Children learn language through listening, repeating, what they hear, playing with sound and so on. Incorrect pronunciations are typically corrected by others without much effort. This process of learning language is called incidental language learning. Most children enter kindergarten with sophisticated use of spoken language using various sentence types correctly, able to self-correct spoken errors, and knows ‘silly language’ different from formal language. For the child with an impairment in hearing the natural pattern of learning through listening is hampered, even for the child with a minimal hearing loss.
Students who are deaf or hard of hearing have the same range of cognitive ability as do children with typical hearing. These students may participate in gifted classes or require additional educational supports. The general curriculum for all students is the initial measure of knowledge and skill. When identified by the IEP team, additional supports may be put into place in order to support the students’ ability to participate in their educational day on a more even par with their classmates.
In addition to academic achievement, the IEP team is to identify the functional performance for all students with a disability. The Expanded Core Curriculum for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing identifies areas of knowledge and skill specific for these students in order to successfully manage their independence. These areas are: Communication, Audiology, Social-Emotional skills, Self-Determination and Advocacy, Technology, and Career Education/Transition Planning.
Services for students who are deaf or hard of hearing:
• Assessments: formal and informal
• Student observations
• Determination of eligibility
• Report writing with suggestions for service
• Academic language support
• Auditory-oral training and support
• Self-advocacy skills
• Use of technology
• Transitional needs
• Assistive Listening Technology
As Itinerant teachers, CESA 2 staff works in continuous collaboration with the district staff. Diagnostics, consultation, and in-service for staff and students are a few of the additional services provided that help create an educational atmosphere of understanding and support.