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Stalling, Not Progressing

My child (who has a cochlear implant) started kindergarten five months ago. Initially he was doing really well, learning the alphabet and the sounds that different letters make. But recently I noticed that he seems to be stalling rather than progressing, as he had been. Could there be a problem with his implant? Or is something else the cause?

All children progress at different rates. If you suspect a technical problem with the implant that isn't obvious after conducting a sound test or changing the batteries, bring your son to his audiologist. It's possible that his program map needs adjustment.

If his slow progress does not appear to be implant-related, there might be something going on in the classroom. The best way to determine this is to visit the classroom. Many teachers welcome parent volunteers. Just make it clear that you are there to help out with the class in general rather than check up on the teacher and your son.

When visiting the classroom, bring a notepad that you can write observations in. Make note of things that the teacher does well, along with areas that could use improvement. Things to look for include:
  • Classroom acoustics (Are the chairs too noisy? Is the door to the hallway left open during class?)
  • The position of the teacher and your son (Does the teacher walk around a lot when teaching? Is your son seated close enough to the teacher?)
  • General classroom dynamics (Does the class often break out into small groups? Does the teacher enforce a "no-interrupting" or "one-voice" rule? Has the teacher created a visual classroom?)
Meet with your son's teacher to discuss any issues or concerns you may have. But remember to be tactful, and be sure to mention the things the teacher is doing well, in addition to the changes you would like to see implemented.

If problems persist and your child has an IEP, address your concerns with the team to see if they have any suggestions.

The mini-course and information sheet below may be useful.
Parent mini-course 6: Review your child's progress