First Children School’s program for children who are deaf or hard of hearing has grown to include almost one third of our student population. We now have seven certified teachers of the deaf who provide classroom instruction as well as individual pull out and push in services to students with multiple disabilities who are also deaf and hard of hearing. These individualized services provide an extra level of support to develop each student’s language and communication skills in order to be more successful in the classroom and the community. Our teachers of the deaf provide daily equipment checks to ensure that equipment is working properly. They are familiar with hearing aids, cochlear implants, BAHAs, FM systems and Auditory Brainstem Implants. They also offer family support on hearing loss and sign language and are available upon request to accompany families to audiological appointments. Our teachers of the deaf are integral members of our interdisciplinary team and work closely with our speech language pathologists and other team members to promote the use of total communication throughout the school.
Teaching a deaf child to read contains many steps and our teachers of the deaf are experts in assessing baseline skills, performing task analyses, and sign language to promote the decoding of words. Comprehension is also enforced and checking for understanding is embedded in every lesson. The students receive individual time with their teacher of the deaf in a pullout model to teach reading.
The home/school connection is extremely important for the progress of every child, but for the parents of students with hearing loss, it becomes critical that they are able to communicate with their child. First Children School offers weekly sign language classes, free of charge, to further assist with communication. Parents, siblings, and other family members are welcome to join. For the parents who also have a hearing loss, First Children has an interpreter on staff to assist with meetings and updates. Communication between the home and school is a daily routine. Progress notes and communication notebooks are sent home on a daily basis.
First Children School offers many specialized services for our students who are deaf or hard of hearing including:
- Certified Teachers of the Deaf–We have seven teachers of the deaf on staff who have extensive experience with students who have multiple disabilities.
- Pull-Out and Push-In Services–These services add an extra layer of support needed to develop each student’s individual language and communication skills to be successful in the classroom and in the community.
- School-Wide Staff Training–Staff members in all disciplines are trained in basic sign language.
- Amplification–Our teachers of the deaf are knowledgeable about all types of amplification.
- Family Education–We offer family support on hearing loss and sign language; staff is available upon request to accompany families for audiological appointments.
- Daily Equipment Checks–Provided by teachers of the deaf to ensure that equipment is working properly; staff are familiar with hearing aids, cochlear implants, BAHAs, FM systems and Auditory Brainstem Implants.
- Consulting Audiologist–An educational audiologist is available as needed.
- Multidisciplinary Team Approach–Our team includes speech language pathologists who have experience with students who are deaf and hard of hearing.
- Total Communication–Total Communication is used for communication and instruction throughout the school day.
For those students who are deaf and visually impaired, we offer specialized services and a modified curriculum.
In addition to the above specialized services, we offer all students many specialized services for students with disabilities.