From MDE-LIO Education Consultant Beth Rice
Teacher consultants (TCs) for Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) are always on the move! Some TCs serve many students county-wide, visit multiple districts a day, and can spend hours in their cars each week.
Many TCs carry materials and data-collection tools with them wherever they go, but how do they stay organized? Continue reading for tips on organizing your own traveling toolkit.
- Understand your students’ hearing assistive technology (HAT) devices and how to troubleshoot them. Individual manufacturers’ websites offer tutorials, user guides, and visual supports to aid your own learning and support the students and staff you serve.
- Bring extra parts, batteries, and tools to every visit. You never know when you will get stopped in the hall by someone saying the student’s hearing aid or HAT isn’t working. Bring extra supplies so you can assist and problem-solve common technology issues.
- Create your own troubleshooting tip sheets to leave with students and staff. Include your name and contact information. Staff can then troubleshoot issues when you are not present, and the tip sheets will enable building staff to help students learn to independently care for and use their HAT.
Find Tools That Work
TCs are often asked to explain students’ hearing levels. Audiograms with images at specific hearing levels, such as the Familiar Sounds Audiogram [PDF] from Central Institute for the Deaf, can build understanding. Websites such as Starkey’s Hearing Loss Simulator can also simulate hearing at various levels, with and without amplification. If you have printed and digital tools ready, you can more easily assist in any situation.
Data gathering is an ongoing responsibility for any TC. Listening checks, HAT use, accommodation efficacy, and progress on goals and objectives are just some items TCs track. Digital or online tools work best for some situations, while paper charts and checklists work best for others. Find what works for you, prepare data collection tools ahead of time, and keep them updated. Here are some resources to get started:
- Hearing Aid Listening Check [PDF] from Early Hearing Detection and Intervention
- Daily Listening Checks for Babies [PDF] from Hearing First
- Tools for Schools: Behavioral Listening Check [PDF] from Advanced Bionics
TCs can also support general education personnel who have not worked with an educational interpreter in the past. The following resources can help create appropriate expectations and build understanding of the role of an educational interpreter in a general education setting:
- Classroom Interpreting from Boys Town
- Interpreting Resources from Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID)
- Interpreter Resources from MDE-LIO
These tips are not exhaustive but should provide a good start for organizing your toolkit. Need additional support? MDE-LIO is planning to offer a workshop in February all about building your TC toolkit. More information will be available soon at MDE-LIO Events.