SOESD / Learning Matters / Newsletter Archive / May 2007 / Access in the Mainstream for Students Who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing
Access in the Mainstream for Students Who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing
Barb Franklin, Teacher of Deaf and Hard of Hearing
In recent years, more Deaf/Hard of Hearing students in Southern Oregon are receiving educational services in their neighborhood schools or nearby local schools. These educational placements create a challenge for the Regional Program for Deaf/Hard of Hearing (PDHH) to provide accessibility to the regular curriculum for students. There is a variety of ways that PDHH works towards accessibility for all students.
One important service is the instruction and support provided by teachers of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing for the regular educational curriculum of each school district. PDHH teachers work directly with students to provide instruction in specific academic areas, as well as working with mainstream staff to provide training and consultation. Another support is the services provided by educational interpreters for students in mainstream classes. PDHH strives to deliver highly qualified interpreting services by providing ongoing technical support and training for PDHH educational interpreters. Due to the large geographical area the lead interpreter covers to provide this technical assistance, one of the PDHH interpreters is working on a computer program that can be used in rural areas for training needs.
PDHH also uses a variety of assistive technology for accessibility to mainstream programs. Assistive listening devices, such as FM systems, are available from the ESD and local districts. Individual students use FM systems to amplify a specific speakerís voice over background noises and distance from the speaker.
PDHH also offers transcription services utilizing the Typewell program for two students at the high school level. In this program, transcribers put in writing what is being said in the classroom and it is shown on a student laptop.
Several PDHH classrooms are now hooked up with video phones, which are another means of accessibility for Deaf/Hard of Hearing individuals. With the video phones, they are able to sign/talk to other sites with video phones or to hearing people using a video relay.
With each new development in the area of technology, the ability for Deaf/Hard of Hearing individuals to access their schools and environment improves. Southern Oregon ESD and PDHH will continue to implement as many of these new technologies as possible in their delivery of services to students.