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Sunday 24 June 2012

A special student

I wanted to tell you about a special student in my class, for privacy reasons we will call her Mary.  Mary is profoundly deaf and has many learning difficulties that means she is below grade level compared to her peers.  She has a number of hurdles she must overcome each day, just to get to school. She has severe eczema over her entire body which requires constant monitoring and an eye condition that requires her to have antibiotic ointment everyday and throughout the day, she has a lot of trouble with motor skills both gross and fine.  She sees a number of medical specialists and has two cochlear implants.  This has made an enormous difference to her, however because she didn't have any type of hearing aid until she was about 4 yrs old she has missed all the oral language young children receive in the early years of life.
The reason I think this student is so special is not because of her special needs in the classroom but because every day she turns up to school with a huge smile on her face and the best sound I hear all day is the sound of her laughter.  It reminds me everyday how fortunate I am to have two healthy, happy children and that no matter what life throws at me I always have something to smile about.
Below is a pic of "Mary" learning which fingers to use for each vowel.  

We use many resources in the classroom to help with sign language including putting up the signs around the classroom for objects, colours etc.  This way other students are able to communicate with Mary as well.
We sing songs using sign and we have picture books with the signs as well as text, we also roster "play dates" with her peers and teach them how to ask her to play.  We are in the process of making some IWB pages that other classes will be able to access to learn some signs when talking to Mary.

I would love to hear from other teachers how they create accessibility for hearing impaired students.


  1. Thank you for sharing Mary's story. I love the fact that we live in a time when our society works hard to provide the same experiences for ALL students. I believe that any child lucky enough to have a special needs child in their classroom is getting an amazing life lesson.

  2. I am teaching a sweet little girl with cochlear implants ... I know I am late to reply and you have a new class now but something that helped was having a book of the week. I enlarged a Reading Level 1 book and as a class we learnt to read it and sign it. We would do the same book for at least a week. The next book would always have some vocab that was the same as the previous book. Eg. A farm book with "look" as the sight word followed by a farm book with "said" as the sight word. We then read/signed our book to the school during assembly.

    I love your hand pic with the vowels on each finger. I might have to copy that idea if that's ok!