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11 Learn About Techniques and Technology that Assist Learning in the Classroom

So Your Child has a Hearing Loss: Next Steps for Parents

Classroom support aids enhance the listening and learning environment for your child. Aids can refer to pieces of equipment or strategies for learning. Not all of the support aids listed below are necessary for every child, and some are needed only as your child reaches middle school age. You can work with the classroom teacher to set up a supportive classroom environment for your child. Whatever you and the IEP team decide is important to meet your child's needs, document in writing.

Possible Classroom Support Aids under IDEA for Children who use Auditory Approaches

Classroom Support Aids Definition
Preferential, or favorable, Seating Sitting close to the teacher or other speakers, in order to optimize listening and visual clues.
Sound Field System An assistive device that improves listening in noisy or reverberant environments (like classrooms). Like a mini loud-speaker system, a sound field system amplifies the decibel level of a teacher's voice. Small speakers in the classroom bring the enhanced loudness to all students. Teachers enjoy using the sound field system because it saves wear and tear on their voice.
FM System An assistive device that improves listening in noisy environments (like classrooms). The teachers voice is transmitted by a microphone worn on his/her lapel via radio waves to the student, who receives the sound through a receiver that connects to the child's hearing aids or cochlear implant. For most children in the mainstream, an FM system is an important supplement to hearing aids and cochlear implants. Can be provided by the school for classroom use.
Notetaker A person with normal hearing takes classroom notes for the student; often the notetaker is another classmate with good note-taking skills. Note-taking becomes increasingly important at the middle school level.
Captioned Videos A caption line, similar to printed English subtitles. Captioned videos can be played on any T.V. manufactured after 1993, or with older sets using a separate device called a closed caption decoder. Teachers need to check that videos are captioned; unfortunately, most videos are not and it is very difficult for anyone with a significant hearing loss to follow an uncaptioned video. For help in finding these captioned videos, see the reference section.
Oral Interpreter A qualified professional who serves as a link between the speaker and the student. The oral interpreter silently mouths the words of the speaker, augmented with natural gestures. Supports understanding with the use of these strong visual cues. OI is usually introduced at the middle school level. The student has the right to the provision of an oral interpreter; however the lack of trained OIs limits availability. The school may need to train someone to provide this service.
C-Print Captioning C-Print is a speech-to-print system in which a hearing captionist (transcriber) types the words of the teacher and other students as they are being spoken into a lap-top computer. Students who are deaf or hard of hearing can read these real-time exchanges on a second lap-top computer or TV monitor. Additionally, the text file is stored and can be edited, printed and distributed to students after class. C-Print is designed to replace both interpreters and notetakers in the classroom. Contact AG Bell to learn more about C-Print.
Cued Speech Interpreter A qualified professional who serves as a link between the speaker and the student. The cued speech interpreter silently mouths the words of the speaker and simultaneously uses handshapes to cue the child as to what sounds are being spoken. Students have the right to a cued speech interpreter; however the lack of trained CSIs limits availability. The school may need to train someone to provide this service.
Acoustical Improvements This refers to minor changes/additions to classrooms designed to reduce ambient noise; acoustical improvements include: carpeting, acoustic ceiling tiles, double-paned windows, installation of a lower, sound-absorbing, suspended ceiling in older, higher-ceilinged classrooms, use of thick draperies at windows, elimination of background music, rubber tips on chair, table and desk legs, repair of heating/cooling/ventilation-associated noise, and avoidance of open-plan classrooms.
Real-time captioning "Real-time" (instant) transcription of speech by a
real-time captioner (someone using courtroom stenographer equipment). The real-time captioner enters the lecture or classroom dialogue into a computer which shows up on a video screen or laptop computer which the student then reads. Currently the cost of classroom transcription is high and some schools oppose its use for this reason. However, a number of parents have been successful in obtaining its use in the classroom.


© 2011 by Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

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