Tuesday, September 19, 2017

After the In-Service

            Another school year is in full swing! Recently, as I was preparing for an in-service at one of my schools and setting up my laptop, I was chatting with the special education teacher about how far technology has come. During my first few years as an itinerant, I used to bring stacks of handouts, a CD with hearing loss simulations and a CD player to play it on. I also had a bulky three-dimensional ear model, as well as model cochlear implants and hearing aids. So many bags! Now, I just bring my laptop, which contains all the images, videos, audio samples and information I need! One thing hasn’t changed though: my role after the in-service.

            Although we try to fit the most important information into that initial meeting, there’s always key follow-up work to do. During my follow up visit, I demonstrate how to set up each student’s amplification—whether it's a DAI connection to the classroom soundfield (check with your educational audiologist to ensure the proper output), or a HAT system connecting to cochlear implant processors. I provide handouts with each part of their system labeled, as well as step-by-step instructions (created either by me or by my students).          


            I also review with the classroom teacher or designated school staff member how to do a listening check, and I provide step–by–step instructions with illustrations for this task as well. While it’s true that the language I use helps my student to accurately identify the parts of their technology and understand their importance and the routine, it also helps teachers who may be unfamiliar with hearing aids and cochlear implants. 

            I ask specific questions about classroom expectations and policies. One of my junior high students was in a panic because a teacher discussed what it means to be prepared for class, noting that she would not allow students to go to their lockers for forgotten items. After meeting with my student and the teacher, he can rest assured that if he forgets his transmitter or needs a new battery, he can go get it!  At times, there do need to be exceptions made for our students. Similarly, another junior high student who began at a new school told me that kids are allowed to use their phones during class. Upon further investigation, we discovered this was not true. Clarifying this policy prevented her from potentially getting in trouble for doing something that she thought was acceptable.

            And I always make sure that everyone knows my schedule! Each elementary student has my schedule taped to their desk. This not only helps them remember, but also serves as a reminder to teachers and substitutes. Older students write my days and times right into their class schedule, and I email it to all teachers, as well as my primary contact. Finally, I make sure that the office has my contact information so that if my student is out, hopefully someone will let me know. J

Here’s to another great school year!