It's a gift that I write this for you today. Just this morning, I had a meeting with Lexi and a couple of her teachers to begin the 2nd semester check-in and review Lexi's needs in the classroom, prepping for class and test-taking strategies.
It is imperative you communicate freely and positively with your child's teachers and staff. I've had years and years doing this and what I know is this...you definitely get more flies with honey than with vinegar. I've learned lessons of how "not" to do it. Heck, I'm Italian and a child from a single mom who is naturally a freedom fighter for the less fortunate. Whew...poor teachers.
I have realized that it is so great to recognize that each teacher is helping my child learn to be more resilient, a better learner and sometimes, to work around obstacles of an imperfect system. Even those who I think aren't "cutting it" compared to others, are teaching my child to advocate for herself, become more independent and organized and prepare for future challenges.
To regroup, here are the accommodations or matters of attention that are most important for Lexi. This may not be exactly what is right for your child, but this gives you an idea.
1. PRETEACHING VOCABULARY AND CONTENT PRIOR TO CLASS
Most of our children with hearing aid or cochlear implant technology have language delays/gaps. Preteaching can help the child follow along instead of hearing new, difficult vocal for the first time -- and also learning the content.
So: Identify the places where your teacher provides content
- are they heavily reliant on notes?
- are they using the textbook?
- powerpoint slides for instruction?
I had to ask each teacher to provide the materials they use in class, so I can guide Lexi on which materials to bring home that day for prepping for class the next day.
**This should not take a lot of time. Spend 15-20 minutes reviewing the vocabulary so they don't hear it first in class.
2. Ask for visual notes when you aren't using the projector, etc. (rare)... or even better, projectors and PowerPoints during lecture!
3. Have your child write down words from class lectures that she may not understand and go over after class/in study hall.
4. Prior to grading her tests/quizzes, you'll review any questions he/she may not have understood.
- have your child circle the questions that are confusing due to complex language, use of multiple clauses or the use of negatives. These things can be difficult for children with language delays. Decoding questions and sentences is difficult, especially for our CI/HA kids.
5. You'll continue to review with her and teach strategies for decoding.
COMMUNICATION. POSITIVE, CONSTRUCTIVE, INCLUSIVE...COMMUNICATION
Today was the first time I asked Lexi to join me in speaking with her teachers. The best part was how she could not only hear me advocate on her behalf, she was able to gain insight to some things that she can also use to explain her needs and she observed her teachers being very kind, accommodating and supportive. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT PEOPLE!
Lexi was the one who offered up a solution to writing down vocabulary during class that she may not understand, to review with her teachers. She owned it.
At the end of our meeting, I reminded Lexi and her teachers that none of this is her fault. However, God permitted this to change the world and help families in need.
Take time to empathize with your child while also reminding them to "use their story" (topic for later this week!)
I'll leave you with this...
"Lexi, it's not your fault you were not given a newborn hearing screening. It's not your fault they that when you were tested and you failed a hearing test at 10-weeks of age, we were sent away with 'she's fine, she's just fussy.' It's not your fault they told us to come back in 6-9 months when that should have been 2-4 weeks. It's not your fault your pediatrician was passive. However, this was permitted so the glory of God could be shown in your life land that lives would be changed because of your resilience, your hard work and all you've had to overcome. You are and will be stronger than most your age. Count it a blessing that God chose YOU to be strong enough to endure this journey."