Since April 2013, a family in Cork has driven 45 minutes each way to and from school, only for the student to receive one hour of schooling per day.
After a cochlear implant 18 months ago, the student is now verbal and the hearing-unit at his school is no longer able to support his altered needs.
Seven months on, the story is similar. According to the family, the fault is not with the State, but with the school, which should be working as a team.
School Stories Can Be Positive, Too
Positive school-stories resulted to this story on Sound Advice’s Facebook page:
Everyone’s hearing-story varies, and many children in today’s education system were late identified, with the knock-on language delay and need to play constant learning catch-up with their peers in mainstream classes.
With newborn hearing tests now in Ireland, today’s infants are benefiting from early detection and digital hearing-devices – plus parent/teacher insights to hearing issues – which will improve the childrens’ life prospects.
In this particular student case, some primary factors are notable:
- Transition from a class of 6, to a class of 30, needs advance planning.
- The student has no interest in using Irish Sign Language – he is verbal.
- The school’s staff is not yet trained to work with verbal deaf children.
- Contact time with ‘new’ classmates is needed in any transition period.
Education Provision (And Training) Lags Policy
Provision is still needed for deaf children to have planned transitions from hearing-units (as relevant), into mainstream classes when they are late to cochlear implants. Certain children need to hear spoken words at school, once they have their implant and learn to hear spoken language structures.
Teacher-training in Ireland must improve, as the Examiner noted – in the US, the Department of Education is upskilling teachers to work with deaf children who communicate by the listening-and-speaking (verbal) method.
In Ireland, a rural school with small classes might suit ‘transitioning’ children better than a large mainstream class in a city school. Again, this solution depends on a family’s location and the ability (willingness) of the rural school to accept the pupil, and to arrange teaching supports as needed.
- Question: Do Deaf Children Really Need A SNA?
- Ireland: Teachers ‘should get special-needs training’
- How Policy Can Lag The Real Grassroots Reality
- Listening And Speaking: A Refocus For Teachers
- Parent Question: School Resource Hour Allocation
- SNA Provision: The DES Value For Money Review
- What To Do If Your Child’s Support Hours Are Cut
- Why SNAs Can Be So Important To Deaf Children