Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Communicating with Students who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing
The ability to communicate defines us as human beings and as a society. It forms a foundation for decision making and relationship building. Communicating with deaf or hard of hearing individuals in an achievable goal, even when accommodations (e.g., interpreters) are not present.
Sign Language Interpreters: In the Classroom
While visual language interpreters have gained more prominence and visibility in the classroom as a result of the passage of the American with Disabilities Act in 1990, they have been a part of the educational landscape since the early 1970's. Despite longevity in the classroom, the role and function of the interpreter is often confusing and distracting.
Speech-to-Text Services: An Overview of Real-Time Captioning
"Speech-to-text" is an umbrella term used to describe an accommodation where spoken communication and other auditory information are translated into text in real-time.
This student is deaf or severely hard of hearing. He may be able to communicate effectively in a one-on-one situation, but he is not able to hear sufficiently to succeed in a classroom without accommodation.
This student will need a Sign Language Interpreter to enable him to succeed in the classroom. He will rely on the interpreter to sign the class lectures and discussions as well as to voice any comments he has. If the student has an in class presentation he will sign his presentation and the interpreter will voice for him.
Since it is not possible for a deaf student to effectively take notes while watching an interpreter, this student will need a note taker for classroom lectures. The Learning Assistance Program generally hires student workers to take notes for deaf students. When a student worker is not available, the LAP will supply the student with two-ply NCR paper. The instructor may need to assist the student in locating a classmate who can share notes with the student.
It is possible that this student will need extended time to take tests. Since deaf students do not use English as their primary language, it may take them longer to organize their thoughts into correct English structure as well as take more time for them to completely comprehend what they are reading. This student may need to see the signs for some of the vocabulary in the test to ensure he understands the question correctly. In rare situations, the student may need to have a test (or parts of a test) interpreted for him. The extra time it takes to have the test interpreted or have parts of it clarified is another reason the student may need extended time to take his tests.
This student will likely use the internet as his primary mode of communication. Having an e-mail address for the instructor rather than a phone number will help to facilitate out-of-class communication. When making phone calls, this student will utilize a Text Telephone (tty) and may use an operator assisted relay service to make calls to non-tty users. The instructor will need to understand that phone calls through the relay service will take considerably more time than is normally expected for making phone calls.