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The Hearing Support Team works with schools, early years settings and other professionals to offer assessment, observation and advice on the impact of hearing loss, and ways to support children to achieve their potential. This may include direct teaching or non-teaching support.
The Hearing Support Team are part of the Leicestershire’s Specialist Teaching Service. We are a team made up of Specialist Teachers with an additional qualification for teaching hearing impaired children, experienced practitioners, and an Educational Audiologist. We are supported by a technician from the Assistive Technology for Education Support Team (ATFEST).
We provide specialist advice and support to families, educational settings and other professionals, who are working with hearing impaired children and young people in Leicestershire, with a diagnosed hearing loss, from the time of identification up to 18, or 25 if they have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
Support for your child
If you think your child has a hearing loss, you can arrange a hearing test by contacting:
your public health nurse (health visitor) – if your child doesn’t go to school yet
the school nurse at your child’s school
or your doctor (GP)
If you know your child has a hearing loss:
If your child has a diagnosed permanent hearing loss or uses technology to help them hear, they can access our Hearing Support Team.
How to get our support
Children and young people with a diagnosed hearing loss may be referred to the Hearing Support Team in different ways, including from Paediatric Hearing Services, ENT consultants, public health nurses, educational settings and parents or carers.
All new-borns have a hearing test soon after birth and, if necessary, they undergo additional hearing tests. In Leicestershire this is usually carried out at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, but we also have referrals from surrounding NHS trusts.
When a permanent hearing loss is confirmed parents/carers will be told about their child’s hearing loss. The hospital informs the Hearing Support Team, who then makes contact with the family as appropriate.
I just wanted to say it's been great working with you this year in your support for M. I've enjoyed getting some experience of working with a hearing impaired child and it's been rewarding to see her progress and how the support she gets, enables her to do well in a mainstream school.
Person:School's comment about the Hearing Support Team
Having your support from the beginning was an absolute lifeline.
Person:Parent of a Pre-school child's comment about the Hearing Support Team
How we work
After we receive a referral we will contact the family and pre-school/educational setting and arrange an initial visit if appropriate. We will talk with families and staff, observe the child’s listening behaviours and language. We may do some assessments of looking at how 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.
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 children with sensory needs and our professional experience. Children with an educationally significant hearing loss will continue to receive our involvement for as long as the need exists within education.
Families of babies and toddlers with a diagnosed hearing loss may be supported at home or in a childcare setting. This support will encourage the best use of hearing equipment and the richest use of spoken/sign language around the child to promote communication and language development.
In the early years, families have the opportunity to attend a Family Group, offered by the Hearing Support Team, where they are able to meet other families who have a child with a hearing loss.
HST’s playgoup is always welcoming – the lovely new room is great for socialising and letting kids play. The activities are always stimulating and fun for the kids. Singing sessions are lovely and get the kids involved. Please make more every week- such a good group!
Person:Parent's comment about the Family Group, offered by the Hearing Support Team
Specialist Teachers for Hearing Impaired Children advise families and educational settings on 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 children to achieve their full potential.
We may offer an assistive device as appropriate, such as a radio aid, to support children’s listening and access to education. We will set up systems and assess benefit through our radio aid clinics. Our Educational Audiologist may provide acoustic assessments where appropriate.
In cases where children have a hearing loss, which is likely to have a significant impact on their ability to access the curriculum, they may have a SEN Support Plan or an Education Health and Care Plan which is part of Leicestershire’s Graduated Approach to Special Educational Needs.
Working with others
It is important to us to hear the voice of the child we are working with, we will do this in several ways:
We have regular contact with Sendcos, class teachers, support staff and staff in early years settings, about issues and concerns relating to hearing.
We will talk to the children about how they understand their hearing loss and how it affects them.
We offer training to schools and early years settings to help them understand the barriers the children may be facing and ways they can help.
The staff training has been really well received. The new members of staff felt that it built their understanding of need and enabled them to think about things from the pupils perspective whilst staff who have been here for some time felt that it reminded them of how significant the impact of these needs can be and that we sometimes forget this due to the complex nature of the pupils.
Person:School's comment about the Hearing Support Team's training
The training was very useful. Not only did the course raise awareness of the barriers facing hearing impaired children but also it provided a range of strategies for improving practice. Many thanks.
Person:Class teacher's comment about the Hearing Support Team's training
Thank you! Spot on. Really enjoyed it; concise, relevant and certainly useful. The strategies are useable and practical.
Person:Class teacher's comment about the Hearing Support Team's training
We also aim to work closely with parents. Teachers of the Deaf will be happy to discuss progress, issues or concerns, or hear about achievements and successes through telephone calls/email. We will send parents copies of reports we write and share any advice we are offering to schools and settings, and will include the child’s view and parental comments within this.
I will never forget the day we had hearing aids fitted & nipped into parent group. Meeting the other children just instantly took a huge weight off of our shoulders.
Person:Parent's comment about the Hearing Support Team
Without having HSC teachers I would give up because I wouldn't be able cope in my lessons and I would struggle without them. I feel confident and I'm having lots of help with my lessons and that good thing. They help us with emotional support and talking about our feelings.
Person:Teacher's comment about the Hearing Support Team
The Hearing Support Team works closely with our health colleagues. We work in close partnership with the NHS Audiology Service and Cochlear Implant teams to assess children’s hearing and listening skills. We will monitor the child’s language and educational levels as appropriate for their age and in relation to their hearing loss.
Where there is involvement, we would liaise with other health professionals, such as Speech and Language Therapists, and other teams within the Leicestershire County Council, such as Early Years, SENA and Educational Psychologists, to ensure a joined-up approach.