cues and resources when introducing new routines, topics or vocabulary.”

For children enrolled in Hear and Say’s Early Intervention program, listening and spoken language specialists will support families in making this transition smooth, including one or two visits to the school throughout the year where possible.

Contact Hear and Say by clicking here or phoning 07 3850 2111, to find out more about how we can help you and your child succeed through this exciting milestone.

Are you an educator looking to support a student in your classroom who is deaf or hard of hearing? Hear and Say offers a four-hour online webinar covering a range of topics including hearing loss and its impact on accessing learning techniques; strategies to enhance a child’s functioning in inclusive settings; facilitating development of social skills; and considerations for school readiness. For further information, please click here.

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Maia’s Story

At 9.10pm on 24 October 2013 our beautiful daughter Maia was born. 

The moment of elation was short-lived as we immediately noticed her left ear was missing. I frantically looked to the medical team around me for answers but received none.

Panic set in as we waited 4 days in hospital for an ENT to explain her condition, by which point we already had all the answers from Simone, who runs the Microtia and Atresia Program at Hear and Say.

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