Ask for an interpreter when you make your appointment. Tell the secretary what kind of interpreter your child needs. Does your child need a sign language interpreter? Or does he need an interpreter for another language?
Ask for a quiet, well-lit room. In a well-lit room, your child can see the speaker's face better. This will help him to understand better, too.
Ask the doctor to face your child when he talks. Ask him to not cover his mouth, and to speak slowly.
Ask your doctor to explain what he'll be doing if he has to cover his mouth. Your doctor might have to put on a mask to protect your child from germs.
Ask the doctor to write or draw pictures to explain things. If your child can't understand what he says, a picture may help.
Ask your doctor for help with assistive listening devices. For example, if your child uses a personal FM system, ask your doctor to wear the microphone.
An audiologist looks after your hearing. Try to find a pediatric audiologist for your child. A pediatric audiologist works with children.
Here's what the audiologist may do for your child:
An educational audiologist (eh-jew-KAY-shun-al AW-dee-AW-lo-jist) is an audiologist who works in schools.
What an educational audiologist does
Makes sure your child's hearing aids/cochlear implant are working right
Keeps track of how your child's hearing aids are working
Changes the hearing aid settings to fit your child's hearing loss (if it changes)
Teaches you and your child how to take care of his hearing aids
Checks your child's cochlear implant to see if it's working
Helps make sure your child can follow what's going on in the classroom
Can test your child's hearing and help your child get hearing aids. (An audiologist at a hospital usually does this.)
Gets the right FM system and/or sound field system for your child
Makes sure the FM system and/or sound field system works well
Tells teachers what they can do to help your child follow what's going on in class
Helps your child learn to communicate by talking
Helps your child learn to listen and read lips
Sets goals for what your child should be able to do in speaking, listening and using words
Works with your child's school and other people to get help for your child
Refers your child to people for other help he might need. This could be a check-up, or help with other physical problems.
Helps find the best teacher and classroom for your child
Goes with you to your child's audiologist appointments
Talks with doctors and other people who take care of your child about how you're child is doing, and what other help he might need
Answers your questions about hearing loss
Helps you understand how hearing loss can affect your child
Ask for an educational audiologist on your IEP.
Not all schools have an educational audiologist. So ask for one on your child's IEP. (An IEP lists what things you want your child to be able to do that year, and what help he needs.)
Sometimes one educational audiologist helps all the children in the different schools in the area. Or sometimes, an audiologist only comes to school when a child needs help.
Know Your Rights
If your child goes to a public school, his school has to give him help with hearing aids and communication.
The law that says so is called IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).
Ask for an educational audiologist and list what goals you want your child to reach on your child's IEP. Click here to read about the IDEA.
Ask the educational audiologist to teach people at school how to check your child's hearing aids and other assistive listening devices (ALDs). Your child's hearing aid battery might suddenly run out in class. Or his FM system might have a short circuit. So what do you do if the educational audiologist isn't there?
Ask the educational audiologist to teach at least 1 or 2 other people how to check the hearing aids and FM system. This is very important, especially if your child can't tell the teacher what's wrong! These people could be: