Massachusetts: Garret’s Story: Moving to a State-Wide Strategy for School-Based Audiology Garret’s mom: Why wasn’t the educational audiologist invited to my son’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting? We had one in his old school. Special education director: What’s an educational audiologist? At the time, Garret was a kindergarten student in public school, with a bilateral moderate sensorineural hearing loss and significant ... School Matters
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School Matters  |   September 01, 2007
Massachusetts: Garret’s Story: Moving to a State-Wide Strategy for School-Based Audiology
Author Notes
  • Kym Meyer, an educational audiologist and teacher, is coordinator of The Outreach Partnership Program at The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham, Massachusetts. She chairs the ASHA-Council on Education of the Deaf Joint Committee. Contact her at kym_meyer@tlcdeaf.org.
    Kym Meyer, an educational audiologist and teacher, is coordinator of The Outreach Partnership Program at The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham, Massachusetts. She chairs the ASHA-Council on Education of the Deaf Joint Committee. Contact her at kym_meyer@tlcdeaf.org.×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / School-Based Settings / School Matters
School Matters   |   September 01, 2007
Massachusetts: Garret’s Story: Moving to a State-Wide Strategy for School-Based Audiology
The ASHA Leader, September 2007, Vol. 12, 31. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM4.12132007.31
The ASHA Leader, September 2007, Vol. 12, 31. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM4.12132007.31
Garret’s mom: Why wasn’t the educational audiologist invited to my son’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting? We had one in his old school.
Special education director: What’s an educational audiologist?
At the time, Garret was a kindergarten student in public school, with a bilateral moderate sensorineural hearing loss and significant speech-language needs. His family had just moved to Massachusetts from a state that employed educational audiologists in the school district. When a child with hearing loss came into that district, the educational audiologist was automatically called to fit appropriate classroom listening technology, support the teacher in making the curriculum accessible, and function as part of the educational team.
In our state, educational audiologists are still unheard of in most public schools. According to Massachusetts data, only five educational audiologists are employed by school districts in the state. This mom’s inquiry nine years ago became the impetus for contract educational audiology service delivery through our school for the deaf.
What does a full-time contract educational audiologist do? Drive…a lot. Last year I put 23,000 miles on my car. Our work is much more than fitting an FM system and providing technology training. In the contract model, educational audiologists can come to the child’s school on short notice to provide myriad services:
  • Liaison with the clinical audiologist
  • Interpret audiograms and discuss the implications for the student’s hearing loss on accessing the curriculum
  • Make recommendations for classroom accommodations
  • Educate teams on the impact of classroom acoustics for all learners
  • Work with educators to understand the benefits and limitations of hearing aids, cochlear implants, and FM technology
  • Identify appropriate personal and sound field technology for a student, based on current research and evidence-based practice
  • Help educators understand evaluations for auditory processing disorders and how to implement recommendations
  • Consult on school hearing screening protocols with nursing staff, who are responsible for the screenings
  • Develop audiologic/aural rehabilitation (AR) training goals for children with hearing loss, cochlear implants, and auditory processing disorders
  • Provide AR co-treatment with the school-based speech-language pathologists to support their knowledge of AR to foster progress on the hierarchy of auditory skill development
  • Assist with post-graduation transition planning with students who have hearing loss
  • Attend IEP/Section 504 meetings and make recommendations as a member of the educational team
  • Provide in-service training to educators on the impact of hearing on learning
In several districts educational audiologists see all students with hearing loss in the district, but in others they may see only one of the district’s students with hearing loss, usually at the parents’ request. There are still many districts in which educational audiology services are not available.
This inconsistent delivery of services prompted a group of audiologists to form the Massachusetts Educational Audiology (MEA) Task Force. MEA’s mission is to determine the most efficient way of making educational audiology services accessible to every student with a hearing loss. MEA representatives are providing information about educational audiology to the state Department of Education, educators, SLPs, parent groups, and clinical audiologists to “get the word out” about the benefits of educational audiology to schools.
And as for Garret—several years ago his family moved to another state and he receives services from a “terrific” educational audiologist, according to his mother. Garret now earns As and Bs in school and is about to enter ninth grade. He’s interested in sports broadcasting, is traveling to Europe with a student group, volunteers at an annual charity golf tournament to raise money for children who are deaf and hard of hearing, and has moved to a 504 plan, as he no longer needs special education services. I’m happy to have been a part of Garret’s early years as his educational audiologist.
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September 2007
Volume 12, Issue 13