Jorge's How-To Guide: Becoming Your Own Advocate
Jorge Delgado and his teachers were thrilled when they got the opportunity to pilot 24 Phonak Dynamic Soundfield Systems at their school. But what happens when you have amazing technology in your hands, and no one knows how to use it yet? 17-year-old Jorge took it upon himself to learn how to assemble each soundfield system, train each general education teacher receiving the technology, and transform his school in the process.
Jorge began by learning how the microphones and speakers work together. Once Jorge learned to use the technology himself, he wanted to be sure his teachers felt confident using the Roger system, too. He planned a training session called an in-service for all of the teachers receiving sound eld systems in their classrooms. He also created a video of his training for them to look back on later.
Whether leading a training or starting in a new class, a personal introduction helps teachers understand who you are, how your hearing loss affects you, and why the assistive technology and/or accommodations are important to you. For teachers, hearing this from you in your own words, rather than from your parent or hearing itinerant, can be very powerful. For instance, Jorge explained that he has microtia, uses a bone anchored hearing aid, and that the Phonak Dynamic Soundfield System would:
a. Improve his listening and learning with less strain to hear
b. Reduce the amount of repetition and vocal strain from his teachers
c. Help his peers, even those without hearing loss, hear and focus better
With just a few presses of a button, the Roger Dynamic Soundfield is ready to go. Yet no matter how simple technology may seem to you, when training your teachers in new technology, go step-by-step, and don’t rush. They will need to know how to turn devices on and off, wear them properly, and charge them. New technology can be challenging for some, so try to relate it to something they already know. Jorge told his teachers, “Just like you do with your phone, you will have to charge the transmitter at the end of the day.”
4. FOLLOW UP
After the in-service, check in to see how your teachers are doing with the technology. Help them troubleshoot so that they feel confident and embrace the changes. Don’t be afraid to politely remind them to charge the device, wear the microphone properly, or use the Roger Pass-around microphone when your peers are asking questions, if need be.
Even with assistive technology, there may still be times when you miss what is said or need to ask clarifying questions to understand. At the end of the day, whether you have teachers who struggle to embrace the technology in their classroom or the most supportive teachers in the world, you will always have to rely on your self-advocacy skills!
Installation instructions, user guides, instructional videos and other resources are available on Phonak.com and YouTube.
To hear the experiences of other kids and teens with hearing loss visit bringsoundtolife.com.