Back to School

It’s back-to-school for most students on Monday in Malta. Do you have a son or a daughter who is deaf or hard of hearing? Do you have a Deaf student in class?
Advice for Parents
For parents who have Deaf children, going back to school involves more preparation than simply buying new pencils and fresh sheets of paper.
– Do meet with the teachers and with the head of school. Give them as much details as possible about hearing loss, to help them understand how best to communicate with & teach your son/daughter.
– Ensure that your child is seated in the front row to be able to read the teachers’ lips clearly.
– Do consider a Sign Language Interpreter as they will greatly help Deaf students to excel in class (promise!). Children who are deaf or hard of hearing can excel in class like their hearing peers, if provided with the right resources. 
– Do book a check up with an audiologist if needed. 

Advice for Teachers
Keep in mind that Deaf students have as much potential as the other students if they are helped with the right resources. It can be a great challenge for you to make the lesson accessible. However, the challenge can be easily eliminated. Here are some tips:
– It will be easier for the student to follow the lesson if sitting at the front.
-It is very important that when you are talking, you are facing the Deaf student. Avoid talking while walking around the class or while writing on the whiteboard, as the student needs to read your lips easily.
– Do try using as much visuals as possible, like powerpoints or videos, to make it easier for the student to understand the lesson. The other students will love the visuals too.
– If you are showing a video, use subtitles. If the video you want to show has no subtitles, pause the video every now and then, to explain what is being said.
– If you are doing group discussions, do ensure the Deaf student can see what everyone is saying by having everyone sit in a circle with no obstructions blocking the view of the other participants. You can also repeat or rephrase for the Deaf student to ensure that the student is following.
– Taking notes can be difficult as the deaf or hard of hearing student will be unable to read your lips while writing at the same time. In this case, you can tell the Deaf student to just listen without taking notes. The student can then make a copy of the another student’s notes. Otherwise you can give the student a copy of your notes.
– If the student is still lagging behind, do ask the student, the student’s parents, the head of the school, or even the Deaf People Association – Malta or the Gozo Association for the Deaf for more information on how you can help the Deaf student in class, before it’s too late.
– Do suggest to the Deaf student or his/her parent a sign language interpreter, as they can help to make the lesson more accessible.

Best of Luck with this new scholastic year! 🙂



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