My daughter is 15 and profoundly deaf. She is not oral and has fluent and excellent sign language skills. She has a cochlear implant but it doesn’t work for her – epileptic activity has damaged the area of her brain that processes sound. She began to sign at 11 months. Her mainstream high school has an integrated deaf facility and she is doing very well at school. It has become apparent that there is an issue with reading/writing/comprehending English – I want to find out what it is and how to help to overcome it. My daughter is very keen to improve as she has academic ambitions. I have made several enquiries but have not been able to find out who to consult. The usual avenues are not set up for testing through sign language.
Your email emphasizes that contrary to what parents might believe, cochlear implants are not appropriate or necessarily useful for all deaf children. Most do benefit, but outcomes are quite variable (and often unpredictable) due to the large individual differences among deaf kids. As much as we would like to think so, there are no “silver bullets” in raising and educating deaf children. However, there are a variety of alternatives that can be helpful in situations like yours. In Victoria, contact the Victorian Deaf Education Institute in Melbourne at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Student Well-Being Division has the resources and contacts to assist you. In New South Wales, contact the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children email@example.com.
My 8-year-old son is profoundly deaf and uses ASL for communication. About 1 1/2 years ago he was removed from the deaf/HOH program offered by our city public school due to behavior problems and issues. The school told me his only option for placement was a local alternative school where he would use an interpreter. I expressed concern regarding this placement, as it does not seem like the LRE. There is only one other deaf student, there are no trained teachers of the deaf, and none of the school staff or administration knows ASL. I am concerned for my son’s social and cultural development as well as his education and ability to work on his emotional and behavioral challenges in this setting. I tried to have him enrolled at the deaf school in our state, but they will not take him because they are not able to deal with his behavioral and emotional needs. I am willing to have my son attend an appropriate program, such as PACES at ASD, but the local school insists he is in the LRE and that he is making progress. Since he has been in the alternative school he has made no significant progress, has had many critical incidents as well as sustained minor injuries, and has been hospitalized for his behavior twice. I do not feel my son is in the LRE, although I have expressed this to the school many times I feel my concerns about his placement are ignored. What is the best way for me to advocate for my son to be educated in the LRE?
Given what you have been through thus far, the best advice is for you to seek help from an Advocate, either in your community or through the State. Contact your State Department of Education; they will tell you how to obtain one. [You also might see if there is a local chapter of Hands & Voices; other parents of deaf children in your area might have had the same experience.] In addition, you might take a look at the website of the Conference of Educational Administrators Serving the Deaf (www.ceasd.org)and review the Child First information. There is a clear need to define “progress” as you and the LEA differ on this critical factor. Again, an Advocate with prior experience with deaf children and assessment likely would be a great place to start. You also might look into having an objective school psychologist (also with having experience with deaf children) involved in the IEP meeting.
The issue of LRE is always challenging, but you and the LEA need to remember the law requires a review of the “unique communication needs of deaf children.” The LRE is not the sole criterion for services, although it is one of the many criteria that IEP teams have to consider. The PACEs program* at the American School for the Deaf is considered the LRE for the 30 youngsters currently served in the program. That placement was determined by each child’s PPT (Planning and Placement Team) – IEP (Individualized Education Program) team.
