Early March 2018
Hearing loss is a barrier that limits access to ongoing communication in the environment. For students who are hard of hearing this means that they do not perceive 90% or more of speech, especially if it occurs beyond the 3-6 foot range. Decreased speech perception translates into decreased comprehension, especially of novel words and new information. For students who are deaf and visual communicators, most only receive communication from their classroom interpreter with little meaningful conversation or information exchange directly with peers. Progress through the curriculum at the same rate as class peers with typical hearing assumes that the student has received the same information as those peers. It’s all about access!
We need to not only strive to close language and learning gaps, we need to simultaneously support our students in keeping up with the day-to-day learning in the classroom. We MUST monitor progress to know if full access is truly occurring and to ensure that our students are keeping pace with classroom expectations. Without appropriate support, the trajectory of educational performance shown above is all too likely. Students who are deaf or hard of hearing with no other learning issues – with full access to school communication – CAN progress at the expected rate IF they are receiving the appropriate intensity of focused support.
Monitor and Compare – Progress from Year-to-Year
Review your student files semi-annually for young children and annually for school-age students. Specifically, look at norm-referenced test results, like the high-stakes tests or language evaluations. Have the student’s percentile scores stayed constant? With your focused intervention and appropriate supports, has the student’s percentile scores improved? Or, like the figure above depicts, has the student experienced inappropriate access issues and insufficient supports causing a decrease in performance over time.