BANGOR, Maine — The Fairmount School has been hosting a special program for deaf and hard of hearing students in the Bangor area.
Kids Like Me is a regional peer support group for students in kindergarten through fifth grade who have a hearing loss. The eight-week program provides experiential learning activities such as role playing, small group discussion, journaling and assistive technology demonstrations. The activities help facilitate assertive listening and communication skills, self-esteem, leadership and a positive identity as a deaf or hard of hearing person.
Kids Like Me is sponsored by the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Children who are deaf or hard of hearing need peer support in order to comprehend and share how hearing loss affects every aspect of their daily life. Knowing that there are other children who have similar experiences and frustrations helps children to understand and accept what it means to be deaf or hard of hearing while maintaining a positive self-image.
A special guest of the program on May 13 was Eileen Peterson from the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf. She is an audiologist who helped the children understand about their hearing losses and showed them many types of equipment that help people hear.
The students had many questions and were very excited to learn about this technology that included hearing aids, FM systems and cochlear implants.
The students have benefited greatly from this program, which provided them with the opportunity to be with other students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Because of the Kids Like Me program, these students have a better understanding of their own hearing loss and know they are not alone. They have become great friends with other Kids Like Me, who understand what it is like to have a hearing loss.
Established in 1971, the Bangor Regional Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is a special program within the Bangor public schools.
Children in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in southern Penobscot County who have varying degrees of hearing loss are eligible to attend. Methods of communication vary and are based on individual student need.
Services include specialized instruction from teachers of the deaf, speech-language therapy tailored to meet the distinctive communication needs of students with hearing loss, audiological management, assistive technology and academic support services.