Back to school: Handy advice and tips! With summer nearing its end, children will soon be heading back to the classroom. Here are some ideas and tips from Specialist Speech and Language Therapist Natalie Clark on how you can prepare your child for the upcoming school year: Technology Ensure your child’s technology is in clean, working conditionWhy not show your child how they can look after their hearing aids or cochlear implants, how to clean them and change the batteries. Reporting problemsWhen you notice your child’s device is not working – talk to them about it, practise what they could tell or ask an adult in those situations (E.g. “My hearing aid is not working.”, “I need a new battery.”) Pack spare batteries/cables into your child’s bagSend a small pack of spares with your child, talk through how to change batteries/cables with the class teacher or TA beforehand so they know what to look out for and how to replace them. Trouble-shooting information to schoolMany of the device manufacturers have information about troubleshooting the technology – provide these to school and talk them through with school staff. Words for soundsUse descriptive words for sounds that your child encounters (E.g. crackling, buzzing), providing the vocabulary for these types of sounds may help your child be specific in their reporting of any problems with their equipment. Some manufacturer troubleshooting guides can be found below: Med-el Troubleshooting Cochlear Troubleshooting your device Advanced Bionics Troubleshooting guide Phonak Troubleshooting infographic Starting the conversation Make an experience bookMake a story/ book with your child about starting school, who their class teacher is, who their friends are, what things they like to play or do at school and what things are hard or difficult. Draw pictures and stick in photos to use language within the process. Make a planTalk to your child about what the plan will be for the first day of school. You could write a list of what they will need to pack in their bag on the first day to practise literacy and planning skills. Help your child to know what to expectLook at photos on the school website to familiarise your child with what things might look like. Advocacy Talk about your child’s deafnessTalk about what makes your child special, practise what your child could say to their peers about their hearing aids/devices and how they can tell others what helps them. (E.g. "I wear hearing aids, it helps me when you look at me when you are talking." Talk to the teacherSuggest ways that the teacher can check your child’s understanding (E.g. asking the child to repeat back instructions, asking the child to tell a peer what to do) as well as supporting the child’s listening environment (E.g. position the child at the front of the class, use a FM system) StrategiesDiscuss situations that may be difficult in the classroom (E.g. too much noise, missing information), talk through ideas that your child can do to overcome these (E.g. Asking their teacher to say the instructions again) Potential Challenges Potential ideas or strategies Noisy classroom Ask the teacher to use the FM system Ask to sit at the front, near the teacher Explain to the teacher what you are having difficulty with Missed instructions from the teacher Ask a friend to repeat the instruction Ask the teacher to repeat the instruction Ask for clarification to ensure you know the full instruction Missed conversation in the playground Ask your friends to face you when they are talking Ask your friends to repeat what they said Talk to your friends about what things help you to understand and listen. Books If you have a child who is starting school for the first time, read books about starting school togetherHere are some book suggestions: The Book People Top 10 books for children starting school The School Run Best books about starting school Oxford Owl Books about starting school For a printable copy of these tip click here.