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Michael, a five-year-old male, just diagnosed with hearing loss and a speech disorder, has not learned to speak properly and is working with a speech therapist three times a week. Michael does not show any progress in learning letters or numbers. His parents are worried that he might be labeled in school and not allowed to participate in regular classroom activities. Michael is scheduled to start kindergarten in a month and the school psychologist wants to test him to see if he should be placed in special education classes. After speaking with Michael’s parents, it is found that he is an only child and does not play with children in the neighborhood. Although, he has occasionally play dates, Michael struggles to make friends. Due to children not responding to Michael when he tries to talk to them, there is little contact, causing Michael to be socially immature. To begin a plan to help Michael with his learning and social skills, there must be an understanding to why he has a hearing disorder as well as seeking strategies to support him in school. Use the definition laid out in IDEA to describe Michael’s hearing disorder and the competency based individualized strategies for supporting him in a school setting.
According to (Heward, 2013) p. 313, Michael is suffering from deafness. His hearing loss is so severe that he is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, which causes an effect on educational performance. Most special educators distinguish between children who are deaf and those who are hard of hearing. Michael is deaf and cannot use hearing to understand speech. If Michael was able to hear, he would be able to understanding and interpret speech without using any special device or techniques. Due to Michael’s deafness, a hearing aid, would not allow him to understand speech through the ears alone. Most deaf people use their vision as a primary sensory mode for learning and communication. Michael is unable to make friends and his disabilities interfere with his social development. As a person that has worked with disabilities I feel that part of this is because he is an only child and when he has play dates Michael doesn’t understand them completely and because of his hearing and language it is also because the people that come over the play have a hard time understanding him. It is possible that Michael is socially immature because he can’t be understood and is not at the age mentally as the rest of the children his age.
I feel that if Michael had a sibling either younger or a couple years older he would have a better understanding of how to make friends because he would be around someone daily it would also help him to grow and become more mature. Since he is starting Kindergarten his year it would be great if he could get meet some of the kids earlier and make a friendship or play date with some class mates so he doesn’t get over whelmed as easy about the change. A hearing impairment can be considered a culture difference for Michael because he shares a language with other people that have this common issue and as he gets older social practices as well. Per our text many deaf people do not view themselves as disabled and consider hearing loss and inappropriate and demeaning term because it suggests a deficiency or pathology. It also refers to people in the individual way people who identify the Deaf culture prefer term such a teacher of the Deaf, school for the Deaf and the Deaf person (Heward, W. L. 2013)
Deaf culture is shared language (in the U.S. American Sign Language ASL) social practices, literature and beliefs of the Deaf community: members do not view deafness as a disability. One way that communication impacts “Deaf Culture is what individuals with disabilities identify with. As a professional we can help Michael bridge the social and culture gap to be able to interact more with his peers by insuring him that it is ok to make friends, and use the resources that he has been, his hearing aids if he has them are great to help with hearing to understand speech, because he is developed mainly through the auditory channel, even if it is delayed. As professionals we could give Michael step by step directions to follow and be able to do observation on Michael to measure his progress to date.
As the professional working with Michael I would encourage him to wear his hearing aids if he has them and start a reward program for him for following the expected behavior, also remember to give him positive reinforcement, if he hears the positive reinforcement and the encouragement and excitement in your actions then he will want to follow also because kids want to make their elder happy. As Michaels parents they could encourage play dates and interaction with other people his own age. If they are not planning on having any more children and Michael is going to remain an only child maybe the family can get some cousins to come and play on regular basis as well as children from around the neighborhood. Since he will be starting Kindergarten in a month the teacher in the class room could modify some of the learning lessons that she will teach to make them more on his level, also the teacher can communicate with all the others that are involved in the child’s life and come to a plan that is going to work for everyone and it can be used all around the board.
All children that are exceptional need to be evaluated for their progress, I would have the teacher make some tally marks for the behavior for the day and let the child work towards a prize once that is completed I would ask the teacher to add the tally marks and make it so that it can be observed in a percentage for example out of 10 tries to hear and responds to the word that was said Michael will wear his hearing aids for 5 out of 10 trials, or 50% of the time if it is only 3 times out of the ten that Michael does this then it can be observed as 30 % of the time and it can be observed weekly and progress can be marked and measured to see what the progress would be.
Also making use of all and any reinforcements that can be used will help the child to be successful. Since it is known that the child has a hearing problem it should be given out at first notice and then the child can sit up front in class and since most teachers have seating charts for their classroom it would not seem unusual for the child to be placed up front if others ask what the issue is later then it with consent the teacher can say something to make it known to the class, some children will tell anyway but as the teacher in the classroom she should encourage the other children in the classroom to interact with Michael so that he can be excited to go to school.
And most important of all enjoy his learning and school experience. As we learned with Michael people that are deaf or blind lose some of the most important things in life and it is not an easy thing to overcome the person can live a wonderful life but needs the encouragement and support to do so. So for Michael our 5 year old male that is hearing impaired and has trouble with his speech with the help of all the resources that are available and coaching Michael can grow to be a very smart male later in life. He will also learn to be respectful and his hearing and speech will improve.
Heward, W.L. (2013). Exceptional needs children (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.