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MedEd Connections Resource Guide: Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH)

What Is Assistive Technology, and How Can It Support My Child?

Children who are deaf/hard of hearing (D/HH) use a variety of assistive technology (AT), devices and services to complete educational tasks, participate in the general curriculum, and pursue social and leisure activities. AT may also provide a means for job and career access. AT can be low tech or high tech and includes tools and adaptations that may or may not contain electronic or mechanical components. If your child is under age three, it is important to go through the AT consideration process with your individualized family service plan (IFSP) team. If your child is school age, it is important to work with your child’s individualized education program (IEP) team to determine your child’s AT needs. For example, a Frequency Modulation/Digital Modulation (FM/DM) system may help D/HH students hear the physical education teacher in a noisy place like a gym. FM/DM systems assist in environments which have high background noise, distance from speaker to student, and reverberation. There are also hearing device retainers that you may buy to secure your child’s hearing aids or implants to their shirt so that it will not fly off during physical activities.

Regardless of your child’s age, you can consider your child’s AT needs with professionals providing early intervention, medical, or health services. The AT consideration process is a critical point in which educational, medical, and health professionals can come together to address your child’s specific needs. It is especially critical if hearing aids, implants, or FM/DM devices are involved.