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Empowering understanding: a smooth transition for Indy

My daughter has bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and wears hearing aids. At the age of eight, we decided to change schools as we had moved house and wanted her to go to the local school.  She was doing well at her current school, both academically and socially.  Her schoolmates had grown up with her wearing hearing aids and didn’t think it was anything unusual. 

We were very keen to make it a smooth transition and ensure that her future classmates would understand her hearing loss and use of hearing aids. We were confident that giving the students some knowledge was the best way to limit negative experiences.

We met with the Principal and the Year 2 teachers at her new school and proposed doing a presentation to the students before the end of the school year.  Indy was due to start at the beginning of Year 3.  The school was very accommodating. I drafted a short presentation giving simple explanations about hearing loss, the benefits and limitations of hearing aids, and the reason for using other assistive devices in the classroom.  I asked Indy if she wanted to be involved in the interactive presentation and thankfully she was keen to do so. 

On the day of the presentation, we stood at the front of the Year 2 students and teachers and asked if anyone had grandparents or friends/family that wore hearing aids. We explained that hearing aids are everyday devices that help people to hear.  

We passed around some of my daughter’s old hearing aids for the children to look at, showed them the Roger FM that the teacher would be wearing and the handheld microphone that the children could use in the classroom for interactive sessions. We talked about the small adjustments needed to help Indy hear, such as making sure they get her attention before talking to her, letting her see their mouth while talking, and the importance of her itinerant support teacher.

Towards the end of the presentation, we involved the students in a little game. They took turns using the remote microphone, which was connected to Indy’s aids. Indy left the classroom and went out into the hallway.  The children were prompted to quietly ask a question using the remote microphone and then Indy would come back into the classroom and answer their question.  Her future classmates were very impressed!

The transition to her new school the following year went very smoothly. There was no fuss made and her peers were very accepting of her.  We were so glad we had done the presentation to her new classmates!

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