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Teacher Tips

Classroom Tips for Working with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students - Improving Communication

   Many deaf students rely on speech reading to obtain information from a speaker’s facial expressions to susupplement their auditory input. Here are some ideas for a number of simple, common-sense accommodations the teacher can do to improve both auditory and visual communication:

  • Speak naturally at normal volume. Exaggeration and over emphasis of speech will hinder the student’s ability to speech read and auditorily process language.
  • Get the attention of the student before addressing him/her (call the child’s name or tap his/her shoulder)
  • Make sure the speaker’s face is visible to the student.
  • Do not talk while walking around the room or turn towards the white board while giving instructions.
  • Since deaf students have difficulty following conversations that move around the room, identify who is speaking and repeat peer comments during class discussions.
    • Repeat any announcements given over the PA system.
    • Restate rather than simply repeat information when the student is having difficulty understanding after one repetition.
    • On the white board, write instructions and information such as new vocabulary words, assignments, and announcements, simple outlines for the lesson, and key words or phrases as the lesson progresses.
    • Check for understanding. Ask the student questions that require him/her to repeat content rather than respond with yes or no answers.
    • During video tape presentations, try to use a captioned version (the itinerant teacher may have a catalog . . . ask in advance)
  • Transitioning into new content is difficult for deaf students. Using phrases such as, “Does anyone have any more questions?” “To summarize what’s been discussed . . . ,” and “Let’s move on” will help the student follow changes in activities.