Should I Share Information About My Child’s Hearing Condition with School and Medical Professionals?
The professionals working with your child at school and in doctor’s offices can do their best work for your child when they are the most informed about your child. It is your right as a parent to choose what you share, but our recommendation is to be open with your communication. The medical professionals need to understand how your child functions on a day to day basis in all the environments – home, school, and community. The educational team can best match strategies and interventions when they understand your child’s medical diagnoses. Again, it is your right to control what is shared, and your permission is required for these professionals to share information across the medical and educational systems.
Sharing Information with the School Team
When a student has medical challenges, which may impact their access to education, it can be incredibly helpful to the school team to understand the root causes of those challenges. Understanding your child’s medical needs helps educators plan for the most appropriate supports and services for your child’s learning and experiences at school. You may be working with doctors, audiologists, and various medical professionals based on your child’s unique needs. As educators plan for instruction, structure the learning environment, and plan for social engagement at school, having an adequate understanding of your child helps to ensure they have everything in place for your child to access and participate in their learning.
There is also cross over between medical and educational professionals. For example, you may have an audiologist you have worked with in the medical field, but the school has an educational audiologist involved with your child. Making sure the educational audiologist has information from his/her medical counterpart, ensures smooth decision making by both professionals working with your child. For example, if your child is having trouble understanding conversations in the cafeteria, or in the classroom, the educational audiologist can modify the acoustics of the room, recommend new assistive technology, or suggest strategies for your child’s school team.
It is important to share the details of your child's medical history with the school that will assist with your child's education. The special education eligibility process does require some sharing of information for students to qualify for services, but that is well explained in that process. In addition, parents can choose to provide the school with a copy of their child’s diagnosis, assessments, and recommendations associated with school supports without releasing all medical records, including sensitive information you would rather keep confidential.
Sharing Information with the Medical Team
For your child with a hearing loss, as you work with your team of medical professionals, or your family doctor, you might want to share information about how your child is functioning in school. You also may want school personnel to talk directly with the medical professionals. When medical professionals understand a child’s daily activities and any challenges occurring at school or at home, they can better diagnose and propose solutions.
There may also be cross over between medical and educational professionals. For example, you may have an audiologist you have worked with in the medical field, but the school has an educational audiologist involved with your child. Making sure the medical audiologist has information from his/her educational counterpart, ensures smooth decision making by both professionals working with your child. For example, if your child is having trouble understanding conversations at home, or in the community, the medical audiologist can modify the acoustics, recommend new assistive technology, or suggest strategies for your family.
Sharing your child’s educational information with the medical professionals can improve their ability to work together to address your child’s needs. To share information with your school and/or healthcare team, complete the appropriate release of information forms. Your permission is required for this information to be shared. Providing permission allows providers from healthcare and school teams to share information with each other.
Release of medical or school information is protected by Laws, such as the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
For more information about these laws concerning your child’s information release, visit:
Comparison of FERPA and HIPAA Privacy Rule | State Public Health | ASTHO