Miss C Rankin - Lead of HIU
The Hearing Impaired Unit is an integral part of our school's inclusive ethos, with a holistic approach to meeting the needs of all children. Hearing Impaired children are fully integrated into their mainstream classes with specialist signing Learning Support Assistants. This enables them access to the curriculum and to gain maximum advantage from all the opportunities which our school has to offer.
All staff have ‘Deaf Awareness’ training and the whole school learns a new sign each week as part of the signing and inclusive ethos. To see the whole school signing songs is very heart warming.
In addition to the aims, ethos and values of Westgate C.P. School and Nursery the Hearing Impaired Unit (HIU) aims to:
Each child with an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP), that identifies hearing impairment as their primary need, is part of a mainstream class. Support is given within the class according to the communication and educational needs of the child by Unit staff with specialist signing skills.
As the development of communication and language skills is essential for all hearing impaired children, whatever the loss, we adopt a ‘child-centred’ communication policy appropriate to individual needs. As a school, we are able to fully integrate and support the hearing impaired child regardless of their communication method; oral, Signed Supported English (SSE), lip reading or British Sign Language (BSL).
Signing is integral to Westgate school’s ethos; it is wonderful to see how naturally hearing children absorb signing, not only as a means to communicate with their non-hearing peers, but also as an additional strategy for kinaesthetic learners to consolidate vocabulary and abstract concepts.
Hearing aids and cochlear implant processors are checked every morning when the children come into school. The children are provided with radio aids to use in conjunction with their hearing aids. This allows direct input from the teacher, thereby cutting down on the background noise.
Speech and Language Therapy
Each week the Speech and Language Therapist, who has specific expertise with hearing impairment, visits the Unit at Westgate School. Currently, all the HI children are seen weekly, or twice weekly for short individual sessions to work on the development of language skills and specific aspects of speech.
Every child supported by the Unit is given a home/school book in which brief notes are written for Parents and Carers to be able to discuss the day with him or her. We find it equally helpful to hear what fun they’ve had at home as a starting point for discussion. The book is also a useful means of conveying information, particularly if the children travel by taxi.
At the end of Year 6, when the children are eleven years old, children transfer to a High School of their choice. A programme of visits for the children, together with liaison between Staff, ensures a smooth transfer and the opportunity to allay fears and worries when a choice of school is made.
(There is a Hearing-Impaired Resource Base at King Edward VI School, similarly staffed, with a Teacher of the Deaf and Specialist Learning Support Assistants.)
Once a term individual targets are discussed, and each year, at an Annual Review, professionals concerned with the education and care for the child meet with the parents to review progress and monitor the outcomes of the EHCP.
Every three weeks, the HI children gather in the Unit to bring an example of the work they have chosen for ‘Celebration’ and take great delight in sharing their efforts with family and friends who attend. Often parents of Deaf/Hearing Impaired children do not have contact with other parents of Deaf/Hearing Impaired children; the ‘Celebration’ time is therefore, also an opportunity for families to catch up with each other, to exchange success stories and to develop a support network with other parents.
If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.