Classrooms are auditory-verbal environments where listening is the primary modality for learning. Hearing loss has grave implications for the educational progress and success of individual students and for the educational system. Educational audiologists are the professionals uniquely qualified to ensure that all students have adequate access to auditory information in educational settings. The roles and responsibilities of the educational audiologist may vary from one educational setting to another, but always extend beyond diagnostics. Educational audiologists connect diagnostic audiological information to the day-to-day impact of hearing impairment and provide a foundational support for the other team members and the student. Unique to educational audiology are skills such as analyzing instructional listening dynamics, recommending modifications for the school environment and educating school personnel and parents to make instruction accessible to students with hearing loss for their academic and social success.
Teachers of the Deaf
Itinerant teachers of the deaf and Hard of Hearing (ToD) travel between schools to provide services for children with hearing loss. It is the role of the ToD to educate, consult with and support the educational team in providing an accessible learning environment for the student with hearing loss. This is accomplished through accommodations which promote optimal access to the curriculum and all materials. Teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing support students using a range of communication modalities including listening and spoken language as well as American Sign Language. Along with pre teaching vocabulary and concepts; the ToD may practice conversational and social skills with a student. She can model appropriate language, turn-taking, eye contact and other communication skills the student needs to develop to be an effective communicator. The ToD also teaches self-advocacy skills including knowing about hearing loss, the use of assistive technology to provide improved access and independent living as well as introduce students to positive deaf role models and provide social-emotional support as the student learns to navigate all aspects of being a person with a hearing loss. The ToD's services may be consultative in nature or direct service to a student. Some students may benefit from support in language development. ToDs consult with the speech therapist to promote acquisition of these skills. Additionally, we can provide direct instruction of skills that relate to language acquisition and use.