Cochlear Implantation

Cochlear ImplantI have been supporting a family whose deaf 3year old has just had a Cochlear Implant ( a hearing device that is implanted into the cochlea to deliver a sound sensation that the brain can interpret for speech). This has been a very exciting time for us all, but a very nerve wracking and emotional time for the family. I also was able to meet the implant team in Kilmarnock (our national implant centre) to discuss the procedure and likely outcomes.  Research has shown that the earlier a deaf child is implanted the more likely the success, although sucess is not guaranteed. They are now implanting at a year old! Our 3 year old will have 3 years to make up once her implant is ‘tuned’ in (one month from implantation to enable the operated site to heal)as well as trying to keep up with her peers.

Having supported the family so far I now feel that I will have to deliver strategies to ‘catch up’ the missed years, both for her nursery placement and her family. Our aim is to limit the gaps in language so that she can access the curriculum especially in the later primary years, and then into high school where I hope her choices and attainments will be limitless. A tall order? Our expectations must be high for her and support at these early stages will lay the foundations for good speech and access to language.

This child will still be deaf and need extra support throughout her education but she will also access the hearing world and have choices. Cochlear implants have proved to be successful for many users and as I learn and ecperience more of them I am amazed at the outcomes that I never dreamed would occur.

In service Day

I spent an interesting morning with the Outreach Teachers from the Inclusion and Equality Department, at Prestonpans Education Centre. The morning’s schedule was busy. First up was a session on the use of Digital images using iPhoto, with discussion on how the use of Digital Images could enhance the work with pupils who have Additional Support Needs.

The next slot was about Video Interactive Guidance, which was delivered by Penny and Hilery who have been taking part in this project. They explained that a short video is taken of a pupil interacting with a teacher. The footage is then played back to the teacher by her ‘mentor’ to inform practice. The ‘feedback session’ is also filmed so that the ‘mentor’ can receive feedback on her approach.

An interesting discussion took place about several blog posts within Exc-el, John Lewis was mentioned several times, and, also the blog ‘Support For All’ raised some interesting issues for discussion.

A walk round the new ‘build of software applications’ that we have on our ibooks and PCs in primary schools took place with particular emphasis on applications which could enhance the learning of those who have additional support needs.

We had an update on GLOW within East Lothian from two of our Mentors who are part of the Outreach Team, before the final session on Policy Documents.

All in all a very informative and interesting morning

Support for Us

After an in-service I did in November on Assessment and Dyslexia, several people thought it would be helpful to meet occasionally to share ideas/case studies to support each other.

The one this term was on Friday 26 Jan.  The next will be on 18th May @ St Gabriel’s Primary School, 1.30 – 3.

It was gratifying to welcome 10 people at the January get together. This included 2 class teachers and one teaching head.

Part of the intention was to make some sort of social network and there was certainly a lot of chat along with the chocolate biscuits.

However, we also discussed specific issues:

  • SQA Alternative Assessment Arrangements – referred to in an earlier post;
  • Agreement with the principles of formative assessment, but some unhappiness with the work overload implications;
  • SfL teachers also felt that the burden of paperwork sometimes distracted from the ‘real’ job of teaching;
  • The Aberdeen model of a network support for learning team – based in a secondary school with SfL teachers covering both sectors.

At our next meeting we plan to address the teaching of reading for those who struggle. We shall bring examples of resources we like and suggestions about methodology.

It would be great to have an even larger group to work collaboratively. I’d be grateful to hear if you plan to attend – just so I can get more biscuits and ensure there are enough chairs. And thanks to Irena for offering her wonderful new room at St. Gabriel’s. Hope to see you there.


Jars Recently, two SQA representatives visited Preston Lodge to clarify Alternative Assessment Arrangements. They discussed possible ‘adjustments or changes to published assessment arrangements for exams for candidates identified as having disabilities or additional support needs’.

The overarching message relating to a Scottish audience is that there is no need for a label – of dyslexia for example – to be assigned to an individual student in order for her or him to be entitled to alternative arrangements during their exams. Continue reading