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Self-Contained Classrooms: Options and Considerations for Placement

Page history last edited by Elizabeth Croft 14 years, 11 months ago

Self-Contained Classrooms: Options and Considerations for Placement


Self-contained classrooms for deaf and hard of hearing students are often served in self-contained, or segregated, classrooms. The three types of program philosophies often used in this type of setting are:

·         Oralism: Emphasizes the development of speech, speechreading, and listening with appropriate amplification. Sign language is not used with this approach.

·         Bilingual-Bicultural (BiBi): Emphasizes the early use of American Sign Language (ASL) because it is a natural language that permits children who are deaf to go through normal stages of language acquisition. ASL is used as the language of instruction, and English is taught by reading and writing. Both English and ASL are valued, as are the cultures.

·         Total Communication: Focuses on using the individual child’s preferred modes of communication. It includes oral, auditory, speech reading, sign language, writing, and gestures (Fiedler, 2001, p. 57).


Fiedler (2001) cites the Individuals with Disabilities Act Amendments of 1997 and outline a number of considerations that can be used when determining which placement option is best for students who are deaf or hard of hearing:

1.      Communication needs

√ What does this student need in order to communicate?

√ Does this student use residual hearing efficiently?

√ Does this student need training in specific communication mode?

2.      Language and communication mode

√ What is this student’s proficiency in spoken English? (other spoken language?)

√ What is this student’s proficiency in written English? (other written language?

√ What is this student’s proficiency in manual communication? (signed English?, ASL?)

3.      Academic level

√ What academic skills does this student have?

√Does this student have the academic skills to compete with hearing peers?

4.      Full range of needs

√ What other needs does this student have that will affect academics, socialization, and emotional development?

√ What are the social and emotional implications of an educational placement for this students?

√ What are the specific needs of this student based on age?

5.      Opportunities for direct instruction in the child’s language and communication mode

√ Can the student communicate effectively with the teacher?

√Can the student communicate effectively with other staff in the school? (p. 57).



Fiedler, B. C. (2001). Considering placement and educational approaches for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. Council for Exceptional Children, 34(2), 54-59.


Posted July 4, 2009 by Elizabeth Hutchins-Croft

 HOME   Educational Issues of Deaf Students


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