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Signs of hearing loss in children

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Dear parents,

So much learning that your children do in school comes from listening to teachers and classmates. It is important to identify the signs that may indicate a possible hearing loss in your child as quickly as possible so that the next steps can be taken: testing followed by appropriate treatment and management.

According to the Hearing Health Foundation, it is more difficult to identify hearing loss in children who have developed speech skills, as they may have unconsciously developed coping techniques to compensate for their loss. Watch for these signs in older children:

• Your child seems to hear fine some of the time and then not respond at other times.

• Your child wants the television volume louder than other members of the family.

• Your child asks “What?” or says “Huh?” more often than he used to.

• Your child moves one ear forward when listening, or he complains that he can only hear out of his “good ear.”

• Your child’s grades fall, or his teacher notes that the child doesn’t seem to hear or respond in the classroom.

• Your child says that he didn’t hear you. Many parents assume their children are not paying attention, when in fact, there may be an unidentified hearing loss.

• It seems as though your child is just not paying attention.

• Your child starts to speak more loudly than previously.

• Your child looks at you intently when you speak to him. He may be depending on visual cues.

• You just have a feeling. Sometimes you just can’t put your finger on what your concern is.

There are many possible causes of acquired hearing loss that appear months or years after birth. Most hearing loss in children without obvious risk factors (such as premature birth) has a genetic cause. If you have concerns, contact your pediatrician for a referral to an audiologist, a professional who is specially trained to identify hearing loss in children of all ages, for a complete hearing evaluation.

Simple games to enhance math skills

Dear teacher,

Do you know any simple games that reinforce math skills that are not played on the computer? I would like to wean my children away from being online so much of the time.

Dear parent,

One way to lure children away from thinking that they can only have fun by being online is to play games with them. There are many board games that they should enjoy playing with you. Younger children can enjoy games that stress counting. Candyland and Chutes and Ladders are just two easy first games for children to play. In fact, any game that uses a spinner will have the youngest children practicing their counting skills.

As children get older, they can play more sophisticated games. Dominoes is a great choice for children who need to improve their adding skills. In addition, there are many dice games and experiments that children can enjoy. Here are two:

The block game: Get out a lot of building blocks. They can be different sizes. Have your children take turns throwing a pair of dice and adding up the numbers that come up. The child then stacks that number of blocks. The winner is the player who stacks the highest block tower in 10 or 20 rounds of play. And, of course, a player loses if his or her tower falls down before the end of a round of play.

Dicey experiment: This game will introduce your children to probability. You’ll need a pair of dice. Have your child roll the dice 36 times and find the difference between the number of dots on the top faces of the dice each time. Record the results on a graph that shows the differences and the number of times that difference was rolled. Repeat the experiment three more times. Then ask the child the question: What difference is most likely to show up when you roll a pair of dice?

Do teacher bonuses improve student outcomes?

Dear teacher,

What do you think about paying teachers bonuses when their students make academic progress?

Dear parent,

It’s no big secret that students in this country aren’t achieving as well as those in many other countries. In searching for ways to improve student outcomes, many school districts have tried teacher bonuses. It does sound like this policy could be a winner.

Unfortunately, according to several recent studies, the students of teachers who were offered incentive bonuses scored only slightly better on some standardized tests. And these differences were extremely small and not statistically significant, according to senior statistician Dan McCaffrey of the Rand Corporation. The corporation’s research showed that in the short term, teacher bonuses alone do not improve student performance.

More studies will need to be done to see if other measures might improve student outcomes. For example, beside monetary measures, future research might include such things as teacher practices via observation and professional development.

Parents should send questions and comments to dearteacher@dearteacher.com or ask them on the columnists’ website at www.dearteacher.com.

© Compass Syndicate Corporation, 2014.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate

Updated 4:57 pm, July 9, 2018
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