by Carrie Jackiewicz, Special Services Coordinator
When our alumni enter their neighborhood schools, they typically have a team of staff members who support them. The most important support person for our alumni is their Hearing Itinerant. I often get asked, “What is a Hearing Itinerant?” A Hearing Itinerant is a Teacher of the Deaf who works for a school district or for a special education cooperative.
A Hearing Itinerant is knowledgeable in hearing loss, hearing devices, and hearing assistive technology. She understands the effects of hearing loss on a student’s language, listening, and learning. A Hearing Itinerant focuses on a student’s self-advocacy skills, listening skills, language, and vocabulary.
Over the course of the school year, the Hearing Itinerant consults and collaborates with teachers to choose both short-term and long-term goals for the students on her caseload. She writes goals and assesses students’ growth, typically in the areas of self-advocacy, auditory skill development, and the use of remote microphones. The Hearing Itinerant works with students in push-in sessions, where she goes into the classroom to work with the students during lessons, or in pull-out sessions, where they work in her office or another room in the school.
One of the most important things the Hearing Itinerant does is educate the school staff about teaching a child with hearing loss. The Hearing Itinerant typically holds an in-service at the beginning of each year to share teaching strategies, accommodations, and modifications that are beneficial for students with hearing loss. She also educates the school staff about hearing assistive technology, such as remote microphones and sound field systems.
It is vital that parents have good communication with their child’s Hearing Itinerant because she knows their child’s needs (similar to a teacher at Child’s Voice) and because she can help problem solve any issues that arise. One Hearing Itinerant I have gotten to know over the years has worked with at least five of our alumni.
She has a great way to keep the lines of communication open with parents. She uses a composition notebook where she documents what she worked on with the students and shares ideas for practice at home. Parents are free to ask questions or share things that are going on at home. I love this idea and hope other parents can use this idea to develop their communication and relationship with their child’s Hearing Itinerant.