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TEACHING STRATEGIES FOR THE DEAF AND HEARING IMPAIRED

TEACHING STRATEGIES FOR THE DEAF AND HEARING IMPAIRED

The above link has some great information for anyone who lives or works with HOH or deaf persons.

As many of you know, I have had a hearing impairment since I was a small child.

My parents never purchased hearing aids to assist with my hearing loss because they said the only suggestion from the professional staff at Temple Hospital in Philadelphia was to move my seat to the front of the classroom.  Now that would be fine if the teacher stood in the front of the classroom, close to me, facing my direction all day long.  But we all know that wasn’t the case back then or even now-a-days.  But especially back then because teachers relied heavily on the chalk board to help teach their students.  So sound was going away from my direction throughout the day.  Also, during group discussion (question and answer times) Hard of Hearing kids cannot hear what the other kids who sit across the room from them are saying.  And if the HOH kid raises their hand to ask for the information to be repeated, they get accused of not paying attention.  So this becomes an embarrassment to the HOH kid.  Then they get labeled as a daydreamer, slacker, doesn’t pay attention, and doesn’t listen.

I passed every school year with a C average (mixed with some D’s, some B’s and very few A’s and F’s).  And I graduated with my high school class.  Not bad, considering kids with a mild to moderate hearing loss like myself achieve on average 1-4 grade levels behind their hearing peers without intervention.  And yet,  I was made to feel that I was not performing well and was punished at home for my bad grades and for not working to the best of my ability because I was “not listening” and “not paying attention.” Go figure!

I’m thinking this would have raised some red flags for some parents but somehow these obvious signs for my known diagnosis went on mute ears and deaf minds.  My family treated my hearing impairment like a lame excuse rather than a contributing factor.  They basically ignored my diagnosis and I became the bunt of the jokes in the family.

Maybe it was a sign of the times back then.

As a result, I hardly ever acknowledged my own hearing loss growing up because my family rarely acknowledge that it was a part of me and who I was as a person.  I was considered to be “slow”, an air-headed, and a host of other negative connotations.

As for me, I never disliked being HOH and I embraced that part of me.  I just disliked the way others perceived and treated me. And the lack of support I received from my family did not help my self confidence.  Being expected to perform at a level equal to my siblings and peers when we were not entirely playing on a equal field was frustrating.  I truly believe that if my parents would have taken more interest and worked with the teachers or defended me sometimes, I could have excelled more academically and socially.

When I started my new job at the end of last year, I acknowledged my hearing impairment to my new employer and told them straight up, I am HOH, I wear hearing aids and this is how I hear.  They were very understanding and even allowed me to speak to our department in the monthly meeting.

So my questions is, did any of YOU have a similar experience where your family and/or educators ignored or seemed to “forget about” your diagnosis?

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2 thoughts on “TEACHING STRATEGIES FOR THE DEAF AND HEARING IMPAIRED

  1. My husband is dyslexic. During his school years (he was born in 1946), no one knew what it was or understood how to deal with dyslexia. He was beaten, sent to psychiatrists (“Bobby just isn’t trying hard enough. He’s not performing to the best of his ability.” Etc.) and eventually sent to military school because the people in authority (including his parents) did not teach him in a way his mind could process. Not at all his fault, but the burden of his childhood.

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    • I was talking with a friend and discussing how not only the parents were unaware of all these issues but teachers and even the doctors were oblivious. So many things have changed. Thanks for sharing your story.

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