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Deafness and Hearing Loss Fact Sheet

October 6, 2013 in The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities by Jess

Caroline’s Story

Caroline is six years old, with bright brown eyes and, at the moment, no front teeth, like so many other first graders. She also wears a hearing aid in each ear—and has done so since she was three, when she was diagnosed with a moderate hearing loss.

For Caroline’s parents, there were many clues along the way. Caroline often didn’t respond to her name if her back was turned. She didn’t startle at noises that made other people jump. She liked the TV on loud. But it was the preschool she started attending when she was three that first put the clues together and suggested to Caroline’s parents that they have her hearing checked. The most significant clue to the preschool was Caroline’s unclear speech, especially the lack of consonants like “d” and “t” at the end of words.

So Caroline’s parents took her to an audiologist, who collected a full medical history, examined the little girl’s ears inside and out, ran a battery of hearing tests and other assessments, and eventually diagnosed that Caroline’s inner ear (the cochlea) was damaged. The audiologist said she had sensorineural hearing loss.

Caroline was immediately fitted with hearing aids. She also began receiving special education and related services through the public school system. Now in the first grade, she regularly gets speech therapy and other services, and her speech has improved dramatically. So has her vocabulary and her attentiveness. She sits in the front row in class, an accommodation that helps her  hear the teacher clearly. She’s back on track, soaking up new information like a sponge, and eager for more. Read the rest of this entry →

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by Jess

Deaf-Blindness Fact Sheet

October 6, 2013 in The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities by Jess

About Deaf-Blindness

There are approximately roughly 45,000 to 50,000 individuals in the U.S who are deaf-blind. [1] According to the 2007 National Deaf-Blind Child Count, over 10,000 are children under the age of 21.[2]

The word “deaf-blindness” may seem as if a person cannot hear or see at all. The term actually describes a person who has some degree of loss in both vision and hearing. The amount of loss in either vision or hearing will vary from person to person.

Our nation’s special education law, the IDEA, defines “deaf-blindness” as:

…concomitant [simultaneous] hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness. [§300.8(c)(2)]

The National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness observes that the “key feature of deaf-blindness is that the combination of losses limits access to auditory and visual information.” [3] This can severely limit an individual’s natural opportunities to learn and communicate with others. Read the rest of this entry →

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Social skills in deaf or hard of hearing children

September 19, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing cannot hear all or certain sounds due to an inability to detect these sounds within their ear. They can communicate different ways which include manually and orally or both. Some people with a hearing impairment wear hearing aids or have a cochlear implant in order to aid in the hearing process.

The causes of a hearing impairment or deafness include genetics, diseases, medication, or trauma to the ear in some way. Parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing have options in regards to their education. Their child can be in a residential school, which is strictly for children with hearing loss. They could also be in a public school and receive special education services, or they can be in a mainstreamed classroom with no special education modifications or accommodations. Read the rest of this entry →

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Are Least Restrictive Environments Actually Most Restrictive Environment In Disguise for Deaf Students?

May 10, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Doug Goldberg

As of 2004, the definition of ‘least restrictive environment’ as written in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): “To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

Essentially what that means is that the law views public schools as the “least restrictive environment.” But we have to remember the majority of laws that were passed have been written by hearing people, with little or no input from Deaf people. To hearing people, public schools are least restrictive in the sense that hearing people do not need to worry about accessibility issues or accommodations. Can we say the same about Deaf students? Are public schools truly “least restrictive environment” for Deaf students? Many hearing legislators, hearing administrators, and the hearing society want to believe that Deaf students can attend a public school and do just fine, as long as the Deaf student has cochlear implant and is hearized to the fullest extent possible. Bills have been proposed with this belief in mind, such as House Bill 1367 in Indiana and Assembly Bill 2072 in California, for example. If schools for the deaf can be closed down as result of such bills, it’s a nice benefit in eyes of most legislators, administrators and society. Why waste money on schools for the deaf when it can be funneled toward public schools? Read the rest of this entry →

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Consideration of Special Factors in an IEP

June 7, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires the IEP Team to consider five special factors in developing, reviewing, and revising a child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).  The five special factors are listed in IDEA and read as follow:  Read the rest of this entry →

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Through your Child’s Eyes: American Sign Language

February 13, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

Communication is one of the most important aspects of every relationship and even more important when parents are trying to bond with their young children.   Communication comes in many forms and is not limited to only the spoken language.  The following 13 minute video describes with vivid imagery and parent interviews how American Sign Language has helped parents connect to their children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The video was produced by DJ Kurs in cooperation with California State University - Northridge and the California Department of Education.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Read the rest of this entry →

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