*From the ASD website: The PACES Program is a special educational/residential unit for emotionally/behaviorally disordered students, who because of intensity of these disorders need educational, social, and psychological services beyond those offered in traditional school settings. The program’s goals are to maximize students’ potential and return them to the least restrictive educational environment. The PACES Program has two components: Upper PACES (ages 13 to 21) and Junior PACES (ages 6 to 13). [the program accepts out-of-state students]
My husband and I adopted our fourth child at age 3.5 from Eastern Europe. He had virtually NO language other than pointing, and indicating if he was happy or sad. The orphanage that we adopted him from reported that they did not realize he was profoundly deaf until he was 3 years old. He had never had any speech therapy, preschool, or early Intervention. Once he was part of our family, through much testing, we confirmed that he was profoundly deaf in both ears. He was fitted with hearing hearing aids, and at age 6, due to concerns for safety, he received a cochlear implant, and continues to wear one hearing aid. Our son is an absolute joy, and makes our family complete. He is now 7 years old, and has learned SO much. We use Total Communication both at home and at school. He is in a first grade class, with most academics taught in a self-contained HOH classroom, and spends part of the day in the “regular education class.” Socially, he is mostly like other 7 year old boys: fun-loving, action-packed, into sports and playing outside. Academically, he is still at a pre-school/kindergarten-ish level, and his receptive and expressive language is severely delayed. He talks and signs, but the majority of his words are not understandable. He mostly uses ASL/Signed English to communicate. Our major concern for our little guy, is, that his school is VERY focused on how behind he is language-wise, and academically (which he is). However, it is very difficult for them to see how far he HAS come in the four years we have had him. We don’t know any other families that have Deaf Children, that had NO Early Intervention, that were adopted internationally, and have the extreme language delay that our son has. We feel like we don’t know how to advocate for him at school, have high/yet acheivable expectations for him. All the literature that we find talks about how very important early Intervention is….but our child was not given that, and it was not in our control until he came to us. How do we provide him the most support possible, and help to increase his global language. His language delay is obviously impacting how much he is able to take in/learn at school. But we don’t know how to “hurry language along” for him. He gets “speech/language” 5 days a week at school…and we constantly talk and sign at home. It just doesn’t seem to be enough. Does he need some type of intensive therapy?
From what you have written, it really looks as if your son is thriving being in a loving home and has developed a way to communicate in a social way. You are correct about him getting a “late start” with regard to his exposure to consistent language, listening, and speech. When we, as professionals, begin working with children who are “budding roses,” I like to think that we all look at “potential” for blooming, and it is fairly common and appropriate to look at how much progress he makes over time, now that he is in a consistent educational environment. We hope to see one year of progress from where he is, for each year of experience.
He is currently in the mainstream classroom, and in a HOH classroom. What I cannot get a real feel for is how consistent his language input is within each modality. If he is getting a “total communication” philosophy, I worry that he may not be getting immersed in language consistently. It looks as if that is a concern from his educators. I typically am an enthusiastic advocate for total communication, but given his late start with language exposure, combined with the question of how much he was able to hear even after he had hearing aids, I feel more compelled to be sure he gets immersed in a consistent, accessible language system. Given this, I wonder whether you have considered a school for the deaf? Is there one close to you? Is there an intensive summer program that uses American Sign Language? I am asking this because I would be really curious to see how fast he picks up on a completely accessible language system when he is immersed in it.
While I am not abandoning speech and listening, I do think that we need to temper expectations a bit with regard to his potential to be an auditory learner given we can only verify that from age 6 on he is getting consistent access to sound via his CI.
As a first step, try contacting Hands & Voices (www.handsandvoices.org) or the American Society for Deaf Children (www.deafchildren.org) to find other families with deaf children in your area. Talking with other parents who have had similar experiences will be immensely helpful.
I am working with a preschool student who has bilateral cochlear Implants. His audiologist is recommending an FM system for him. What is the appropriate funding source? The County or the school district? Neither party accepted responsibility for this at the CPSE meeting. Can you refer me to some documentation of the regulations for this funding?
For this, you will want to contact the New York State Regional Associate for Preschool Education: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/quality/regassoc.htm. You are probably best off contacting the Western Regional Office directly by telephone:
NYS Education Department
P-12: Office of Special Education Special Education Quality Assurance (SEQA)
2A Richmond Avenue
Batavia NY 14020
Telephone: (585) 344-2002 — Fax: (585) 344-2422
If you have any difficulties, the Upstate Coordiantor is Christopher Suriano, (315) 476-5645.
