In South Africa, the current movement towards the inclusion of children with disabilities, including children with hearing loss, is likely to have far-reaching consequences for both teachers and learners. Undoubtedly, needs will arise from teachers during the transition, especially in the areas pertaining to the audiological and educational management of children with hearing loss. A hearing loss often negatively impacts on the development of the child’s auditory, language, speech, communication, literacy, academic, and psychosocial skills. The educational audiologist is uniquely skilled in managing the effects of hearing loss on the child’s educational development, and is a crucial member on the educational team. The educational audiologist as specialist in the management of children with hearing loss, is able to offer a wide range of support and assistance to teachers as well as children with hearing loss in the inclusive educational system. When teachers receive appropriate educational audiology services, they are enabled to provide quality education that strives to reach the full potential of every child with hearing loss. Therefore, an urgent need existed to determine the needs of teachers of children with hearing loss regarding an educational audiology service delivery model for use within the inclusive educational system. In order to comply with this need, a descriptive research design was developed comprising of a questionnaire survey followed by focus group interviews. The questionnaire survey explored the needs of 664 teachers of children with hearing loss. Focus group interviews were conducted with 19 teachers of children with hearing loss and these results were used to substantiate findings from the questionnaire survey. The results of the study indicated that the needs of teachers differ according to the sub-groups found among teachers, namely those teachers who mainly promote the use of spoken language and those who mainly promote Sign Language. Findings revealed that, although participants realised the importance of various aspects of development of the child with hearing loss, they generally did not realise the importance of receiving support from an educational audiologist. With respect to specifics in term of support, participants strongly recommended that teachers receive support in the acquisition of knowledge re the trouble-shooting of hearing aids, advocacy for the implementation of FM systems in inclusive classrooms and the development of speech production skills of the child with hearing loss in the inclusive environment. In addition, various suggestions were made regarding the structure of services rendered within the educational context. These findings were utilised in order to propose an educational audiology service delivery model for South Africa in the current timeframe.
Thesis (DPhil (Communication Pathology))--University of Pretoria, 2005.