About UsSupporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss began in 2011 and was created by Karen Anderson, PhD, with the goal of creating an ‘umbrella website’ for teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing. Karen had many practical materials that were frequently requested and had developed a personal website of these tools. Supporting Success built on the concept of making practical information readily available, resulting in the current resource-packed website.
Core Goals of Supporting Success are:1. Provide persons who work with students who are deaf or hard of hearing the resources to fulfill our mission “to improve the futures of children with hearing loss.” 2. Maintain a growing bank of free information and resource handouts relevant to supporting child development and student success 3. Provide products for sale that have been specifically selected to support the success of students with hearing loss, offered at a price equal to, or lower than, all other sources a. Develop resources when gaps are identified, such as an overview of services provided by an itinerant teacher (Building Skills for Success in the Fast-Paced Classroom), teaching amplification independence skills (Building Skills for Independence in the Mainstream), and communication repair skills (SCRIPT). b. Publish practical, high-quality materials through Supporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss Publications 4. Provide relevant and practical professional development specifically for teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing and others who support school success of these students a. Create webcasts and offer them at as low a cost possible, viewable 24/7 for 300 days, with useful handouts and certificates of professional development b. Offer professional presentations upon invitation to school districts, regional programs, and relevant conference venues c. Offer a biennial Supporting Success for Children with Hearing Loss Conference specific to the interests of itinerant teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing, at as low a cost as possible, with practical presentations to improve teacher knowledge and instruction 5. Strengthen knowledge on student rights for improved advocacy for the purpose of improving student eligibility, communication access in school, and appropriate levels of specialized instruction to allow students the opportunity to achieve at the rate and to the level of their class peers
Teachers of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing are “ZEBRA EXPERTS!”Where does the zebra analogy come from? The saying:
When you hear hoof beats it is usually horses, not zebras.
This saying is popular in the fields of business and medicine and refers to situations when something unusual occurs, it is more likely due to a common cause than a rare or highly unusual cause. Hearing loss is very low incidence compared to other causes educational challenge. When school teams see most children with learning issues they usually have some kind of learning disorder. As indicated by this bar graph, only 1 out of 100 children qualified for specialized services receives services primarily due to being deaf or hard of hearing (source).
It is not unusual for school teams to observe a child’s performance and see inattention, difficulty following directions, inconsistent understanding and a slower pace of learning and think that – like most other students with special needs – the child has a learning or language disorder (horses). This is NOT the case! Our students truly are “zebras” because their learning issues stem from ACCESS issues, and not an inherent learning disorder. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires schools to “ensure that communication for students who are deaf and hard of hearing “are as effective as communication for others” [ADA Title II 28 C.F.R. 35.160 (a)(1)] through the provision of appropriate aids and services “affording an equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement as that provided to others” [ADA Title II 28 C.F.R. 35.130 (b)(1)(iii)]
The use of the zebra symbol is as a reminder of the constant need to advocate for the access needs for students with hearing loss. It is also meant as something to invite the attention and curiosity of school staff who works with these students. All professionals who support students who are deaf or hard of hearing are encouraged to wear/use the zebra symbol! “Given the opportunities to learn language and academic skills through appropriate and efficient modes of communication (full access), a learner with a hearing loss should progress in expected patterns of growth and achievement.” Bunch, G. & Melnyk, T. (1989). American Annals of the Deaf. Over the past 45 years, shifting trends in educational policy have resulted an increase in mainstream placements for students with hearing loss. In 2006, 86.4% of students with hearing loss ages 6-21 were educated in regular schools. Initially, mainstreaming often meant that D/HH students attended separate classes in public schools. Today, such students spend most of their school day in classes with hearing peers, supported by itinerant teachers of the D/HH, interpreters, speech-language pathologists, notetakers/captionists, and resource room teachers. With the move to full inclusion, even students with substantial delays (more than 6 months) have been placed in a regular education setting without direct services from a teacher of the D/HH. Those of us in the field of D/HH need to examine what is required to support the learning and full participation of students with hearing loss (not just in the classroom but in all aspects of the school experience). We need to first fully recognize and be able to explain how students with hearing loss are truly zebras and not horses. Using appropriate assessment information, we need to define what is required for our students to close learning gaps and progress at the rate of class peers. Remediation gaps will require consistent direct instruction to provide the skill building and practice in specific skills and hopefully prevent the gap from widening over time.