Don’t assume learning or behaviour problems, they may have an undetected vision or hearing loss. Do any of your students exhibit:
*Lower academic achievement than their age or background would predict.
*Inattention, frequently related to frustration or fatigue.
*Inappropriate responses to questions
*Watching other students to see what they are doing articulation problems – speech difficulties.
*Poor self-concept Don’t assume learning or behaviour problems, they may have an undetected vision or hearing loss.
A screening done by two schools in the Toronto District School Board suggested that one in four students needed further vision support. When their vision results were compared to their educational performance, a clear link was apparent.
Some suggestions if vision or hearing loss is suspected. Invite the school or community nurse to arrange for a vision or hearing test, and contact the parents regarding any history of hearing or vision deficits.
In the classroom you can create a better learning environment for these students by making a few modifications. Use an overhead projector with large fonts. Move students to the front of the class. Make sure there is sufficient light in the room to aid in oral communication. Lower the noise level inside your classroom. To start with, cover the legs of chairs with tennis balls. And remember, don’t have any preconceived notions of abilities based on hearing or vision losses. Every child is an individual with his or her own strengths and weaknesses.
Laura D’Souza is a Teacher of the Deaff.