The Partially Hearing Unit at Greenwood Primary School was started in 1990, with a reception class added to the Unit in 2001.
Currently, there are seven staff members in this department as well as an audiologist/speech therapist. The primary goal of the Unit is to teach the learners how to communicate verbally so that they can become fully integrated into the hearing society, and continue to live up to their full potential.
The Partially Hearing Unit employs the auditory-oral approach in which children learn language and speech through the use of their residual hearing.
Many of the learners who attend the Unit come from underprivileged families. The Unit is able to support these learners in various ways including providing a daily meal, subsidised transport, and assistance with school uniforms, stationery, and hearing instruments.
Unfortunately, boarding facilities are not available.
Criteria for Admission
The Greenwood Primary School’s Partially Hearing Unit & its Teachers
The Unit caters for learners from age three to grade 7 – including junior and senior remedial classes. The mainstream Partially Hearing Unit works closely with the mainstream at Greenwood Primary School.
The classes in Greenwood Primary School’s Partially Hearing Unit are small – with just 6-12 learners per class to maximise the individual attention that each learner receives. Working with partially hearing children is challenging but extremely rewarding. It is wonderful to see the children thrive and grow in confidence through the years.
The CAPS system has been adapted to suit the learners, with a major focus on language. The learners are also actively involved in role-playing and self-discovery. There is a strong focus on using every-day objects to help the learners become familiar with size, shape, quantity, colour, and measurement terms.
A speech therapist interacts with the learners on a weekly basis, and the Unit works closely with a team comprising audiologists, ENT specialists, the Educational Support Centre, child psychologists, occupational therapists and local hospitals.
As with every child, partially hearing children progress at different rates, but at the end of the year parents, learners, and teachers are always extremely proud of how far they have come.
The partially hearing child & the learning environment
Partially hearing learners cannot be expected to sit still, and concentrate or learn facts if they have little or no understanding of language.
Many partially hearing children are easily frustrated because they cannot always make their needs known to those around them. In order to cope with these feelings, some children are susceptible to temper tantrums and can be aggressive. However, as their communication skills improve, the inappropriate behaviour patterns usually also improve.
Partially hearing children can demand a lot of time from their carers, and they are often fairly egocentric. It is important that they are taught to share and co-operate with their peers as well as communicate effectively with them.
Most partially hearing children are able to thrive and reach their full potential in a school environment. However, it is important that they are diagnosed as early as possible and correctly placed in order to receive the intervention that they need.
Once they have been diagnosed as having hearing loss, the partially hearing learners must be assisted by doctors, audiologists, speech therapists, parents and specialised educators to ensure that their needs are catered for.
Parents of Partially Hearing Children
Many parents struggle to come to terms with the fact that their child has hearing loss. They may visit many experts before finally accepting a diagnosis. Some parents may feel guilty, blaming themselves for the situation. This is very normal, and part of the process of learning to raise a partially hearing child.
Partially hearing children can require a lot more time and attention from their parents. There are also many additional costs involved including hearing instruments and visits to doctors. Many parents also have to consider arranging transport to a school which caters for their child’s educational needs.
Parents of partially hearing children are to be greatly admired for the wonderful way in which they adapt, struggle and persevere on a daily basis in order to provide the very best for their children.
Possible warning signs of hearing loss in children
If a child:
- Is inattentive
- Appears to not be listening
- Appears to be disobedient
- Unresponsive when called or spoken to
- Offers limited body language
- Doesn’t follow instructions
- Has poor articulation
- Has limited vocabulary
- Has poorly-constructed sentences
- Has jumbled sentences
- Has history of ear infections
- Or unintelligible speech
What to do if you think your child has hearing loss:
Visit the audiology department at a local hospital to have the child’s hearing tested. Alternatively, your doctor could refer you to an audiologist. You can also visit an ENT specialist, or get in touch with Greenwood Primary School’s Partially Hearing Unit for advice.
The important thing is to NOT ignore the symptoms!
The Partial Hearing Unit is in need of the following:
- Regular sponsors for donations of items such as loaves of bread, uniforms, hearing instruments & educational toys which can be used as teaching aids
- Teams of professionals who can offer support, counselling, guidance
- A parent observation room where parents can observe teachers interacting with their children so they learn how to do the same at home
The Greenwood Primary School Partially-Hearing Unit helps hearing-impaired learners to cope with their disability and improve their spoken language and communication skills.
Learners attempt to achieve their full academic and social potential in small, specially-equipped classes under the guidance of speciality trained educators, while integrating and interacting with their hearing peers. Parental support is very necessary and important.
- Preference will be given to:
- Hearing-impaired children. The child’s hearing impairment must be fully diagnosed by an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist. Recent reports from all medical specialists must be submitted with application as well as birth and immunisation certificates.
- Hearing children of profoundly deaf parents whose language development may be impeded by the lack of oral language stimulation in their home environments.
- Children with delayed language development due to psycho-neurological or medical reasons.
- Pre-school children between the ages of 3 and 6 years, and have been potty-trained will be considered if they qualify with the relevant criteria.
- Children who are in need of specialised language stimulation and tuition for the development of language will be considered for admission if they meet the criteria set out in paragraph 1, and provided that they will benefit from the structured oral language development programme that is provided by us at our Pre-school.
- English must be the means of communication for the learner. Signing and total communication methods are not used in partially hearing classes.
Prior to formal certification of a Partially Hearing Learner with Special Educational needs, the learner must undergo full audiological, speech, language and scholastic/psychological assessments before the multi-disciplinary team will consider admission to the classes. This is needed to ensure hearing loss is the main difficulty. Language delay must also be assessed.
Caution is exercised when considering test results on instruments designed for use on populations other than those of Eastern Cape. Qualitative assessments and observation must be considered in conjunction with formal test results for each learner.
A trial period of at least 3 to 6 months within the Partially Hearing Unit is recommended in order to determine whether the child is benefitting from the programme and making desired progress with special reference to speech and language development.
- Ideally every learner seeking admission should be assessed on the following:
- The Griffith’s Scale of Development (by a qualified psychologist)
- A speech and language assessment (by a qualified speech therapist)
Parents/guardians are responsible for the arrangement of appointments and the cost involved, and must agree to all reports being available to the relevant qualified personnel, (these reports are kept in the strictest confidence and governed by a code of professional ethics) on a clear understanding that the results will not necessarily guarantee admission of their child into the pre-school or into Grades 1 to 7. It imperative that parents provide all the necessary documentation when applying for admission of their child into partially hearing classes.
The educational support team reserves the right to have a child re-assessed if there is any doubt regarding the suitability and beneficial placement of the learner.
- When placement is being considered for a learner, a multi-disciplinary panel of psychologists, teachers, speech correction teachers or therapists will make an informed decision in consultation with the parents as to which class or grade would suite the learner best. This will depend on the learner’s level of language development and ability to cope with the education requirements of the grade for which they seek admission.
- The Education Department must sanction classification and formal placement in Specialised Education.
- Every learner who is enrolled at the Greenwood Primary Partially Hearing Unit should be re-assessed regularly on the assessments in (4a and 4b), as well as any other assessment that is deemed relevant.