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Educational Options for Deaf Students

Page history last edited by Jennifer Lowe 11 years, 5 months ago

At one time, educational options for deaf students were very limited. In the late 1800's and early 1900's, most deaf children attended residential schools that were located a great distance from home. Today,  parents of deaf children can choose from a variety of educational placements that they feel is the most appropriate for their child. Some of the educational options that are currently available are listed below.


Residential Schools for the deafState schools were the first schools that provided education specifcally designed for deaf students. Residental schools for the deaf are schools that typically proved services for students between the ages of 4 to 20. Classes only consist of deaf children. Deaf adults often work at these schools and many students look up to these teachers as role models.  Students have opportunities to be involved a wide variety of extracurricular activities (sports, ) and are provided with any additional support services, such as speech therapy or physical therapy if warranted. Residential schools alos provide deaf children with the opportunity of socializing with other deaf children.  Students who typically liv e 30 or miles away from the school are eligible to live on campus as a resident student. Most children go home on the weekends, holidays, and summer vacations (Andrews, Leigh, & Weiner, 2004).



Day Schools for the Deaf- Day schools for the deaf are similar to residential schools in that they only serve students with hearing loss. The teaching methods at these schools are specifically designed to meet the needs of children with hearing loss. Day schools provide students with the opportunity to socialize with other children who have hearing loss.  Some disadvantages of day schools include: limited number of deaf personnel (which could result in less deaf role models for the students), and most of the staff is hearing so the styles of communication will vary. (Andres, Leigh, & Weiner, 2004)


Charter Schools-   Charter schools usually tend to use a bilingual approach or oral educational approach. Most charter schools believe in the importance of providing a visual language (a signed language, such as American Sign Language) to enhance learning. These schools are usually run by parents, teachers, and/or Deaf Community members. Charter schoools are tied to a contract with the members of the charter school community and the local board of education (Andrews, Leigh, and Weiner, 2004).

Public School

  1. Inclusion- An inclusion setting is an educational option in which children with disabilities are included or served in the general education classroom alongside non-disabled peers. Teachers are required to make accommodations for the students as mandated by the child's Indiviual Education Plan or IEP. Interpreters can be made available.
  2. Mainstreaming- This is a different type of educational setting that is available within the public shcool setting. Children who are mainstreamed may spend the majority of their day in the general education classroom, but might spend some of their time in a resource setting (pull-out program). Another option that is available under this model is the self-contained classroom. This is a class that is designed specifically for students with hearing loss. Students who are assigned to self-contained classroom are mainstreamed with general education peers for certain content areas such as Physical Education, music, or social studies for example. (Andrews, Leigh, & Weiner, 2004).
  3. Resource Room- Resource settings are usually pull-out programs in which the child leaves the general education classroom and is educated in another classroom by a teacher who has specific training with working with students who have hearing loss and or children who have additional disabilites (Andrews, Leigh, and Weiner, 2004).
  4. Itinerant Teachers- Itinerant teachers typically serve students who are either on a consultative service or a direct service. For example, some students with hearing loss might be so successful inthe classroom, that they only need minimal support. In this situation, the itinerant teacher may make frequent visits to ensure that assitive technology devices are working properly and tomake sure that the student is passing all sibjects and is doing well. The itinerant teacher may also discuss the student's academic performance with the general education teacher. Sometimes, Itinerant teachers provide direct services. They provide direct services to students when they are in need of more specialized instruction or tutoring. The amount of time that the itinerant teacher works with the student will depend on the individual needs of each student (Andrews, Leigh, and Weiner, 2004).



Andrews, J.F., Leigh, I.W. & Weiner, M. T. (2004). Deaf People: Evolving perspectives from psychology, education, and sociology. Boston, MA: Pearson.


Posted by: Jennifer Lowe on July 4, 2009. 

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