1. Language builds on language.
    • 80-90% of what a 5 year old knows going into kindergarten is learned incidentally – that means without thinking, without trying, the brain is listening and hearing and building language.  Kids with a hearing loss don’t have the luxury of that easy acquisition  
  2. Be patient.
    • Remember that every parent comes to the table wanting to be the best parent they can, to do their best; they may not be the best expert on their child’s educational needs but they want to be, so be patient.
  3. If you’ve met one child with hearing loss, you’ve met one child with hearing loss.
    • The impact of hearing loss on development is dependent on age, home environment, services, technology, etc… Every child is unique and requires an open mind to consider what their needs are.
    • Write the Individualized Education Plan for that one child, not “this is what we do in this district.”
    • Aspects of IDEA that we apply to other SpEd kids may look different to student with a hearing loss. For example, LRE (Least Restrictive Environment) applies to language, too. Is the student’s language level within 1-2 years of their peers? If not, they probably don’t have access to the curriculum or interactions with their peers.
  4. It goes a long way to intentionally create a relationship with a child’s parent.  
    • The IEP team for a child who is deaf or hard of hearing is usually large, so ask the parent(s) to come sit next to you so they feel they have a personal supporter in the room.
  5. If your district has a DHH consultant, call them and ask questions! Find out what they can teach you.
  6. Remember “adverse affect” for students who are DHH.  Have you included/assessed:
    • communication needs and the child’s and family’s preferred mode of communication?
    • linguistic needs?
    • severity of hearing loss and potential for using residual hearing?
    • academic level?
    • social, emotional, and cultural needs including opportunities for peer interactions and communication?