Friday, October 6, 2017

Wear the Transmitter... PLEASE

Last week, I walked in to see my third grader. He was lined up with his classmates, heading to the classroom next door for math. He smiled wide when he saw me, made eye contact with his teacher, then came over, ready to work with me.
“Go get your transmitter,” I reminded him.
He looked at me, paused, looked down and shuffled his feet. “Well…”  
Overhearing, his teacher looked around and grabbed it off a nearby table, handing it to me. The battery was dead. I then noticed my student wasn’t wearing his receivers. I asked him where they were. “I don’t know,” He whispered. “Yes you do! It’s where we always keep them,” his teacher interjected. His eyes searched the room as the teacher walked over to an area of the counter top, shuffled though papers and found the container. Clearly, they hadn’t been used in awhile.
            We’ve all had experiences with students refusing to use their amplification, but it’s much more frustrating when the adults neglect to use it. So what’s a TOD to do? Here’s my plan…

            Reinforce and Remind
While I want to be annoyed with this teacher, I also recognize that if she does not see the importance of my student’s hearing technology, maybe I haven’t done my job. In a conversation after my session with my student, I reminded his teacher of the importance of using his HAT system consistently. I also reminded the teacher  of the hearing loss simulation I had played during my in-service and despite the fact that this student’s speech is strong, and he is able to carry on a casual conversation, it is much more challenging when he is required to listen to (and absorb!) new information in a classroom setting. I insisted that we set up a designated charging station right then (while the room was empty) so that both the teacher and my student would know where the equipment was being stored.
            Get Organized
This week, I plan to spend more time in the classroom helping everyone feel comfortable using the equipment. I also plan to have my student create a morning checklist which I will laminate and he can check with a dry erase marker each morning after doing his set-up. The troubleshooting guides and listening checklist forms that I made are there, but my student may take more ownership if he creates the materials. He and I will talk about friendly ways to remind the teacher to wear the transmitter.
            Enlist Help
And going forward, if all else fails, I plan to enlist the support of the school nurse or SLP, both of whom I have good relationships with from past years in this school. They are in the building all day whereas I am in and out. One of them may be able to check in each morning to help my student get set up. Perhaps this teacher feels overwhelmed, and what I see as a two-minute morning job may seem like much more to her.

In the end, it’s really about my student and his access. How do you work with teachers who are reluctant to use the HAT system? Let’s share tips!

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