Hearing Loss PLUS Additional Disability(ies)

With 30-40% of all children with hearing loss having one or more additional disabilities this is a very important topic for all who care for, support and serve this population.

RESOURCES!  The Clerc Center from Gallaudet has developed the Deaf Students with Disabilities Network. It is a free interactive website that provides families and professionals with resources related to students who are deaf/hard of hearing who have any of the 13 disabilities identified in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Resources can be accessed by signing up to this free network. Another source of good information on children who are Deaf Plus is from Hands & Voices. A summary of resources for Deaf plus Autism is here. There are a number of resources for children who have both hearing and vision loss. Much of this information can be applicable to children with hearing loss and other significant disability conditions: Paths to Literacy   Early Literacy  Early Literacy webcast    Classroom Resources     Introduction to a Calendar System

Depositphotos_12088290_lStudents with multiple disabilities can have a range of impairments including: intellectual function, adaptive skills, motor development, sensory functions and communication skills. In addition, hearing and vision impairment are often seen individually or as deaf-blindness. Many students have limited speech or no speech, and their communication skills are impaired.

IDEA disability areas for this group include: mental retardation, cerebral palsy, severe hypotonia, motor control disorders, secondary motor impairments, epilepsy, sensory impairments, autism and deaf-blindness.

Itinerant teachers may work directly with a DHH Plus student, consultatively or with the team teaching approach. When the severity of combined learning challenges warrant it, these students are served in a separate setting. Deaf Plus students may require very explicit instruction and unique data collection techniques. In situations where hearing loss is not the primary learning challenge the teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing is often not the case manager or primary instructor. The itinerant teacher for deaf and hard of hearing is likely to address the communication and language issues of these students. Often goals for DHH services are integrated with classroom teacher and other related service professionals such as the teacher of the visually impaired, assistive technology, speech and language, and occupational therapy.

The consultation model of teaching students who are deaf and/or hard of hearing with additional disabilities may include the following components:

  • Observation – Observe class and child’s behavior from a HI perspective
  • Provide technical assistance
  • Problem solve
  • Answer questions
  • Support regular staff in implementing goals

Components of the direct teaching model for students identified as deaf and hard of hearing with intellectual disabilities, Autism spectrum disorder or multiple disabilities may include the following:

  • Input: Vocabulary, Bombard with vocabulary target
  • Comprehension: Vocabulary, Student identifies objects/action
  • Imitation: Vocabulary, Student imitates word
  • Use: Vocabulary, Student uses with structure then across settings

The team teaching approach involves a combination of consultation and direct service. Components include:

  • Integrating HI goals with classroom teacher and other related service professionals such as; the teacher of the visually impaired, assistive technology, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy.
  • Support classroom in implementing goals
  • Problem solve
  • Answer questions
  • Provide technical assistance
  • Teach specific listening skills
  • Support Language development
  • Develop communication both expressive and receptive

The following information was written by Andrea Mills Blackwood and Lynne Price as part of the 2014-2015 Teacher Tools membership year: Connect to the Curriculum      Universal Design for Learning    Using Object Schedules    Assessments    Story-Based Lessons    Multiple Challenges = Multiple Opportunities

Posted January 2016.

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