Special Education

Hard of Hearing and Deaf Students:
A Resource Guide to Support Classroom Teachers


If you are a classroom teacher who for the first time is about to have a student who is hard of hearing or deaf, this guide can be helpful. Your new student is likely to be as excited and anxious as you are, and that human energy can be used for remarkable learning relationships in the classroom. Initial feelings of concern, anxiety, frustration, or uncertainty often accompany the news that you will be teaching a student whose particular learning needs are unfamiliar to you. However, both information and assistance are available to you in teaching students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Almost always, a student will come to you with a support system in place and if not, this guide can direct you to others who will form an educational team to work with you and your student.

You can do a number of practical everyday things to help you meet your particular student's learning needs, but remember it is your teaching knowledge and experience, your guidance and encouragement that the pupil with a hearing loss needs most from you.

This guide has been developed to provide you with basic information to ensure the student's success in your classroom. Its sections represent the areas of importance and concern identified by experienced classroom teachers and specialist teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing. Preparing for students with hearing loss requires:

  • getting ready to talk with parents and the student in the first interview,
  • learning where to get help when you need it,
  • knowing how best to communicate with your student,
  • working with others in the support team, which may include interpreters and assistants.

This preparation, positive planning and cooperation in the first few days builds the groundwork for effective teaching and learning. Building on this strong relationship with your students helps you to optimize the physical and emotional environment and curriculum for your individual student. Establishing this 'care-full' network with your new student at the beginning will lead naturally into the educational work of initial assessment, thoughtful planning, teaching, and fostering the student's development in skills, knowledge, communication, responsibility, self-reliance, self-esteem, and lifelong learning.

Often-asked questions, information and communication, and teaching strategies are included to help broaden your awareness and experience of the language and world of your student who is hard of hearing or deaf.

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