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Special Education Paper Essay, Research Paper

My paper is based on a disability that many Americans and I have, hearing loss. The nature, causality, assessment, prevention, accommodation, and my personal reflection of the hearing loss will be discussed in my paper.

I. Nature of the Exceptionally:

According to Gallaudet University, approximately 1 of every 1,000 infants is born deaf while 6 of every 1,000 are born with some degree of hearing loss. Permanent hearing loss at birth annually affects 24,000 infants in the USA. In other words, 6 infants per 1,000 will have a hearing loss in a least one ear that will affect communication, cognition, and educational development. Twenty to thirty percent of hearing loss in children occurs during infancy and early childhood. Some will suffer hearing loss in one ear or possibly both. There are different types of hearing loss. A conductive hearing loss occurs in the middle ear. This is where three small bones involved in hearing are located. A hearing loss that occurs in this part of the ear is usually temporary. A chronic or recurrent ear infections may cause a hearing loss in the middle ear. There are cases where there is a malformation in this area that can be improved or corrected through surgery. There are occasions when a problem in the middle ear can not be corrected. A sensori-neural hearing loss occurs in the middle ear and indicates that there is nerve damage. This type of loss is not reversible. In summary, there are different natures of hearing loss some that can be corrected or others that are irreversible.

II. Etiology/Causality:

Parents sometimes ask ?Why did this happen to my child?? In some cases, the cause of a child?s hearing loss may be easy to trace. There may be a family history of deafness, a congenital condition, an illness, an accident, a prescribed medication, etc., that may obviously be cause of the hearing loss. In many cases, there may be no obvious reason for the hearing loss. Parents must come to understand that they may likely never know the cause of this hearing loss. In my case, Meningitis was the cause of my hearing loss. When I was one year old, I was not responding to my parent?s calls. They took me to the hospital to get tested and found that I had Meningitis.

III. Assessment

Many birthing facilities in our country have currently adopted the ?Universal Testing? of all infants for hearing loss. The two most frequently used measures for testing infants are the ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response) and Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE?s). Both measures can be made on an infant while he or she is sleeping and requires no response from the child. The ABR monitors brain activity. It looks specifically, however, the activity that happens in response to sound. OAE?s are a quick, non-invasive probe measure that determines cochlear, or inner ear, function. The importance of early childhood development is critical for a child with a hearing loss. Early diagnosis and intervention of hearing loss can mean the difference between toddlers entering school with severe language and concept delays versus children with age appropriate language and concept development. Early hearing screening paves the way for children to be able to begin life on an equal footing with their hearing peers. Recent research at Gallaudet University indicates that children whose hearing losses are identified in the first 6 months of life, and who receive intervention services, developed language within the normal range.

IV. Prevention/Remediation/Accommodation:

The law mandates that public schools are responsible for providing an ?appropriate education? within the child?s neighborhood school. School districts are required to educate students the least restrictive environment with the related services necessary to allow for their success. Some counties/states will have what is called ?cluster programs.? This is when classes for the deaf or hard of hearing are located in specific schools. Students can be in an environment with a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing and deaf and hard of hearing peers but also be in a regular school setting. Another options for family is a school for the deaf. Most schools for the deaf now offer different communication options from which a family can choose. Schools must take ?language and communication needs, opportunities for direct communications with peers and professional personnel in the child?s language and communication mode, academic level, and full range of needs, including opportunities for direct instruction in the child?s language and communication mode? into consideration. This does not mean that the peer will also have a hearing loss but should be able to communicate in the deaf or hard of hearing child?s mode of communication. Many parents choose to have their children in a setting where other deaf and hard of hearing students are also in attendance thereby allowing for friendships with other deaf and hard of hearing students to develop naturally.

Teacher may need to adjust their classroom to meet the student?s needs. The teacher must focus on reducing background noises as much as possible. To reduce background noises the classroom can have carpeting, area rugs, or drapes. If the classroom do not have drapes, tennis balls can be attached to the bottom of chair legs to stop chairs from scraping on the floor. Noise absorbing material such as a corkboard can be added to the classroom as well. The teacher should consider background noise when choosing the child?s seating placement. The school should adjust their teaching strategies to accommodate their student?s needs. When teaching in the classroom, the teacher needs to remember that a hearing aide do not ?correct? hearing in the same way that eyeglasses correct vision. When speaking to the class, the teacher needs to be in a distance where the child will be able to understand speech and speak at a normal tone. They need to remember that the deaf or hard or hearing child may have fluctuating hearing loss as a result of colds or ear infections changing what we can hear from day to day. There are communication options that teachers can use in the classroom. American Sign Language (ASL) is a manual language that is distinct from spoken English. Extensively used within and among deaf community. English is, however, taught as a second language. Closed Captioning is way of communication used on the television set. Words appear on the bottom of the screen to communicate to a deaf or hard of hearing student. Another form of communication is an interpreter. Interpreters are used for deaf and hard of hearing students to communicate in ASL what the teacher is discussing. Total Communication is the philosophy of using every to communicate with deaf and hard of hearing students. The child is exposed to a formal sign-language system, finger spelling, natural gestures, speech reading, body language, oral speech, and use of amplification. The idea is to communicate and teach vocabulary and language in any manner that works in the classroom.

V. Personal Reflections:

When I wrote this paper, I have never given my ?culture? background any thought. Deaf culture is part of my life. I have basically been raised in more of a hearing culture setting then a deaf culture setting. I went to school with my hearing peers but yet had many deaf friends. I went through the nature, causality, assessment, and the accommodation discussed in this paper. I have experienced this first hand and am lucky to have this support. Deaf and hard of hearing has their advantages. We have a right to sit up front at a concert or event. We can also shut people out by just switching off our hearing aides. Being part of the Deaf community is a great experience and I would not change that for the world.

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