Monday, July 30, 2012

Don Peek: Deafness and Hearing Loss


This post is authored by Don Peek, a former educator and past president of the training division of Renaissance Learning. He now runs The School Funding Center, a company that provides grant information and grant-writing services to schools. To learn more, or to subscribe to the School Funding Center Grant Database, go to schoolfundingcenter.

Disability:  Deafness and Hearing Loss

By IDEA definition, deafness means a hearing impairment so severe that a child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that it adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

When a child shows any signs of hearing loss, parents should take immediate steps to have that child examined.  Since most communication skills are developed before the age of 3, it is imperative that parents have their children examined at the first sign of hearing loss and begin a program to counteract that loss.  Early recognition of hearing problems is so important, most states require hospitals to test babies for hearing loss before they ever leave the hospital.

If deafness or hearing loss is not detected at birth, parents and teachers need to be aware of the signs of hearing loss or deafness.  Deafness or hearing loss may be present if a child:

1.      Does not respond consistently to sounds, especially his or her own name.

2.      Asks for things to be repeated or often says “huh?”

3.      Is delayed in developing speech or has speech that is unclear.

4.      Turns up the volume on the TV and other electronic devices.

Again, since speech is tied to hearing, it is vitally important that a child be diagnosed with a hearing loss as soon as possible and appropriate measures taken.

At least 50% of all deafness is genetic.  That is why most states require testing within hours of birth.  Other causes of hearing loss at birth may be certain infections during pregnancy and complications during pregnancy.  If a child has no hearing problems at birth, they still may develop a problem as a result of such things as:  a buildup of fluid behind the eardrum, ear infections, childhood diseases, and head trauma.  Hearing loss can also be a characteristic of other disabilities such as Usher, Down, Crouzon, Treacher Collins, or Alport syndromes.

Once again, regardless of the cause, early detention and intervention are imperative since deafness and hearing loss are so closely tied to the development of communications skills.

The latest government statistics showed slightly more than 70,000 students qualified for special education services under the category of hearing impairment.  That is slightly more than 1% of all special education students in the United States.

Fortunately for both parents and teachers an abundance of help is available if a child is suspected of having hearing problems.  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides for free evaluation of any child suspected of having a hearing problem.  If the child is less than 3 years old, states are mandated to provide services.  Over 3, parents should contact their local public school district for screening and special education services.

Deafness is a disability that can impact the remainder of a child’s life whether it is present at birth or develops later.  Parents and teachers need to be alert for any sign that a hearing disability is present.
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Grant Info:

Grant Name:  Tommy Wilson Memorial Grant

Funded By:  American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation

Description:  The Tommy Wilson Memorial Grant supports recreational programs for individuals with disabilities

Program Areas:  Disabilities, Special Education

Recipients:  Public School, Private school, High Ed, Other

Proposal Deadline:  December 1st each year

Average Amount:  $500.00 - $1,500.00



Availability:  All States

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