Raising and Educating a Deaf Child

International experts answer your questions about the choices, controversies, and decisions faced by the parents and educators of deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

Question from S.C., New York

I was looking at the pay scale for a “deaf coach” or “sign skills coach.” I work with a student who is profoundly hearing impaired and uses ASL. The student’s TOD has said that I am qualified, and as far as she is concerned I am a sign skill coach with out the title. I am a 1:1 paraeducator and earn very little. I am looking to further my ASL skills and maybe advance in my field.

Question from S.C., New York. Posted March 23, 2011.
Response from Anne Kingston - Monroe #1 BOCES

The Signing Skills Coach position as it developed in our BOCES program:

It evolved from a position originally titled “Skills Coach.” A Skills Coach worked 1:1 with a student to support classroom instruction and practice academic skills that the teacher had presented to the class. During these years, it was noted that there were many children who needed more of a paraprofessional/aide position with sign language skills. These children, however, were not ready or able to utilize the fluency of an interpreter. This developed into a Skills Coach who signed, or a ‘Signing’ Skills Coach. Not a Sign Skills Coach, which many people assume this title means. Currently we have SSCs working with students who may have multiple disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, or a variety of other possible conditions. About half of these children have hearing loss. Other children are hearing but non-verbal and are learning sign for expressive language purposes.

Salaries for the SSCs are based upon educational background. The current rate for a per diem sub in western New York is $12-13/hour. Starting salary rates are a little higher and include benefits.