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IEP Discussion Guide: How Hearing Loss Affects Communication Access Transcript

[Opening slide with the words, "This webinar series is provided by the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans and by the Minnesota Department of Education.]

[Title slide: "How does the student's degree of hearing affect his or her language and communication access?"]

[A woman appears (Jody Waldo). She is standing on one side of the screen and begins to speak. Above her is the following text, "Jody Waldo Parent of a Young Adult Who is Deaf in a Post-Secondary Education Setting." To her right is a sign language interpreter, Susan Boinis.]

Hello, my name is Jody Waldo, and I am a parent of a deaf son who is attending college and uses American Sign Language.  He attended deaf schools when he was growing up.  

It is important to think about a student’s degree of hearing loss when creating an individualized educational plan, also known as the IEP.  Degree of hearing loss means how low sounds have to be before they can be heard.  Each student is individual and the quality of hearing that is left, also known as residual hearing, affects spoken language and communication access.

[The text above Jody is replaced with, "Hearing loss at any level can cause delays in both receptive and expressive communication skills. * Including academic achievement and social/emotional well-being.]

Jody continues: Students who have a mild or moderate hearing loss as well as those with a severe to profound hearing loss can experience delays learning spoken receptive and expressive language skills.  Receptive language means language that they hear and understand.  Expressive language means what students can express by speaking or signing, especially if the family does not use sign language.  Spoken languages include English, Spanish, Hmong and Somali, for example. Delays and missing spoken information can cause struggles in school.  Also, students miss academic information and their social and emotional well-being may be affected.  As children become older, their needs may change because academics, information and social settings change.  It is important that the IEP team continue to discuss how students who are deaf or hard of hearing need to connect with other peers and adults, including role models, who are deaf and hard of hearing. This is needed at all grade levels because kids need to develop strong self-identities.

[The text above Jody is replaced with, "Developing a Language and Communication Focused IEP for Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: A Discussion Guide. Purpose: * To assist parents and professionals in developing language and communication-focused IEPs. * To provide a guide to help the IEP team consider the impact of hearing loss on the student's communication and language access."]

Jody continues: In this section of the Discussion Guide, the prompts help parents, teachers of deaf and hard of hearing students and other IEP team members to think about the students’ language and communication needs.  It is important that teams understand that being deaf or hard of hearing has a significant impact in many areas of life.

[The text above Jody is replaced with, "Discussion Prompts: * Functional Listening Evaluation and/or Speech Perception in Noice Results * Direct communication with adults who are deaf or hard of hearing * Direct communication with peers and school staff * Impact on language development * Effectiveness of access * Type of access"]

Jody continues: It is important to recognize how challenged or limited access to spoken language in the school setting affects access to language and communication. 

[The text above Jody is replaced with a visual of the Tools to identify impact. The tools are * Functional Listening Evaluation * Speech Perception in Noise Test * Age of Identification and Amplification * Present Language Levels]

Jody continues: Using tools such as the Functional Listening Evaluation, also known as the FLE,  and Speech Perception in Noise Test as some tools that can be used. When the FLE is not enough, then a systematic classroom observation in a challenging class may add more information.  The student’s perception of difficulties is also needed.  Degree of understanding spoken language in background noise that is typical in classes, as well as access to technology will help the IEP team figure out the proper programming and support. 

The IEP team needs to consider the type of access a student has to language and communication in order to determine services that will lead them to greater academic and social success.Some students do well with a sign language interpreter in the general education classroom, whereas other students prefer direct communication through signing, or cued English or speaking in smaller groups to support learning.  Some students seem to do well with an assistive listening device and others need real-time captioning support in a class or two when rigor and pace increase.

[The graphic above Jody is replaced with the following text and visual aid: "What type of access does your student have in the classroom? * Including access to social interactions*  Access + Language = Academic and Social Success."] 

Jody continues: In another example, does the student miss out on talking with classmates and friends when it’s noisy?  Do they have trouble hearing and interacting with other students because they don’t know what to say?  This might be because they’re not hearing what other kids talk about.   This may lead to social isolation and low self-esteem for some students.   

[The text and visual above Jody is replaced with a bubble outline. The central bubble says "Possible accommodations." The 5 connecting bubbles say, "Smaller class size" "Sign language interpreter" "Buddies on the playground" "Small group work" "Visual language"]

Jody continues: Other ideas for support include, but are not limited to: small group work, buddies on the playground, smaller class size, adding a visual language, such as American Sign Language or even the tool of Cued English or real-time captioning, and considering the need for a sign language interpreter.  

[The bubble outline above Jody is replaced with the following text along with 2 pictures of children signing, "Opportunities for Interaction and Direct Instruction. Interactions with other peers and adults who are deaf or hard of hearing are crucial in supporting social and emotional development."]

Jody continues: The IEP team needs to consider if the student needs more connections with deaf or hard of hearing peers and adult role-models and if they need additional instruction to boost their social language skills.  Being able to meet others who have attended a similar school setting or who are near the same age as they are, often helps students develop confidence.  The need for deaf or hard of hearing peers may change over time, so it is important that it is revisited at each level.   Students may feel more isolated in middle school and high school when the social scene changes and cafeterias and other places become louder and more difficult to talk and connect with other kids.  Some students seem fine in elementary school but then are lonelier in middle school and high school.   Interactions with other deaf or hard of hearing students help students know they’re not alone,  boost their self-esteem, and lead to overall social and academic success. 

[The information above Jody is replaced with the following text, "Resources: * American Speech Language Hearing Association * Functional Listening Evaluation * Gallaudet University * Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEADK) See page 7 of the Discussion Guide for websites."]

Jody continues: If a student uses a visual language, such as American Sign Language, the IEP team needs to consider how often the student works with a teacher and/or other staff who are fluent in ASL.  Also, communication with adults and peers who also use ASL needs to be considered. Some hearing peers may learn ASL and talk directly with deaf students, and this helps.  For other students, this is not enough.

[The text above Jody is replaced with, "Resources * Supporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss: Impact of Hearing Loss * Screening Identification for Targeting Educational Risk (SIFTER) * Listening and Spoken Language Knowledge Center * National Association of the Deaf * National Cued Speech Association (NCSA) * National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) See page 8 of the Discussion Guide for websites)]

Jody continues: If the student needs more interactions with other deaf or hard of hearing peers, the team may explore other programming and placement options to ensure the student’s social-emotional, as well as academic needs, are being met.

[Video fades to the original slide with the words, "This webinar series is provided by The Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans and by the Minnesota Department of Education."]

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