Speech and Listening Assessment & Facilitation at NWSFHIC
Speech and listening skills are always a focus at NWSFHIC. Students have daily individual speech instruction, based on the techniques of Daniel Ling. Everyone is expected to use their best speech in all communications throughout the day. Data is taken daily, used to guide individual and group instruction, and formally reported on report cards.
We work collaboratively with school districts, parents and area professionals to obtain the best personal assistive listening devices and FM systems for each child. All students receive listening checks twice a day to make sure that their equipment is working properly. Individualized strategies encourage students to use their listening skills in every conversation or lesson. Each student participates in daily one-on-one auditory learning activities designed to assist them in learning to maximize their use of their personal amplification.
Small class sizes in sound-treated rooms allow for excellent conditions in which children can use their listening skills for self expression, as well as hear adult modeling and correction of speech sounds, vocabulary, and English grammar. Seating arrangements also are formed with the ability to listen in mind. Weekly letters home to parents, use of parent notebooks, and conference calls keep parents mindful of listening and speech work at school.
Research Says Early Infant Screening and CIs Don’t Guarantee Comprehensible Speech or Grade Level Reading & Writing Ability
“Although there are clear benefits of cochlear implants (CIs) to achievement in deaf children…[there is] a lack of consistent findings” (Dr. Marc Marshark (2007; p. 53) when current research is reviewed.
Better reading and writing scores are associated with knowledge of English and intelligence (not CI use), and “half the students with CIs don’t read on grade level” (Geers (2002, 2003, 2004). This is especially true at high school age (p. 272).
At 6–12 years of age, 54% of CI users were about two years behind their hearing peers (Archbold, Nikolopoulos, & O’Donoghue (2006). During 2nd to 7th grade, more than half of CI-using students are reading below grade level. This finding echoes the typically reported 4th grade average reading ability of children who are deaf or hard of hearing (Marschark et al, 2007; Trexler, 2000).
Use of sign does not hinder CI use, speech, listening development, or literacy obtainment (Geers, 2002; p. 280). In fact, more current research has demonstrated that when students with a hearing loss are enrolled at NWSFHIC for at least 4 years, the vast majority read on grade level and have age-appropriate English! This is because we focus on children understanding and using spoken, signed, and written English at all times during the school day!