In light of Better Speech and Hearing Month, MCSD wants to shed light on common issues surrounding speech and hearing impairment among the student population. The District works in a number of ways to assist and accommodate the hard of hearing students in our area, from audiologists, like Dr. Bush, to teachers to speech pathologists.
Dr. Lindsay Bush, an educational audiologist, says that her favorite part about her job is being able to work directly with students in the school district and provide them with the resources that they need to have equal access to educational success. “There is a misconception that being hard of hearing takes away from a child’s aptitude and ability to be successful, and that just is not the case,” says Bush. Many of her students, she says, are “quite brilliant.”
After a work-related incident left her own father with hearing loss, Bush became interested in helping others who were hard of hearing. The Smiths Station, Ala., native began her journey into audiology when she entered college with the intent of becoming a speech pathologist. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from Auburn University, she soon realized that she wanted to pursue her doctoral degree in audiology. “The Department of Communication Disorders contains both speech pathology and audiology students. If you have 40 students in your graduating class, you have maybe two or three that go into the field of audiology, and the rest go into speech.”
Dr. Bush says that her position is quite unique because she, unlike most clinical audiologists, gets to work solely with students, which is what she loves the most about her job. No two days are the same for Dr. Bush, as her role requires her to perform a variety of tasks including audiological evaluations (true hearing tests), visiting various schools to check and fit hearing aids, and attending Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings. And since no two students are alike, she gets to explore her creative side when it comes to testing and engaging her students. “You have to be prepared for a little bit of everything,” says Bush. “There may be a day where I test six students in a row who can hear the sound and raise their hand without any trouble. And, the next six students may not be verbal, or I’ll have to turn it into a game. You have to be creative!”
And while her job is fun, it can also be quite cumbersome. “I don’t think people realize what all goes into helping these students. It’s not as simple as putting on a pair of glasses. It’s a very intensive process. When I put on my glasses in the morning, I can see and that’s that. Hearing aids certainly help, but they don’t completely replace the hearing that’s been lost. So, we need to make sure that the students get the necessary accommodations that they require, such as sitting closer to the front of the classroom. We need to make sure that the teacher is checking to make sure that student heard everything that was said. They may need the services of a speech pathologist.”
The best part of her job? You guessed it—the kids. “These are some of the most grateful kids. They see me, at most, once a month, but they come up to me and hug me and remember me. They’re great kids,” Bush said. Educational audiology has also opened up her eyes to the need in our community. “With the population that we serve, some students may not have personal hearing aids. Or, a lack of transportation inhibits them from getting to the doctor to replace them. Ideally, students would have school-issued hearing aids and then personal hearing aids when they go home in the evenings or during the weekends or summer months. Many times, that isn’t the case,” Bush says. She also says that she feels the services provided in our schools for these students make a world of difference.
“A lot of credit goes to the teachers, of course. They are out there in the trenches with the students, day-to-day,” Bush says.
Have questions? Check out these resources for more information: https://muscogee.k12.ga.us/p/Divisions/StudentServices/StudentsWithDisabilities/Information https://www.asha.org/BHSM/