Help needed with school options for daughter with hearing problems(21 Posts)
My daughter is due to start school next September but has had lots of hearing problems and is waiting a second round of grommets at the moment. She is about a year behind in development generally along with her speech as she was near enough deaf for a while. Shje was born late October so would be one of the oldest in her hear but given the delay is going to be like one of the youngest (something we really didnt want for our children as i was one of the youngest at school and struggled).
I dont want to (and probably wouldnt be able to) delay her as she would be nearly 2 years older then. I dont think she is going to be ready to go into mainstream school without any support (not classed as special needs so no provisions would be made for her) and i really dont know what to do. She is at a montessori nursery and doing well but there arent any montessori primarys near us, i've looked at steiner but am not sold on the idea - can anyone suggest any other possibilities i might not have come accross?? My husband is dead against home schooling and i'm not sure i would have the confidence to do it either.
Time is running out and i currently have no options at all apart from some underachieveing schools! Help!
Some councils run units for children with hearing problems, attached to a primary school. Our council has one, and provide free transport to it for some children. Have you asked your council?
I don't understand why it wouldn't be classed as special needs? she has a hearing problem and as a result a development delay. I would approach your local state schools and ask them specifically.
Thanks for your replies, will definintely speak to our local council and see what they say. I think because the problem has been temporary (glue ear) rather than an actual learning or development problem then its not really given consideration. Unfortunately being our first child, by the time we started to think something was wrong and the doctors took a long time to agree and act on it the damage had been done and she lost the small amount language she had. Its such a scary prospect choosing the right school but its even worse when none of them seem like the right option so i feel like whatever decision i make, i'm doing it knowing its not going to be the right one! Aaaggghhhh!
Apologies if I've misunderstood you, but in a state school she will start school with her age group so will definitely be one of the oldest. Even if you delay her starting school by a year she will still join her year group, she won't join the younger children in reception. What support does the nursery provide?
I found the NDCS (National Deaf Children's Society) has some excellent information on education, starting school etc...There's information packs for parents and education staff. There's a website and a helpline.
oh ok, i didnt realise that. I thought if you delayed it by a year they joined the year below, in that case thats a defnite no go as would potentially put her even further behind. The nursery is very much child led and whilst her language is coming on well as she has been mixing with older children (until now!), there is only so much that they can help her. We did see a speech and language therapist who just said to keep playing with her and she will learn from us and then said that they couldnt really be of any further assistance! She understands a lot more than she can say but i know that reading and writing are likely to be delayed as you cant read a word if you cant say it yet! Thanks again!
Try to find a school which has a full time SENCO attached and SALT e.g. a school with a special needs support unit attached to the school. Like this one www.doversgreen.surrey.sch.uk/page/title=Special+Needs+Support+Centre&pid=15
We were lucky enough to get this at our Ds infant school. He received a lot of speech therapy at school and was a massive help for him and his speech is now excellent. The SALT was onsight so he had his appointments at the school and she could refer him to hospital for grommit and hearing tests etc.
Surely it would count as an additional need, she is hearing impaired! Once you've got a school place make an appointment with the school's SENCO. They can talk through with you the support they can put in place. It is not hard, lots of children come through our reception classes with limited hearing. Reception classes are very like nursery classes and if the staff are aware and alert all should go well. Has your nursery made any special provision?
There are schools with hearing impairment units. Children then get the best of both worlds; a chance to receive specialist support and time in the mainstream classroom integrated with all their peers.
I think I would go and visit the local primary schools, just as if your dd didn't have a special issue
Find a school you like.
I would explain your situation to the school (in fact when you phone to make an appointment to visit, ask to speak to someone eg head who can help you as your daughter has some special needs)
explain that she has speach delay and temp hearing loss
See what the school says, ask what they would do to help and what help she can access.
I think you will either come away reassured ...or not. and then you are in a better position to decide.
They can put some care plans and things in place before school begins
There is a boy in dd2s class. At the beginning of reception he was fitted with hearing aids as his hearing was so poor (glue ear) at that time his speak was very poor, and he couldn't distinguish sounds (p and b for example)
By the end of reception his speak had improved so much, he had all his sounds and he no longer has hearing aids. He is still working quite a way behind in the class, but the difference in one year is amazing, so don't underestimate how far she may get in the next year, it is a long time until sept 14.
My ds has glue ear and is currently waiting an appointment for his third set of grommets. He's a young one in his year, and is now in year 2.
It certainly can be counted as a special need, I suspect what you were told is that it wouldn't get a statement.
Basically (as far as I know) special needs can be in the form of an IEP (Individual Education Plan, i think), School Action, School Action plus, Statement. That's in order from lowest special need to highest, the higher you are roughly the more intervention you can expect as a rule of thumb. (Someone with more knowledge may correct that).
Ds has an IEP, it states that he needs to sit near the front, the teacher needs to be aware he may not be hearing, and that he has a TA for (I think it's 10 minutes 3x a week) developing his speech, and particular targets for his current speech (I think it's ch sound at present). This is updated regularly, and I have a meeting with the teacher (brief usually) to talk through the new IEP, assess the old one, and I have to sign and agree it. This happens more often than once a term usually.
