Almost all electronic audio devices (tape players, record players, CD players, even the language master!) have headphone jacks. Headphones can be used with children with hearing impairments to increase volume and minimize environmental/background sounds.
With a classroom amplification system, the teacher's voice is amplified and projected through speakers. It is useful for gaining and maintaining student attention to verbal input as well as assisting students with hearing impairments and auditory processing difficulties in the classroom.
A personal amplification system may be used for children who are hearing impaired with hearing aids to listen to a classroom teacher's speech and to improve the signal-to-noise ratio. This device must be recommended and used in conjunction with staff from the Deaf/Hard of Hearing program. Contact the Pre-K SPED Tech Team for more information.
For children who are hearing impaired and are not able to communicate verbally, a school team may decide to implement picture communication, voice output communication or sign language.
Picture communication can take as many shapes, sizes, forms and degrees of complexity as there are students who use it.
Just a few examples:
Software for combining picture symbols with text may be helpful for a child with a hearing impairment. This software can be used on the computer for planning/recall times or a small group activity that involves writing. Printed pages can be made into books or communication pages. Printed sentences can be cut and pasted into classroom books. Contact Pre-K SPED Tech Team for more information.
Some professionals are hesitant to use voice output with a student who is deaf or hard of hearing, but it should be noted that, in these cases, the voice output is more for the listener than for the communicator. It is less important that the student hears the message than it is that he/she receive prompt and consistent feedback for each communication attempt. Do not immediately rule out the use of voice output with these students without input from a speech/language therapist and/or members of the Pre-K SPED Tech Team.
Simple signs are easy to learn and to incorporate into the daily routine for teachers who have children for whom signing is an appropriate way to learn and use language. For students whose primary form of communication will be sign language, be sure to consult with the student's family and a teacher for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing program.