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Parents of a deaf children or a children with HI, how did/are you going to choose a school?

(20 Posts)
CakePunch Mon 06-Jan-14 11:59:54

I'd really appreciate some advice. My dd has a CI and is turning three soon so we have started to look at schools. I was sure she would go to the local primary until i went on a visit the other day. Its semi open plan and the noise was horrendous i couldn’t hear myself. Don’t get me wrong dd is doing well, she can hear most things but with all the new vocab and extra distractions i worry she will not be able to keep up. How did you decide on a school? are there leader boards for academic outcome for deaf children? DD has good language she is making 6+ word sentences and understands complex instructions etc. so I hate for her to fall behind as she seems bright.

I sore the stats on the NDCS website about how many deaf kids don’t get good GCSE's the other day and i really don’t understand why? Does anyone have any thoughts about why so few deaf (no other SEN) kids do not achieve the same results as their peers? is it the school? Teachers? Support? what should i be looking for in a school for dd?

Thanks in advance.

CakePunch Tue 07-Jan-14 19:29:08


cathpip Thu 09-Jan-14 21:05:01

My ds has a moderate loss 50db, he has just started reception in sept. We chose a mainstream school out of catchment as hated the local school. The school he goes too were so interested in his hearing loss and were more than willing to go on deaf awareness training. Acoustically it's not the best (the local school was!) but because ds falls in a grey area in the fact that he can hear a lot, it makes people believe that he does not have a problem. (Which is why I disliked the local school).We were more concerned with wanting small class sizes, and good pastoral care, for which this school is excellent. He is flourishing, has radio aids which have made a huge difference and looks forward to school. If you would prefer mainstream have you investigated schools with a hearing impaired unit? Or a specific deaf school?

Neverhere Thu 09-Jan-14 21:14:12

Is it the whole school or just the foundation stage unit? Often fs units are louder than the rest of school. Remember - your dd will only be in fs for 2 years max. And main school for 6 years.
I'm a teacher and when I have had HI children I've just followed all the advice of the experts who come into school as part of the SEN provision. They come in and check you are following advice.

sashh Sat 11-Jan-14 17:25:41

Does anyone have any thoughts about why so few deaf (no other SEN) kids do not achieve the same results as their peers?

Have you ever tried to learn a language?

Have you ever tried to learn a language without hearing it?

GCSEs are all English based and that is the problem. Deaf people are not stupid but it is difficult to acquire literacy and without that it is very difficult to get GCSEs.

Some things that are quite normal for hearing children are difficult for deaf children, say a child is copying from the board, that is all they can do at that time, if the teacher says something then the rest of the class hear it but not the deaf child.

Obviously there has been a lot more technology in the last few years along with statements of SEN and people actually wanting deaf children to learn.

The days of deaf people being trained to work in sorting offices are over.


Is your dd oral or are you using BSL? If you are using BSL then you need to ask about the language levels or any assistants/CSWs, they can actually be quite low.

Have you heard of Mary Hare School? It used to be called Mary Hare Grammar school and at secondary level they still select academically.

If you are considering the deaf school route then do have a look at it. It's boarding but fees are paid by LEAs.

Donki Sat 11-Jan-14 17:57:34

I would suggest talking to your ToD. S/he may well have good advice on this.

What is available? Would they give her a radio aid? (The new digital systems are way better than the older FM ones, if one would be provided. In Foundation stage, I would think a good radio aid was essential.)

Mary Hare is excellent, assuming your DD is oral, but it is quite difficult to persuade the LA to cough up the fees.

FCEK Sat 11-Jan-14 18:08:36

Speaking as a deaf woman with a CI, are you considering mainstream schools alongside hearing pupils? This is why my parents did despite lots of pressure from SW, teachers etc that I wouldn't cope. I wouldn't have gone to university if they hadn't.

I'm 33 now, things might have changed, but my deaf peers of a similar age have struggled to get employment/degrees etc as their education was so limited.

I did mentoring of deaf teenagers about ten years ago in another city from mine and was truly shocked at how few subjects they covered. It was mainly teaching them independence, how to travel alone, how to cook etc. Ridiculous.

Please please don't be a parent who wraps their child in cotton wool and allows themselves to consider their child as less capable. Authorities/schools should by law put in equipment like loops, and people like electronic note takers into mainstream schools.

Donki Sat 11-Jan-14 18:18:29

To address (not answer) one of the questions in your OP:

At age 5 the outcomes for deaf children with CI in terms of reading age are good, especially for children with early implantation (at time of research this meant before 3 years 6 months - now this would be quite late! )

It is sometime after this that they start to fall behind (usual caveats about every child is a unique individual - and some children continue to do well).

We were speculating about the causes of the. Three opinions (untested by research) were voiced.

1) They are doing well - so (some) support is withdrawn. Turns out the support was necessary, but it is hard to get support back once it has gone.

2) Sound through a CI is not the same as "normal" hearing. Maybe there is subtle information missing that becomes important as language demands increase.

3) Deaf students miss out on a lot of incidental reinforcement of learning (overhearing other students/parents/etc talking). We don't know how important this is for development/progress.

