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 Anonymous

My son attends a mainstream public high school. He has tried out for sports teams in the past but it has been a struggle to identify and keep interpreters after school hours to interpret for him. I know there is a deaf school within 40 minutes of our house. Could he join the sports teams at the deaf school but still go to public school? That way he can sign with the kids on the team and not need an interpreter.

Question from Anonymous. Posted May 12, 2009.
Response from Jennifer Adams and Mary Cook, RSD

Whether a student can participate on a sports team at a school for the deaf while attending a different public school depends on individual state high school athletic association eligibility rules. These rules and eligibility guidelines are available online, one should do an internet search for “(state name) High School Athletic Association.” ┬áIn New York State, for example, a student can only be listed on the team roster as a member for the school at which s/he attends.

In some states, students attend public school for part of their day, and a school for the deaf for part of their day. In this instance, whichever school is considered the primary placement is the school under which the student is eligible for sports. Frequently, these states will clarify this during individual student’s IEP meetings if the question is raised. Here in New York State, students from public school can participate in intramurals and, potentially, sports team practices (if they are NOT listed as a team member) if all proper liability insurance and other legal permissions have been agreed upon.