It’s getting close to that time of year again…the first day of school! The first day back after summer break can be tough for everyone, especially if you’re starting at a new school with new teachers and new classmates. If you have a hearing loss, the first day of school may be filled with anxiety and nervousness; but it doesn’t have to be! Below I will outline a few tips for how to succeed on your first day back:
Before school starts…
It may be a good idea to meet with the principal or school administrator if you are entering a new school, to introduce them to your hearing loss. This provides you an opportunity to explain what your needs are and how the school can best accommodate your hearing loss. It can also be a chance for you to learn if the school is equipped with an induction loop system and to find out how it works.
In addition, if you have a new teacher this year, the best thing you can do to prepare yourself is to meet with the teacher before school starts. This provides another opportunity to explain the types of accommodations you require and to learn about how the teacher can help you to learn best. This meeting is a great time to introduce the teacher to any special equipment you require, to tour the classroom, and to find a seat that may work best for you. Optimal seating involves a seat away from a source of noise (such as the hallway or a window), where you are able to clearly see the teacher and the board. By educating the teacher on your hearing loss, they can better be able to assist you throughout the year. Feel free to bring a parent along for this introduction as a parent may make you feel more comfortable when speaking with someone new.
When back-to-school shopping…
School supply shopping is one of my favourite back-to-school activities! When back-to-school shopping, you may want to buy an extra notebook, so you can write notes to your teachers or classroom aids as a way to communicate. If you require a hearing aid, be sure to get extra batteries and some sort of adhesive, such as fabric tape or body glue, to keep hearing aids in place during recess and gym class. A hard case for your hearing aid equipment may also come in handy to protect your equipment when in your backpack or locker. Finally, it is a great idea to carry a little cheat sheet or notecard, with basic information about your hearing aid, just in case someone is unsure about how an aid operates.
When making new friends…
It can be a bit nerve wracking to introduce yourself to some one new. The important thing to remember is to be upfront about how you communicate and your hearing loss. Bluffing or faking a conversation may lead to negative consequences in the future. If you are speaking with someone and are unable to understand them, politely stop them and explain what they can do to help you understand them. By being honest, you are more likely to build lasting friendships and stronger relationships.
Do you have any back-to-school tips that you want to share? Check out the Forums page to share your thoughts!