An Advocate for Classroom Success

November 30, 2016

Cochlear Implant Program Education Coordinator Jennifer Haney helps families find solutions to help their children with hearing loss thrive in the classroom. 

Jennifer Haney, M.Ed., does all she can to eliminate educational barriers for children who receive a cochlear implant at Lurie Children's. A former teacher of deaf and hard of hearing children who is also an early intervention therapist, Jennifer has special expertise in listening and spoken language development and is fluent in sign language.

Jennifer is the Hart Family Cochlear Implant Education Coordinator, a position supported by the Foundation for Hearing and Speech Rehabilitation (FHSR). Since joining Lurie Children's Cochlear Implant Program in December 2015, she has served as an essential bridge between parents, early intervention therapists, teachers and school administrators.
 
Her role is wide-ranging. Jennifer spends time in the medical center meeting with families, in the classroom observing children and with school-based and early intervention professionals in the community. She teaches educators about integrating auditory skills development techniques into the curriculum. Jennifer is also charged with organizing the "A Day at Lurie Children’s" educational program for community-based professionals working with pre-school and school-aged children.
 
Jennifer meets with parents to discuss their goals for their child after implantation, and to provide therapy and educational recommendations. Jennifer develops an initial report that is shared with the family, the school and the implant team to ensure that all stakeholders understand her recommendations.
 
Making families aware of the best educational options for their child's specific situation can make all the difference. For example, Jennifer worked with the family of a child whose progressive hearing loss had gone unrecognized for several years. When finally diagnosed, he still had spoken language, but his untreated hearing loss prevented him from developing the academic skills of his third-grade hearing peers. He received a cochlear implant and, with Jennifer's assistance, was placed in an oral education classroom. This setting supports listening, language and academic skills of children with hearing loss until they are ready to succeed in a mainstream class. He has made tremendous progress, and his path in life has been forever changed.
 
"Being able to meet and support a wide variety of families in varying stages of their child's journey and assisting in their educational success is very gratifying," says Jennifer. "Our team here is really amazing."

Lurie Children's Cochlear Implant Program is supported by the Foundation for Hearing and Speech Rehabilitation.