What I would do is go into the local schools. You may or may not have much choice of school, but it can be worth considering a less popular school with fewer people, if they are on the ball with special needs.
Ask to speak to the SENCO. Ask them how they would support your dd. If there is SALT in school (a lot of SALT is done in school round here when possible).
Look at the layout of the school. open plan is a nightmare for hearing issues. Ds found year 1 easier as they all work together more formally, whereas in year R they work a small group at a time while the rest play. So he was always struggling to hear over the playing going on (as well as being distracted).
Ds found lunch a real problem because of the noise. He loved the play, but the whole noise caused him real pain. It's worth knowing things whether your dd can have a quiet area they can go to when the noise gets too much. Ds used to sometimes get permission to go to the library just to get a bit of quiet.
It is estimated that at anyone time there will be a fifth of reception & KS1 children suffering from hearing loss often due to glue ear so your daughter is unlikely to be the only one with difficulties. I have a child in my Y1 class who has just had hearing aids fitted and we are looking at radio aid (teacher will wear a microphone that is tuned into his hearing). I won't pretend it is easy but she may well thrive in mainstream and I'm afraid unless her hearing loss is profound and permanent she is unlikely to get a place in a hearing unit
there is a little boy in my daughter's class with hearing aids and a radio thing and there is another little boy who can't speak properly at all but he is clearly starting to learn to read. hard to explain but he is learning to read even if he can't speak the words if that makes sense.
You still have nearly a year to go before school starts and I am assuming your child is just turning 4 - that is a long time in development of speech and language terms.
Are you currently being seen by audiology as well as ENT? You may find they are much more helpful in terms of long term support of hearing loss as opposed to ENT who are focussed on "cure". Hearing aids are very effective for children with just glue ear as apparently the sound isn't distorted too much.
My DD has moderate hearing loss (c40 db) due to glue ear but since getting hearing aids (after 2 sets of grommets mid way though reception) has come on leaps and bounds and does not get any in school support aside from termly visit from teacher for the deaf (which you only get in our county if you have hearing aids). I found that we did need to repeatedly ask reception teacher to keep us up to date with which sounds were being covered in class so that we could practice them in a completely quiet environment at home and make sure she had connected the sound and letter correctly (we had particular problems with sh and ch).
It also gets easier to deal with as they get older as the class room environment is much quieter. This parents evening we completely forgot to discuss hearing as she has learnt to use visual clues and doesn't appear to have any problems following what they are supposed to be doing.
Remember also most children start reception unable to read or write clear letters.
My DD 3*6 has just started nursery at school she has unilateral hearing. We looked at all the schools in our area and we choose a smaller school with good results. She does struggle with noise and the playground and is very tired at school but is having an aid fitted nxt week and SENCO is arranging an IEP.
What DeWe and Mrz said.
Without a Statement in place, (and a much more severe hearing loss than you describe) a child wouldn't get a place at any of the HI Resource Bases nor the special school in our Authority, but as dewe said, that's not to say that adjustments wouldn't be made in all schools to allow for her hearing loss, her adjustment as the grommets are fitted, and her delayed speech.
Also, all schools in Reception should be following the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) just the same as Nursery classes.
As others have said, doubt you would get a place in a hearing impaired unit they tend to be for children who are profoundly deaf and/or BSL users as far as I can tell.
Have you thought about hearing aids? Your child does have special needs and should have an IEP I would have thought. I don't really understand why you aren't seeing a speech and language therapist.
Ask the school if they have had deaf awareness training.
I have a child aged 5 who was diagnosed hearing impaired at age 4 who attends mainstream school and has hearing aids and radio aid.
Another thing you could look for in a school is one which uses Makaton. It may seem like a backward step, but signing can actually assist with language development and it can aid communication, hence reducing frustration in making her needs met. At my dc's mainstream primary all children and teachers are taught and use Makaton, which means that they can all communicate with the few who have communication issues. Even if you can start using Makaton signs alongside her everyday interactions then you can send her to school with a list of signs to help the teachers understand her.
Two of mine have had minor speech problems and I have actually found that learning to read has helped with their language. By isolating the sounds it has helped them to pronounce the sounds correctly, rather than being jumbled in with all the speech. Ds (same age as your dd) can now say many of the sounds correctly when he reads, even though he can't say them when he talks. For example an s he often says as a f, he never makes that mistake when sounding individual letters- because he can see the difference, and often now he will blend the word correctly and understand it, although if he says it in normal speech he will still often say it incorrectly. Try getting a phonics scheme (ideally the one they use at the intended school) and start teaching her the individual sounds and see if it helps.
I would look around at the schools. I know it is hard to get beyond the underachieving label but sometimes these can be due to random things like certain policies not being in place or not accelerating high achieving children as fast, when what you are looking for is a caring school which is able to offer the extra support and time and expertise to help your child.
this page has a link to a document that gives advice for parents like youself.
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