Hearing-impaired children stay on track during the digital transition

Hearing-impaired children stay on track during the digital transition

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Children across the nation and in the Mid-South have had to adapt to online learning. With this transition there have been some difficulties, but how has this change impacted hearing-impaired students.

"Transition has been very difficult. I will say our one-on-one speech therapy sessions have gone a little more smoothly,” said Lauren Hays, executive director, Memphis Oral School for the Deaf (MOSD).

Hays says things are definitely not the same, but they are still targeting their mission, which is to help students develop their listening and language skills.

"Our children typically receive an hour of therapy a day, speech therapy and oral habilitation, and then are in the classroom for a full days worth of classroom instruction focused on listening and language. You can not do that through Zoom,” said Hays.

Julie Mercer has a five-year-old at the school. She says MOSD has really stepped up for its students, but admits there are challenges.

"One challenge with learning through the computer, it's harder for her to hear more of the automated sounding voice come through,” said Mercer.

During this transition parents have taken on a new job to make sure their child's education stays consistent.

"Teaching the children, it's more teaching the parents,” says Abby Meister, teacher, MOSD.

"I am learning how to work with her so much better than I would have, had she been at school,” said Mercer.

Meister adds that in the long run this shift is better preparing the parents.

"Parents are learning so many skills and they’re going to be their child’s teacher for the rest of their lives,” said Meister.

The new school year at MOSD begins in July, whether that will happen online or in person is yet to be decided. Hays says the children’s safety is their number one priority.

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