Students with auditory impairments are provided special education services by a variety of professionals. These include the following specially trained individuals:
- Audiologists are professionals who diagnose, treat, and manage individuals with hearing loss.
- Teachers of the Hearing Impaired are specially trained educators who provide educational support to the student, the family, and other educators.
- Speech-Language Pathologists provide treatment for speech and language disorders.
- Interpreters are specially training individuals who relay to the student anything that is said in the class by employing communication processes such as repetition, sign language, fingerspelling, body language, and verbal expression.
Children who are hearing impaired will find it much more difficult than children who have normal hearing to learn vocabulary, grammar, word order, idiomatic expressions, and other aspects of verbal communication. For children who are deaf or have severe hearing losses, early, consistent, and conscious use of visible communication modes (such as sign language, fingerspelling, and Cued Speech) and/or amplification and aural/oral training can help reduce this language delay.
By the age of four or five, most children who are deaf are enrolled in school on a full-day basis and practice special work on communication and language development. It is important for teachers and other professionals to work together to teach the child to use his or her residual hearing to the maximum extent possible, even if the preferred means of communication is some type of visible communication. Since the great majority of deaf children (over 90%) are born to hearing parents, programs should provide instruction for parents on the implications of deafness within the family.
Other specific strategies and services include:
- regular speech, language, and auditory training from a specialist
- the use of amplification systems
- services of an interpreter for those students who use one or more visual communication modes
- favorable seating in the class to facilitate speechreading
- captioned films/videos
- the assistance of a notetaker who takes written notes so that the student with a hearing loss can fully attend to instruction
- instruction for the teacher and peers in alternate communication methods such as sign language
People with hearing loss use oral or manual means of communication or a combination of the two:
- Oral communication includes speech, speechreading and the use of residual hearing
- Manual communication involves sign language, fingerspelling, and/or cued speech
- Total Communication as a method of instruction is a combination of the oral method plus sign language, fingerspelling and cued speech