Sheldon has a specialist centre to serve the hearing impaired pupils of North Wiltshire.
Definition of hearing impaired
The spectrum of hearing impairment ranges from those who are profoundly deaf (often from birth) to those who are suffering mild hearing loss. A hearing loss which originates in the outer or middle ear, responsible for conducting sound to the inner ear, is known as conductive hearing loss. This is most commonly caused by a condition known as glue ear, when the tube from the throat to the middle ear becomes blocked. It may be treated by the surgical insertion of grommets. Hearing loss originating in the inner ear is usually more serious and permanent and is known, as sensori-neural loss.
The unit is under the supervision of a training Teacher of the Deaf (ToD) - Lindsay Freeman - who is responsible for the audio logical provision for the pupils and their educational provision and support in order for them to access the curriculum. It also acts as a 'sanctuary' for this specific group of pupils for whom school life presents added issues and pressures. The role of the ToD is also to ensure the ongoing training of the mainstream teachers in order to ensure the appropriate teaching of the hearing impaired (HI) pupils.
The school benefits from the installation of a SoundField system in every teaching space. SoundField transmits the frequencies of speech with clarity and at equal volume around the room, at the same time reducing background noise, thus improving the speech to noise ratio. This acoustic experience benefits not only the HI pupils but all the individuals in the room and therefore provides an improved teaching and learning experience.
The role of the unit extends to support any pupils experiencing issues relating to deafness and aspires to raise deaf awareness throughout the school community. It has established links with the wider community in serving as a base for audiology clinics and the ToD has advisory commitments to families with younger deaf or hearing impaired children.
In-house speech therapy programmes are organised and delivered by a TA with specialist training.