Special education services for children who are deaf or hard of hearing may be provided:
- in the local school your child would attend if he/she did not require special education
- in another school in the local education agency (LEA)
- in a special residential school for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The IEP team will make the decision about where your child will be placed and YOU are an integral member of the team. It is important to remember that the educational program and placement that are agreed upon by the IEP team must be provided at no cost to the parents.
To prepare for this discussion:
- Define your child’s individual needs (educational, psychological, social, and physical) and your own goals for your child as clearly and objectively as possible.
- Review all evaluations and know your child’s current level of educational, social, and emotional functioning.
- Visit and observe each program in person. Ask questions about relevant issues to your child’s needs.
- Meet with parents who have children enrolled in each program.
- Meet graduates of each program who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Read the literature provided or recommended by the school.
- Remember that placement decisions are not final. Decisions made now can be changed later, if necessary, as your child continues to develop or as new options become available.
When seeking a program setting for your child, consider including the following goals:
- The program addresses each student’s specific needs with regards to opportunities for postsecondary education and employment.
- All program personnel are informed of and support the child and family’s chosen communication mode.
- Opportunities to interact with deaf and hard of hearing peers and adults.
- Emphasis on self-esteem and acceptance of self as a deaf or hard of hearing individual.
Additional goals when seeking an Oral, Auditory-Verbal, or Cued Speech Program for your child should include:
- Development of skills (e.g., verbal/oral communication, social, emotional) necessary for full integration into the mainstream, hearing community.
- Emphasis on oral/cued communication within the family context and environment.
- Emphasis on the use of oral/cued communication at home and school.
- Spoken and written English are taught.
When seeking a Sign Language Program for your child, focus on the following goals:
- Maximization of sign language/manual communication skills.
- English as a second language is taught for reading and written communication.
- Terms you may hear when discussing your child’s educational program and setting:
A child in this setting spends 39% or less of the school day with his/her peers who are not disabled. Academic instruction is provided in a small class with a special education teacher.
A child in this setting spends between 40%-79% of the school day with his/her peers who are not disabled. Academic instruction is provided in the regular education classroom and in the special education classroom based on the child’s needs and IEP.
A child in this setting is educated in the regular classroom of the public or private school they attend. The child is tested and graded on the same academic material as his/her peers who are not disabled.
A child in this setting is educated in the regular education classroom and support services are brought to the child (rather than pulling the child out). Assignments are adapted to the child’s academic level.