Special Education

Sensory Needs of Children


– Depends on the degree of hearing loss & the onset of that loss. With proper support, hearing impaired children can succeed in school.

* Language – Hearing impaired children since birth or before the acquisition of language, face more communication difficulties than those who became impaired after they learned the basic language.
* Isolation – is a common problem of children w/ hearing impairment. It may result in behavioral difficulties or aggressive behavior, if intervention are not put in place.
* Lip reading – Hearing impaired children can become skilled lip readers, but they can only decipher 10 to 30% of spoken language. Also, hearing impaired children may appear to understand, but may misinterpret the information.
* American Sign Language – primary means of communication. It may require an interpreter at first. Through sign language hearing impaired children can & must acquire age-appropriate social & negotiation skills. In sign language, language is not translated word per word.

Decibel (dB) – is the unit of measure for sound.

* Normal = can hear up to 0-25 dB range (sound of leaves)
* Mild hearing loss = can’t hear 20-40 dB (ticking clock)
* Moderate hearing loss = can’t hear 40-55 dB (needs hearing aid)
* Profound hearing loss = can’t hear 125-140 dB (jackhammer at close)


1. Conductive hearing loss- caused by brain trauma or physical blockage (earwax)
2. Sensory neural hearing loss – sensory or nerve damage in the inner ear.
3. Central neural hearing loss – (most difficult to evaluate) caused by: congenital brain damage, malformation, trauma, tumor, & toxic drugs.
4. Mixed hearing loss – combination of 1 & 2.
5. Functional hearing loss – (no organic basis)



* lack of attention
* uses gestures
* works best in small groups
* acts out
* preoccupied with thing, not with people
* responds to noises instead of words
* turn or cocks head
* lack of speech development
* monotone quality of voice
* difficulty in ff. directions
* imitate others
* reluctant to participate orally


* May have balance problems due to vertibular damage
* Has developmental delay and motor ability delay


Criteria of Qualification:

* low visual acuity
* visual field limitation
* progressive eye disease
* cortical visual impairment

Kinds of Visual Impairment:

* Partially sighted
* Low to Moderate visual impairment = 20/70 or 20/60
* Legally Blind = 20/200 or 20/400, w/ severe low vision
* Profound visual impairment = 20/400 or 20/1000, close to total blindness
* Totally Blind

Refractive Errors:

* nearsightedness – can only see clearly at close
* farsightedness – can only see clearly from afar
* astigmatism – blur or distorted vision in all distances. It may also cause headache & eye strain.

Characteristic of a Visually Impaired


* appears clumsy, especially in a new situation
* Holds head in an awkward position to look at something or holds a book or other object in a peculiar position to look at them.
* “Tunes out” when info. is on the board or in a book w/c the student can’t read.
* Constantly asks a neighbor to tell hi/her what’s going on
* Shows signs of fatigue or inattentiveness
* Exhibits poor self concept and ego development

Communicative Abilities:

* Less effective use of gestures and bodily action
* Uses lip movement in the articulation of sounds

Physical Behavior:

* Rubs eyes excessively
* Shuts or covers one eye, tilts head or thrusts head forward.
* Has difficulty in reading or in other work requiring close use of eyes.
* blinks more than usual
* holds books close to eyes
* unable to see distant things clearly
* squints eyelids together or frowns.


* Cross eyed
* Inflamed or watery eyes


* eye itchy, burn or feel scratchy
* cannot see well
* Dizziness, headaches, or nausea
* Blurred or double vision

Possible General Characteristics:

* Physical fitness is below those of sighted peers
* Balance development is impaired
* Fundamental motor patterns and skill are delayed
* Wide variation in residual vision.


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