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Hearing Loss and Anxiety

Since the pandemic began, we have been having more and more important conversations about mental health, especially around our children. You may wonder how hearing loss impacts mental health.  As of 2019, about 20% of the world’s population has some form of hearing loss. A little over 15% of those people are kids.

 

What is anxiety?

The American Psychological Association defines anxiety as an emotion that is characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes. It is also considered a persistent heightened state of alert. Sometimes this can be a normal reaction to stressful situations and sometimes spirals into a disorder in itself.

 

What does it look like?

Anxiety can trigger physical symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, muscle aches, insomnia, and trouble concentrating, which may impact students’ quality of life and ability to perform and participate in school activities.

 

Hearing loss and anxiety

Language deprivation is a...

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Financial Assistance for Your Students and Families

Uncategorized Aug 14, 2022

Various resources exist to provide financial, medical and educational assistance to deaf/hard of hearing students and individuals, from state and federal government agencies to nonprofit organizations. These resources can be helpful when it comes to helping our students pursue a meaningful career and obtain the assistive technology they need. As my students enter their senior year, one of the things I want to make sure that they are educated about includes financial assistance for them as they leave the K-12 system and become independent adults. I also want to make sure that family members know these options as well as they prepare for their children to become legal adults. In addition, for my younger kids, I want to make sure that the parents are aware of different funding options that are available to them, as parents of children with hearing loss.

I recently came across this blog post from Bankrate, outlining some options for students and families. With permission, I'm...

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The Importance of Books with Deaf Characters

We all know that literacy is a huge part of success in the classroom, right? Students are more likely to transfer literacy learning to real life and the future if they are engaged in relevant learning opportunities (Morrow and Gambrell). One way that we can blend literacy opportunities with meaningful content while also building up our deaf and hard of hearing students’ self identity, advocacy, and awareness, is by including books with deaf characters into our sessions and sharing these resources with families. This is especially important for our students that may be more isolated in schools or programs without deaf peers, or who live at home with family members that are all hearing or maybe don’t use ASL like they do. 

A few years ago, I started my Amazon wishlist, as many other teachers did, and I filled my list with books with deaf characters after discovering Taylor Thomas and Emily Manson’s really comprehensive Google Sheet filled with books,...

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Celebrating Pride and Being an Ally for Queer DHH Students

 

Our caseloads of deaf/hard of hearing students are very diverse and no one student is ever the same. As our world continues to change to be more inclusive (in many ways), it is important to acknowledge that our diverse caseloads probably also include queer deaf students. June is Pride Month, and our team at The Online Itinerant wanted to share some resources and ideas for being an ally to the queer deaf community and educate educators that may not be familiar with things like pronouns. Let’s start with the basics. Here, Chella Man and Nyle Dimarco share what it is like being queer and deaf for them. Nyle Dimarco and Chella Man on Being Queer and Deaf | Them.

Queer Signs
Rogan Shannon on YouTube shared a great video on queer signs if you would like to educate yourself. Here’s another from Chella Man and Nyle Dimarco.

Pronouns
ASL does not have gendered pronouns, but in English, many people (queer or not) have begun sharing pronouns when they introduce themselves, along with...

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Summer Fun or Summer Bummer?

It's SUMMER!  

Although summer is something that many of us look forward to, for some children with hearing loss, summer is a time of stress and loneliness. 

However, a little bit of planning and thought can make a big difference for your child.  This blog post will outline the steps that can help families support their children this summer.

 

 

A lot of summer activities that are fun for other kids can be stressful for a child who is deaf or hard of hearing.  This stress can be triggered because they don't have full access to the activity or the planning, people or background information to understand or anticipate it.  This might mean that they do not understand where you are going, who you are with, or can fully access the conversation and fun that is happening around them.  This can especially be an issue when there are big groups of people involved.  This can cause stress and frustration for your child, which can impact the full...

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An Edible Lesson in Hearing Loss

It's the end of the school year!  Not to mention, Better Speech and Hearing Month......