I am wondering if you have any information about testing Deaf and hard-of-hearing students who come from non-English backgrounds to determine English proficiency? State laws require all students who have any other language spoken at home be tested when the enter preschool, before they leave preschool, and every year in school thereafter. The tests used by the district in preschool (Pre-IPT and WIDA-MODEL) do not allow sign language to be used, though they are spoken language and listening tests. Besides the obvious concern that students may score low because of a language delay due to their hearing loss and not just the second language at home, there is also the concern of testing students without sign when Total Communication is their mode of communication documented on their IEP. The problem is two laws colliding. The result from a low test score is a letter to parents saying their child qualifies for a bilingual or ESL classroom, though the team is recommending the DHH classroom. Do you have any information or ideas of other ways DHH students are tested to comply with state mandated ELL testing?
Let me share my experience in Colorado: As stated in this request for information, the primary area that language proficiency becomes an issue is with regards to eligibility for special education as there is a question on the eligibility form that asks if the learning problems are a result of lack of proficiency in English. In Colorado, the legal interpretation at the Department of Education is that the hearing loss trumps primary language, so that children would be eligible for special education even if they come from a family that es ASL or a language other than English in the home.
Regarding assessment, I think it would be discriminatory to provide the language assessment without the accommodation of sign when a child uses sign. The child’s primary language should also be assessed and when sign is used by the child, the assessment should be conducted by an individual fluent in the sign language of the child (ASL, Spanish, Chinese, etc.) to compare competency in the child’s primary language and in English.
Everything I have researched on the internet has said that IEP goals and objectives are determined by the team – annual goals that are measurable – and only after that is the placement discussed. I just received the draft IEP for my son’s meeting and here is what was written under Goal:
Goals and Objectives for (name of child’s) educational program to be delivered in an regular academic setting through the ____ Deaf program at _____ school as follows: (Child) will participate in all academic classes in the academic program supported by the ____ Deaf program at _____ school with classes at the 7th grade level to include – Immersion in ASL: -Reading: – Written English: – Mathematics: Science: social Studies: and electives that apply.
How Goal will be measured: Using curriculum based assessments (CBA’s), grades, rubric scores, standardized testing scores and/or other measures as needed.
Is it just me, but is this not an IEP? I’m reading it as my son’s annual objective is to go to school. Isn’t this objective just simply referring only to placement? It mentions nothing about goals for him, benchmarks, etc. – seriously, am I reading this wrong? For example, his evaluation by the school stated “Student should continue to work on his written skills using the Writing Process of pre-plannning, first draft, revisions, and final draft.” Just one example, there are others. So, wouldn’t this evaluation recommendation be the basis of one of his IEP goals, with perhaps four benchmarks of how his progress would be measured?
That’s what I think, but am I wrong?
The Individual Education Plan is one of, if not the most significant document for your child. While these may vary from state to state in some aspects, there still are universal sections that are required and mandated.
A few of these would be:
- The IEP should list your child’s strengths, interest and areas needing attention.
- Assessments to be used for your child should be listed and identified on the IEP.
- All subjects that require modification for your child need to be identified with goals as applicable.
- Grade level and functioning level should be noted.
- Goals, expectations, and performance standards should be specific and included.
- All services your child qualifies for should be listed with amount of weekly time to receive such services.
- Your child’s exceptionality should be identified.
It’s a little unclear from your question if your child is functioning at grade level; if so, then not having any goals in that subject area would be normal. We need to remember an IEP is to help a child get to that at-grade-level performance, and thus goals should be specific and measureable within the subject area.
You should be able to clearly see the stated goal, see the expectations, and see the results on a regular basis if your child is progressing or not. If for some reason progress isn’t being made then the teacher would show adaptations to try and help your child move ahead still.
There are now National Standards and Benchmarks for generally every subject area and these are found on line. These give you a good indication of what grade level performance would be and thus you would know what your child should be doing.
Perhaps to me the most important part of the IEP is the section referred to as Specially Designed Instruction. In this area one should be able to read an IEP, understand exactly where a child is functioning now, what adaptations are needed for this child and where the child needs to go. To have this section (SDI) clear and exact is very important.