NigellasDealer Sat 11-Jan-14 18:20:47

link to specialist state school here

Donki Sat 11-Jan-14 18:20:59

Deaf education has moved on hugely (and a bloody good thing too)

Not to say that there aren't still some problems, but expectations are much higher.

impty Sat 11-Jan-14 18:21:14

My dd1 is moderately / severally deaf. Wears 2 hearing aids. She communicates orally. She has only ever been in main stream schools.

The reason why? Our belief was that she will have to be employed in the real world, and live amongst people who actually don't make any exceptions for her. It sounds harsh, but it has worked. She's now is predicted to get top grades in 11 gcses.

We have met other deaf children who go to deaf specialist schools. We notice two things. First my dd talks much more clearly than them, and secondly she is much more ambitious than them.

Of course every child is different.

impty Sat 11-Jan-14 18:36:54

Actually, I think there are a few hurdles

1, getting the right support for your child within the classroom
2, not letting teachers away with 'doing well for a deaf child' mentality
3, not letting the child feel there are any limits to their potential.

My dd has performed much better, when everyone forgets she's deaf, although her modern language teachers have been excellent in giving extra support when she's needed it. So it's a balancing act.

Donki Sat 11-Jan-14 19:51:12

If you compared outcomes for the three settings by looking at the % of deaf students with CI and no additional learning difficulties becoming "good" readers were (IIRC)
Mainstream 44%
Units (attached to mainstream) 6%
Special school 31%

However there was no additional information given on this in the talk. You might expect those students with fewest difficulties and a mainly oral approach to go to mainstream, with those going to units being the ones that were falling behind in mainstream.
Students communicating mainly with BSL may be more likely to go to specialist provision.

According to national Deaf CAMHS, deaf students on mainstream are much more likely to suffer mental health problems than deaf students in Special schools (although the incidence is still higher than in hearing students)

No simple answers.

Donki Sat 11-Jan-14 20:34:34

(NB all studies have small sample sizes so the standard deviation on results is usually quite large...)

CakePunch Sat 11-Jan-14 20:56:45

This is really interesting. Dd is oral but uses a lot of sign to back up her spoken language mainly as her speech is sometimes difficult to understand. The signs she uses are mainly nouns and the ones that are more visually obvious like cat so I don't think she'll have a too much of problem communicating with hearing peers. Maybe I'm being ridiculous and just send her to the local school and make sure they give the support and tech. Is that generally a struggle or are they generally okay providing whats needed? The school say they will provide x y and z but in reality is that going to be the case in a class of thirty odd?
I'm interested in the mental health issues too. Has anyone experienced bullying?

impty Sat 11-Jan-14 21:16:10

That's interesting Donki as dd1 since she started reading has always been a prolific reader.

We've moved around the country, so she went to a variety of different mainstream schools. More often than not, the class teacher is more important than the school ethos, especially at primary level. Some are better than others! The teachers of the deaf who come in have always been excellent though. Actually, get in touch with them. They will know helpful schools, and school's who have other deaf children in them. This helps.

Dd1 has never been bullied, well there have been incidents but not deaf related, more friendship groups/ growing up normal childhood issues.
No mental health issues either- so far. The same cannot be said of dd2, who is hearing.

Donki Sat 11-Jan-14 23:55:02

Some students experience bullying - but I think that a big problem in mainstream is isolation. They may well be the only deaf student (not counting glue ear in FS) in the school. I think it is less of a problem in primary, but as students get older and become more aware of such things, some students can have difficulties.

Another problem is that (recent research shows) radio aids/FM are not used properly by many teachers - especially in secondary where the teacher may only have the deaf student once or twice a week.

It is also (with a CI) making sure that it is checked regularly ... ToDs can at best check that there is a signal. But not what it is like. They don't have the specialist equipment to do a proper listening check. A chap from the Ewing Foundation was finding a problem in about 25% of CIs when he checked...

cleverbit Tue 21-Jan-14 19:44:54

To answer your original question: My daughter is only 2.5 but we've chosen a nursery/primary school with a unit that uses total communication. DD has cochlear implants and they work well for her but she uses quite a bit of sign to back up her speech and I think its really important for the people around her to be able to recognize what she's trying to say and to be able to help clarify what they mean using sign. I also think its important for her to be in an environment where information is available visually as I feel that although her cochlear implant seems to provide good access to English especially in quiet environments (although she's still not really old enough to give us great feedback about what she hears) it is not a cure to deafness. I feel she should have access to both English and BSL. The school we've chosen allows for varying degrees of mainstreaming depending on how well she does and at least in the early years when the classrooms are more noisy she will have someone with her who can sign to make sure she knows what's going on. I realize other parents make other choices and I'm not saying what we've chosen is right for everyone but while DD is still young I'm hesitant to put her in an environment with people who don't have experience with deafness and who won't understand her if she tries to sign. She hasn't actually started at school yet (she will do in the fall but we started the statementing process early as we want to go to a school in a different London borough from where we live).

Ziggyzoom Tue 21-Jan-14 19:57:45

My DD's do not have hearing impairments, but they go to a mainstream primary that specialises in teaching children with hearing impairments. They all learn BSL and all school plays and concerts etc are signed by the children and other events have dedicated signers for parents as well as pupils.

It is a great school in NW leeds, but I presume there may be others hopefully near to you.

hardofhearing Thu 01-May-14 11:29:54

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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