It's the end of the school year!  This is the time of the year when it's tricky to pull students from their classes to work on any skills with them.   I'm competing with beautiful weather, movie days, concert practice, fun end-of-the-year projects and other activities.  Planning my sessions with students this time of the year takes careful coordination with teachers to make sure I'm not overlapping a field trip or other special classroom activity.

To keep their time with me motivating and fun, this is the perfect opportunity to reinforce ear anatomy through my Edible Ear Lesson.  My students LOVE this activity!  I never get a complaint about pulling them when this is the plan for the day.

For schools that house multiple students on my caseload, this is the perfect end-of-the-year party.  I can easily pull multiple students from a variety of grades to do...

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Universal Design for Learning Strategies - Classroom Layout

 

Education is something that everyone should have access to, regardless of hearing (or any disability!). If we want deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) students to be successful, one strategy is to use Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which provides strategies that make learning accessible to ALL students, including students who are deaf or hard of hearing. These are great strategies to utilize not only because it is all inclusive and guards against students feeling singled out, but also can be a great way to facilitate buy-in from teachers, so that they recognize that by supporting their DHH student in this way, they are actually supporting all the students in their classroom.  Because, after all, accessibility goes beyond the visual and auditory access and includes changes in the classroom instruction and the space itself.  

So, how do we make our classrooms more accessible? How can we incorporate Universal Design for Learning (UDL) into our classroom...

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11 Ways to Honor Deaf Awareness

Uncategorized Sep 27, 2021

 

Did you know that September is Deaf Awareness Month?  Not only that, but this week is Deaf Awareness Week!  I love that Deaf Awareness happens at the beginning of the school year.   This is a great opportunity to pour into kids and their classmate's backgrounds and build sensitivity and awareness and being deaf.  My experience is that hearing children LOVE to learn about hearing loss, sign language, Deaf Trivia and anything that relates to deafness.  In addition, it also tends to offer an opportunity to ask questions and allows your deaf or hard-of-hearing student to be the star of the show.  I have seen a single Deaf Awareness presentations break down any stigma associated with the FM system, hearing aids, cochlear implants, sign language interpreters and more.

Below are 11 of my favorite activities you can do for Deaf Awareness Month:

1.  Read a good book with Deaf characters

Need a list of books?  CLICK HERE.  This...

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Using Student Observation to Support Your Gen Ed Teacher

Did you know that the brain has a powerful need to finish what it starts?   When it can't finish something, your brain makes a mental sticky note to finish it. Thoughts about what we could not finish lingers in the back of our minds as a way to remind us that something still needs to be completed.   Although this natural mechanism exists to help us remember our “to do” list, it can also overwhelm us when that list is unending.  (James and Kendell, 1997).   

 

 

 Do you ever feel like the list of things you need to do to support your DHH child/student is unending?  This is because you can never mentally “check off” that you have completed the task of meeting their needs.  I know we are not supposed to use words like “always” or “never.”  But in this case, the situation really is NEVER.  As soon as you check something off your list, something new gets added.  It's...

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The Itinerant Teacher - a Slave to her Schedule

 

When I started as an itinerant teacher my schedule was awful.  I felt scattered all the time.  I was literally driving in circles every week with more windshield time than time with my students.  I had students I would drive more than an hour to see, so that I could spend 30 minutes with them.   Is your schedule crazy like this?



I was frustrated.  I felt unorganized and unbalanced.  

 

I finally recognized that my schedule was controlling me.  I needed to turn things around so that I controlled it.  

 

Having domain over my schedule and having ongoing, easily accessible, materials at my fingertips for all students lightened my load and completely changed how I delivered services - and increased the impact I had.  

 

Let me give you the 5 steps I took, and you can take, to control of your schedule.



5 STEPS TO TAKE DOMAIN OF YOUR SCHEDULE:

 

  1. Group kids in a similar area on the same day 
  2. ...
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