Getting to know the school staff together
Your deaf child will need to get to know all the different professionals at school, such as the Teacher of the Deaf (ToD), speech and language therapist and teaching assistant. Make sure you and your child know these staff and that they know how best to support your child.
What you can do
A team effort
Your child will have a number of professionals working with them such as the class teacher, ToD, speech and language therapist and one-to-one support worker. You may also be in touch with the person in the school responsible for children with additional needs. In England, this is known as a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO). Deaf children still need this extra support as hearing aids, implants and other technology don’t fully restore hearing.
Remember that you’re the expert when it comes to your child and helping school staff to understand your child’s needs is an ongoing effort between parents, teaching and support staff to ensure your child is well-supported at school.
Building relationships with these professionals helps keep a line of communication open, so you can see what your child is learning at school and it’s easier if you ever have any concerns you need to bring up about your child’s education. Before your child starts, you might like to:
- arrange to chat with a small group of teachers to discuss what you’d like for your child, and any concerns and general questions you may have
- ask if their new teacher will visit – some teachers will visit your child in their early years setting to meet them and observe what’s working
- ask your child’s teacher what the best way to keep in touch will be once they’ve started
- have regular meetings with both the school they’re moving to and the one they’re leaving, to ensure a smooth transition.
Visit the school
You could visit the school with your child – some schools offer taster days for all new children or you could go to a summer fête or Christmas fayre. With the school and staff’s permission, take pictures of the rooms they will use, and the people they will spend time with, so you can talk/sign about it together before their first day.
Share resources with teachers
If your child goes to a mainstream school, their new teacher might not be aware of how best to support them. We have lots of resources to help them. You might also like to type up a brief troubleshooting list for the teaching staff which will show them how to fix basic problems with hearing equipment, for example, water in tubing, flat batteries etc.
Making a personal passport (a customisable summary document) is also a great way for you to pass on important information about your child. It’ll help school staff to respond to your child’s individual needs in the best way, for example, letting the teacher know which activities your child will find particularly calming or stressful. We’ve developed some templates to help get you started.