Sarah is part of The Leicestershire County Council Hearing Support Team, made up of a group of specialist Teachers with an additional qualification for teaching hearing impaired students, experienced practitioners, and an Educational Audiologist and can request support from the Assistive Technology for Education Support Team (ATfEST). Sarah liaises with other members of the Therapies and Interventions team at Birch Wood to ensure a joined-up approach.
Sarah can offer advice and support to all students who have a diagnosed hearing impairment, plus offer support to their families and to class staff. Sarah provides specialist advice and support to families, the school and other professionals, who are working with hearing impaired students in Leicestershire, with a diagnosed hearing loss. This input continues up until the student is 25 through their Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
Sarah works in close partnership with the NHS Audiology Service and Cochlear Implant teams to assess student’s hearing and listening skills. They then monitor the child’s language and educational levels as appropriate for their age and in relation to their hearing loss.
Sarah can offer support staff with ‘reasonable adjustments’. This may include positioning of the child, teaching strategies, acoustically favourable conditions, as well as guidance about how best to teach the curriculum to allow students to achieve their full potential. The Hearing Support Team will offer support based on the framework drawn up by the National Sensory Partnership (NatSiP) – a national body that collates information on the education of students with sensory needs and the team’s professional experience.
The Hearing Support service may offer an assistive device as appropriate, such as a radio aid, to support students’ listening and access to education. They will set up systems and assess benefit through our radio aid clinics. Our Educational Audiologist may provide acoustic assessments where appropriate.
After a request for involvement is received for a child at Birch Wood, Sarah will contact the family and the school to arrange an initial visit if appropriate. She will talk with families and staff, observe the child’s listening behaviours and language. Sarah may do some assessments of looking at how the student’s language is developing and how well they are hearing speech. Where appropriate, this is all recorded in a report which includes advice to schools, settings and families. The report will explain the hearing loss and its impact and suggest ideas and advice of ways to support the child, make the best use of hearing and how to minimise the impact of the hearing loss on learning.