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Distracted Kindergartener

I am a kindergarten teacher of a child with a cochlear implant. Yesterday and today the child has seemed distracted and he does not always respond when I talk to him. I think there might be a problem with his implant, but I'm not sure. How can I tell?

The best way to determine if the implant is working is to conduct a sound test. If you are unfamiliar with a sound test, Google "Ling Six Sound Test", or click on the "Conducting a sound test" information sheet link below. A sound test will let you know if the implant is functioning or not. 

Additionally, some implants have an indicator light on the processor that will tell you if there is a technical problem. For example, some cochlear implants manufactured by Cochlear will display a green light if the battery is on, and a yellow light, or series of yellow lights, if the battery is empty. Whereas certain models by Advanced Bionics will blink orange 2-3 times when first turned on to indicate that the battery is charged, display a steady orange light if the battery is low, or display no light if the battery is completely dead. It is best to find out from the parents what indicators, if any, to look for.

If the implant is not working, there are a number of simple troubleshooting techniques that you can try. First, try changing the battery, if you have a spare in your classroom. If that doesn't work, try resetting the program, if the parents have shown you how. If that still doesn't work, examine the implant for frayed wires or other physical defects, and, if you have spare equipment, replace the damaged part(s).

If you feel uncomfortable troubleshooting the implant, have an aide or school administrator call the boy's parents to explain the problem, or talk to the parents at the end of the day. You can keep the child in class, but be aware that he may have trouble following along.

If the sound test shows that the implant is working, talk with the boy's parents and explain that he seems distracted and is behaving differently than usual. As I'm sure you know as a teacher, outside factors can contribute to a child's behavior in the classroom.

The information sheets below may help.
Information sheet: Conducting a sound test