Provision for children having special hearing or communication needs
For the purposes of this document, special hearing or communication needs include, but are not limited to, children with permanent hearing impairment; or with severe or complex needs including:
- speech, language and communication difficulties;
- visual impairments;
- fluctuating hearing impairments caused by conductive hearing loss;
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD);
- an auditory processing disorder or difficulty;
- being on the autistic spectrum.
The Equality Act 2010 places a duty on all schools and Local Authorities to prepare and implement accessibility strategies and plans to increase over time the accessibility of schools for disabled pupils and staff. Schools and Local Authorities are required to provide strategies for:
- increasing the extent to which disabled pupils can participate in a school’s curriculum.
- improving the physical environment of schools for the purpose of increasing the extent to which disabled pupils are able to take advantage of education and the benefits, facilities and services provided.
- improving the delivery to disabled pupils of information that is readily accessible to pupils who are not disabled.
This could mean provision of physical aids and acoustic improvements and aids. These will often benefit both hearing-impaired and other pupils.
When alterations affect the acoustics of a space then improvement of the acoustics to promote better access for children with special needs, including hearing impairments, must be considered.
Approved Document M: 2004 – Access to and use of buildings, in support of the Building Regulations includes requirements for access for children with special needs.
Other guidance includes BS 8300:2009 Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people.
Code of practice and Acoustics of Schools – A Design Guide.
Extracted from Acoustic Design of Schools Performance Standards.