I have a deaf son, grade 7. Just recently, I have attended an IEP meeting and requested that my son (who is currently homeschooled) be registered as a full time student. I asked that he be placed in the local junior high, who currently have no interpreter on staff. The school refused, saying that the IEP team’s recommendation was he attend an out of district day-school program (about 30 minutes away) because they have a deaf program set up through the state deaf school. I basically said that my son has the right to attend the local school, and providing him with an interpreter through an IEP is their responsibility. They refused, and for the first time ever – and my son attended public school many years ago in a different state, so I’ve been ot plenty of IEP meetings – the person in charge of special education services said that we could file a due process hearing and that he had plenty of lawyers that would argue against what we want. Never ever in over 30 plus IEP meetings had someone basically say, sue us, we dare you. Wow. but anyway, can a local school (district) refuse services to a deaf student based on the arguments of a) we aren’t set up for a deaf student, b) this other program already is set up and c) the IEP team recommends it (IEP team of 3 people and the 2 parents and deaf student disagreeing). Obviously they can, but do they have the legal right? Can we do anything other than sue, sue, sue?!
Although the Individualized Education Program Team includes the parents of the child, and the group that decides placement must include the parents, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) does not automatically require schools to follow the placement preference of the parents. IDEA requires placement decisions to be made on the basis of the child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals and services. According to the U.S. Department of Education:
The overriding rule . . . is that placement decisions for all children with disabilities must be made on an individual basis and ensure that each child with a disability is educated in the school the child would attend if not disabled unless the child’s IEP requires some other arrangement. However, [IDEA 2004] does not require that every child with a disability be placed in the regular classroom regardless of individual abilities and needs.
[The Least Restrictive Environment provision] of [IDEA 2004] presumes that the first placement option considered for each child with a disability is the regular classroom in the school that the child would attend if not disabled, with appropriate supplementary aids and services to facilitate such placement. Thus, before a child with a disability can be placed outside of the regular educational environment, the full range of supplementary aids and services that could be provided to facilitate the child’s placement in the regular classroom setting must be considered. Following that consideration, if a determination is made that a particular child with a disability cannot be educated satisfactorily in the regular educational environment, even with the provision of appropriate supplementary aids and services, that child could be placed in a setting other than the regular classroom.
71 Fed. Reg. 46587-46588
The [Least Restrictive Environment] requirements . . . express a strong preference, not a mandate, for educating children with disabilities in regular classes alongside their peers without disabilities . . .
[IDEA] . . . clarifies that the IEP Team, in developing the IEP for a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, must consider the child’s language and communication needs, opportunities for direct communication with peers and professional personnel in the child’s language and communication mode, and the child’s academic level and full range of needs, including opportunities for direct instruction in the child’s language and communication mode.
[E]ach child’s educational placement must be determined on an individual case-by-case basis depending on each child’s unique educational needs and circumstances, rather than by the child’s category of disability, and must be based on the child’s IEP . . .
71 Fed. Reg. 46585-46586
Prior written notice
But parents do have recourse when their preference is not satisfied. IDEA requires schools to give “prior written notice” whenever it:
· proposes to initiate or change, or
the educational placement of the child (among other things). The prior written notice must include:
If the school is refusing to provide the placement you are requesting, it is required to provide this notice. You can request that it do so. If the school does not already have a form you can request that the school use the form provided by the U.S. Department of Education at www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/modelform-notice.doc
This notice can serve as a starting point for discussions about appropriate settings for the child. It can also serve as part of the record if you decide to file a due process complaint.
If you are considering filing a due process complaint I recommend you contact a special education attorney. The National Disability Rights Network, http://www.ndrn.org/index.php, is a good source for an attorney.
I am trying to help my daughter. One of her children, a boy of 17, is deaf. He is in a regular school and now the school tells her that he only has 9 credits. They lie to her about things, saying that he wants to go to a deaf school 4 hours away and what they will do for him. What are the options? There are limited services here.
