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Deafness
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Accommodations | Special Considerations |Interpreters | Hearing Aids and Lip Reading

 

Deafness is defined as: "… limitation in the process of hearing which impedes the educational process and necessitates the procurement of supportive services or programs."

Students in this category usually require oral, steno or sign language interpreters. Skilled sign language or steno interpreters will assist instructors in communicating with deaf students in their classes.

Accommodations may include:

bullet seating in the front of the classroom
bullet written supplement to oral instructions, assignments and directions
bullet visual aids as often as possible
bullet speaker facing the class during lectures
bullet speaker repeating the questions that other students in the class ask
bullet notetaker for class lectures
bullet test accommodations: extended time; separate place; proofreading of essay tests; access to word processor; interpreted directions
bullet unfamiliar vocabulary written on the board or a handout
bullet small amplification system such as an FM-loop system
bullet interpreter seated where the student can see the interpreter and the lecturer
bullet excess noise reduced as much as possible to facilitate communication

Special Considerations

Classroom discussions are difficult and should be followed by summaries of the relevant information. Questions raised by other students should be repeated by the instructor for the hearing impaired students. Videos without captions require a written summary or outline of the important points. Verbal assignments, due dates, changes in schedule and other information may be missed by the student and should be provided in writing. Oral tests may be impossible for the student and can be solved by a written exam. The student may not hear what is said while the instructor writes on the board. The use of overheads and all types of visual aids provide better communication.

Interpreters

If the student uses an interpreter, remember to look at the student and not at the interpreter. The interpreter should be seated so that the student can see the lecturer and the interpreter. If overheads or videos are used, some light should be left on so that the student can see the interpreter. Closed-captioned televisions are available from the Learning Technology Support Center. Discuss with the student other options for videos that are not closed captioned. A notetaker or copies of another student’s notes may be necessary, as the student cannot watch the interpreter and take notes at the same time. Interpreters are professionals with specialized training, and they will not give opinions about the student’s progress in the course. Consideration of a brief break during a long lecture will give the interpreter and student a much needed rest.

Hearing Aids and Lip Reading

Some students may use hearing aids and lip reading to assist in discriminating sounds; but only 30 percent of spoken words in the English language can be lip-read. It is important when speaking to a student with a hearing impairment to look at the student, keep hands away from the mouth, use shorter sentences, speak slowly, and use appropriate facial expressions and gestures. Technical and unfamiliar vocabulary should be written down for the student. Standing in front of a window or a source of glare may limit visibility for the student. It is not helpful to shout or exaggerate lip movements.

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