Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program
Our mission is to provide an effective educational opportunity to our deaf and hard of hearing students, age 3 through 22. Effective instructional leadership and quality learning environments ensure that students acquire the fundamental academic, vocational, and life skills necessary to become productive citizens. It is our goal that each child will make a positive contribution to the community in which they live.
Although we are proud of our accomplishments, we strive for constant improvement using current strategies and technology. Each student is valued as a unique individual, to be treated with dignity, in an atmosphere where individual differences are accepted. We believe that each student can learn. A challenging and nurturing environment is provided which allows each student to achieve his/her full potential. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that any person with disabilities be provided with reasonable accommodations and equal access to services. We stand committed to advocate for all deaf and hard of hearing persons equitably, acknowledging the individual’s preferred mode of communication and educational methods. It is also our commitment to promote and maintain highly qualified Educational Interpreters.
The academic program is planned, designed, and equipped to offer an educational foundation in all areas of essential academic requirements following the State of Ohio Standards, Department of Education Curriculum. Goals and objectives are developed through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that is jointly implemented by the therapists, classroom staff, and parents.
Preschool—We serve children from 3 to 5 years of age in small group settings where there is daily instruction using a cognitive based curriculum. The preschool objectives include assisting children in the development of a skillful communication system, assisting children in developing recognition of their self-worth, maintaining a program that is developmentally appropriate, encouraging children to become self-confident and independent learners and encouraging children to become problem solvers.
Elementary School —The dynamic integration of information provides an exciting, stimulating learning environment. The classroom environments are rich in literature, art, and culture and reflect many hours of creative work and preparation by Special Education teachers.
Middle School —The students at this level are passing through a very special and critical period; they experience more changes then in any other period of their lives. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of these students to acquire a successful transition from childhood to adolescence, both academically and emotionally.
High School — CMSD offers a fully accredited high school diploma to graduates who meet the state requirements. In order to meet the diverse interests and needs of these students, the high school offers options. Some students pursue an academic course of study designed to prepare them for post-secondary education, while other students choose to pursue vocational interests. Vocational Assessment is available
through the district and recommended to students beginning their high school years. After the assessment, the team agrees upon a plan that will be incorporated into the IEP in the following years.
Inclusion — CMSD recognizes that deaf or hard of hearing students need to gain experience interacting with hearing children and adults. Students who are deaf or hard of hearing have the option to be educated within a classroom of students with normal hearing. Some of the support may include Interpreters, Special Education resource teachers, note takers, and assistive technology, where services are provided within the context of the regular classroom.
Support Service Team
The following services may be provided to students who are deaf and hard of hearing as determined on an individual basis.
- Sign Language Interpreters
- Oral Interpreters
- Resource Teachers
- Deaf Role Models
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Speech Language Pathology
- Social Work
- School Psychology
- Captioned Media
- Assistive Technology
- Special Education Teachers
- General Education Teachers
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DEAF AND A HARD OF HEARING PERSON?
The deaf and hard of hearing community is very diverse; differing greatly on the cause and degree of hearing loss, age at onset, educational background, communication methods, and how individuals feel about their hearing loss. How a person "labels" themself in terms of their hearing loss is personal and may reflect identification with the deaf community or merely how their hearing loss affects their ability to communicate. They can either be deaf, Deaf, or hard of hearing.
DEFINITION OF "DEAF"
When we define "deaf", the parameters of the definition should be determined.
The audiological definition can be used, that is, one that focuses on the cause and severity of the hearing loss and whether or not hearing can be used for communication purposes. Generally, the term "deaf" refers to those who are unable to hear well enough to rely on their hearing and use it as a means of processing information.
Alternately, a cultural definition of deafness may be applied. Individuals who identify themselves as “Deaf” belong to a proud and distinctive subcultural group known as the Deaf community regardless of the severity of their hearing loss. Members of this group use sign language as a primary means of communication among themselves and hold a set of beliefs about themselves and their connection to the larger society.
DEFINITION OF HARD OF HEARING
The term "hard of hearing" refers to those who have some hearing, are able to use it for communication purposes, and who feel reasonably comfortable doing so. A hard of hearing person, in audiological terms, may have a mild to moderate hearing loss. Although the person is clinically hard of hearing, they may choose to identify themself as members of the Deaf community that is explained above.
COMMUNICATION CHOICES WITH DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING CHILDREN
The development of language and communication is essential to a child's social, emotional, and cognitive development. To acquire a language, a child must have access to that language. When a child is deaf or hard of hearing, for a variety of reasons, they may not have full access to spoken language. It is therefore necessary for families to determine if their child should have the potential for full access to spoken language, or if a visual language would better meet the child's language development needs.
The goal for each deaf or hard of hearing child is to acquire a solid base of language as early as possible, so development in all other areas will proceed accordingly. Decisions must be made as early in the child's life as possible regarding how to best assure a child full access to language so that the critical years for developing language are best utilized. If language development proceeds, deaf and hard of hearing children, in the absence of other challenges, have the potential to follow the same sequence and rate of development in other areas as children who can hear.
MEETING INDIVIDUAL NEEDS
There is no one right answer for all children. It is necessary to look at each child individually when making decisions about hearing aid use and auditory and speech development. Planning involves a team approach including family members, the audiologist and speech professionals, teachers, and other specialists involved in the child’s educational programming. It is essential to help families understand the impact of hearing aids and auditory and speech development. The development of a child’s auditory and speech skills are addressed within the context of his/her overall visual and spoken language development and educational program. Opportunities should be provided for trial use of a hearing aid and observation of a child’s responses and progress in listening, and speech development to assist in determining how this area of development will realistically benefit a child. The degree of focus placed on auditory and speech training for children will vary based on indicators suggesting potential for developing listening and speech skills i.e., degree of hearing loss, consistent use of amplification, ongoing progress in this area of development, etc.
DEAF CHILDREN WITH MULTIPLE DISABILITIES
A broad interpretation of the term “deaf” with multiple disabilities implies a hearing loss combined with another disability generally needing services beyond those provided for a child with the single disability of hearing loss. Additional disabilities may include mental retardation, learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD), visual impairment, cerebral palsy, orthopedic involvement, or other physical disabilities.
The deaf children with multiple disabilities have different accompanying disabilities; they function at different levels and have different ways of learning. The level of the hearing loss and of the additional disability influences their level of functioning. In addition, like that of other deaf and hard of hearing children, the age of onset of each disability, and the age when help/appropriate education is received are other influences.
All children in special education, including those with multiple disabilities, follow a written contract called the Individualized Education Program (IEP) that is developed by the parents, school personnel, and the child’s teacher. The goal is to develop the student's ability to function as independently as possible in the place of residence, the community, the classroom, and eventually on the job.
Manager, Deaf Education Program
National Association for the Deaf
American Society for Deaf Children
National Information Center on Deafness