I would recommend that you contact the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind (ASDB) and ask for the name and phone number of the regional coordinator for cooperative services in your area. Ask if there are services offered from the Regional Cooperatives that are part of ASDB outreach services. If there is no Regional Cooperative agreement, you can contact Pia Benson ( Pia.Benson@asdb.az.gov) in the South East region or Jan Goetze (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Central region to see if services can be arranged. You also should also call the superintendent at the School for the Deaf (Robert Hill – email@example.com) to arrange a visit and/or talk to him about regional cooperative services.
My 15 year old son is profoundly deaf due to meningitis and has had a cochlear implant since he was 18 months old. He attends mainstream high school and is doing OK with modified curriculum. However, reading comprehension and both expressive and receptive language are a struggle for him. Our IEP is next month, and I am unsure what I can ask for when it comes to additional reading and language support. The school offers no additional reading classes and he already receives 30 minutes of speech therapy a day. He currently spends one class period a day with an OUTSTANDING resource room teacher.
I have been unable to locate a private speech language pathologist who is qualified to work with a deaf teenager and accepts private insurance. I am also unable to locate reading instructors in who are not $100/hour tutors. I have tried in vain to teach him myself, but I am not an educator and feel ill-equipped to teach. I am getting concerned about my son’s ability to live independently as an adult if he cannot read.
You have identified a handful of valid concerns regarding your son. First, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team is designed to address your son’s individual needs through assessment and instruction. Your son should have an annual audiogram, or hearing test to document how he currently responds with and without his cochlear implant. This will show the amount of access he has to auditory information, including spoken language. If he does not have complete access to spoken language, he may be trying to make a complete language out of bits and pieces. Without a solid language foundation, children cannot adequately express themselves. Annual assessments of your son’s receptive and expressive language, such as the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, the One-Word Expressive Vocabulary Test, and informal assessments of how he relates narrative events, can gauge his current use of language and changes in his language skills over time. He should also have periodic comprehensive assessments of his literacy skills, such as the Johns’ Basic Reading Inventory, which looks at his reading behaviors with passages of different levels and provides an analysis of the reading strategies he currently uses. This type of assessment provides a teacher with areas for instruction. Measurement of his language and literacy skills over time will document if his current instruction is successful and if it meets the educational goals developed by the IEP team. A lack of progress in language and reading may lead to additional instructional time focused on increasing literacy skills, such as vocabulary development, reading comprehension, and writing skills. Your son can also practice reading at home with materials that he can read independently. In these materials, he will come across unfamiliar words in a familiar context, which will help build his language skills. Finally, one consideration for your son may be the addition of sign support to spoken language. For a child who has incomplete access to spoken language, signs are a completely visual means to supplement speech. If you and your son decide to pursue this option, his IEP team will also need to consider the provision of an educational interpreter as part of his educational services. Your local Hands & Voices chapter, easily retrieved from an internet search, can provide additional resources for you.
I work with a deaf CI student with a cognitive (FS IQ 67 WISC-IV), as well as a speech and language disability. While we continue to work on phonological awareness skills and some phonics while reading, the student is proving to be mostly a sight word, or whole word, reader. This student is reading at the 1st grade level and has a sight word vocabulary of about 85 words. I am looking for a reading series or curriculum that would fit the student’s needs for a very pragmatic reading program which will build knowledge, language and vocabulary of common social and community content. The Edmark nor Milestones are a good fits, nor is the Fairview. The student (an “Only”) has some receptive sign skills, but is primarily oral.
In working with schools to implement phonics-based reading curricula with a variety of learners who are deaf or hard of hearing (including those with additional disabilities), I have found that some students initially struggle with understanding the abstract nature of phonology and benefit from starting with a sight word approach. A curriculum we have used in these cases is the PCI Reading Program. This research-based program contains three levels, the first teaches 140 basic sight words (primarily nouns and verbs) and the second focuses on an additional 140 more complex, sight words (compound words, inflectional endings) and introduces beginning letter-sound relationships. Finally, the third level bridges to a phonics-based approach. To learn more about this curriculum, I would recommend visiting the company’s website, which provides detailed information about the approach, a nice overview video, and a link to order sample lessons. http://www.pcieducation.com/reading/lvl1.aspx