Learner thrives after receiving hearing aids
11 April 2022
“Thank you very much to the people who gave me the hearing aid. I can hear properly now, and I will be able to do well at school. Thank you very much for my hearing aid. Thank you.”
This was the heartfelt handwritten message from a learner at Gansbaai Primary School who was fitted with a new hearing aid and a FM system to help her cope in a mainstream school.
The school’s approach was the result of a process which started in 2013 when the Directorate: Inclusive and Specialised Education Support started a project to support mainstream schools as well as special schools via assistive technology. The aim was to take support to the learner in the mainstream school and to set up a loan centre in the education district to house the assistive devices.
Eight Special Schools were identified as Loan Centres and received a starter pack of specific devices. The Loan Centre ‘lends’ devices to mainstream schools. By using an assistive device, learners with barriers to learning in mainstream schools will gain access to the curriculum.
In 2017, this project was further developed where learners with learning barriers were referred for support, via the Screening Identification Assessment and Screening (SIAS) process and specific assistive devices could be purchased for them. Each learner could then use this assistive device during their schooling.
The learner at Gansbaai Primary, who was diagnosed with a bilateral hearing impairment, provide an example of how the project assists and accommodates learners to access the curriculum.
Valenzia Mackenzie, a Speech-Language Therapist in the Overberg District, determined that the learner requires a FM system. Mackenzie referred the case to the Provincial Loan Centre Committee. The case was presented and approved by the committee. The FM system could however not be fitted as the learner required new hearing aids. This was made possible by an Audiologist who contacted a private donor.
In August 2021 the learner was fitted with her new hearing aids and FM system.
The learner is currently in Grade 6 and her various subject teachers confirmed that she was doing very well. There has been an improvement with her self-image and communication. Previously the learner was more withdrawn, but her new hearing aids along with the FM system has just positively influenced her participation as she is actively participating within small group and bigger class discussions.
The story of Gansbaai Primary School show that learners facing barriers to learning require support that will enable them to access the curriculum and once accessibility is made possible, they will grow and flourish.