Starting a new school year, while exciting, can also be uncertain. National Deaf Center is here to help deaf students, their families, and schools get ready for a new school year, or semester.
Proactive planning helps create more opportunities for deaf students to succeed. Planning should include advocacy, reasonable accommodations, effective communication, and equal opportunity to participate in school programs, events and activities.
The National Deaf Center developed guides for high schools, colleges, students, and their families with key strategies, common pitfalls and evidence-based practices to help students reach #DeafSuccess. Contact the help team with any additional questions or concerns.
This guide will help professionals understand the variety of accommodations available, how to choose the best accommodation for each student, and more.
Guides for Colleges & Postsecondary Programs
Colleges, universities, and postsecondary training programs are responsible for ensuring programs and services are accessible for deaf students including courses and activities online, face-to-face, or hybrid formats. With the right tools, resources, and supports, schools can create accessible learning experiences and opportunities for deaf students to engage in.
Use this guide to support deaf success on your campus. Explore NDC resources, tipsheets, and toolkits on a variety of topics using the links provided.
College: Key Strategies
Explore a variety of commonly used accommodations for deaf students.
Prepare for both remote and in-person services for all campus activities.
Streamline accommodations protocol using these five commonly requested resources.
Anticipate barriers- remember face masks affect accessibility for deaf students
Plan activities and materials in accessible formats for online and in-person courses.
Incorporate inclusive instructional strategies to maximize engagement and learning.
Address attitudes and biases that surface as barriers for deaf students.
Cultivate experiences across campus. Access is more than just providing accommodations.
Keep deaf students connected with each other and with deaf mentors.
Plan for critical opportunities with internships and offsite accessibility.
Encourage students to connect with vocational rehabilitation to receive support for personal assistive technology devices and tuition.
Guide for High Schools
This guide has key strategies to support deaf success at your high school and beyond. Use the links to explore NDC resources, FAQs, and toolkits on a variety of topics.
High School: Key Strategies
- Advocate for students’ rights to receive accommodations and services in school.
- Help students to apply for vocational rehabilitation services to obtain support for life after high school.
- Emphasize self-determination skills and the lifelong benefits in school, the workplace, and the community.
- Share various deaf individuals’ experiences using NDC’s #DeafSuccess video playlist.
- Encourage students to play Deafverse, an online game that comes complete with student and teacher guides, home activity packs, and more.
Create opportunities for accessible online learning where students can learn and interact.
Introduce online accommodations that may be used in hybrid and online classrooms.
Ensure events and activities online are accessible for all students.
Incorporate captioned media in instructional materials and student projects.
Support students in maximizing the use of technology and finding ways to stay connected to school during remote learning.
Encourage strategies for communication at home between deaf youth and their family.
Inform students and families about postsecondary entrance exams and help them advocate for accommodations.
Promote college readiness by starting college searches early, even if remote, and prioritize the student’s fit within the entire college community.
Remember: Access is more than accommodations.
Guide for Families, Parents, and Students
Family support increases the likelihood of success for deaf youth after high school. Consider the following strategies to promote family involvement:
- build a strong network of support with other families, deaf youth and adults
- foster self-determination,
- connect with communities, and
- advocate alongside deaf youth
Use this guide to support #DeafSuccess for deaf youth. Explore NDC resources, tipsheets, and toolkits on a variety of topics using the links provided.
Families, Parents, and Students: Key Strategies
Believe in your child’s potential! Expectations play a critical role for deaf youth.
Learn strategies from current deaf college students for navigating various challenges.
Nurture self-determination skills for your child at home.
Encourage your child to make decisions, take action, and believe in themselves.
Explore options for the future by watching the NDC #DeafSuccess video playlist.
Find a mentor for your child. Role models contribute to identity, language, social, and emotional development for deaf youth.
Join community organizations representing different deaf communities.
Additional Resources for Deaf Success
To determine any appropriate accommodations, one would want to understand what the test construct (what the test measures) and purpose (why the test is given) are. A key aspect when determining testing accommodations for deaf students is understanding the goal or outcome of the exam and what constitutes a reasonable accommodation to equally measure that outcome. Below are several resources that discuss the fundamental issues related to deaf individuals and testing.
As deaf individuals transition from high-school to postsecondary life, mental health and well being are important areas for professionals and families to focus on prior to graduation. Considerations should be made as to what support the deaf individual may need post-high school to lead a healthy, independent life. The following resources highlight the challenges that deaf individuals have with mental health and accessing care.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) are three pivotal laws that ensure equitable access to education, employment, and the community. These federal mandates guide accommodation decisions through key concepts such as “effective communication”, the “interactive process” in accommodation decision-making, and the “subjective experience” of an individual with a disability.
Sound policies and procedures can also support deaf individuals with an equal opportunity to access a wide-range of opportunities. Through proactive planning, an organization can reduce barriers for deaf individuals accessing postsecondary environments.
Deaf Success FAQs
- Can I apply to vocational rehabilitation if I’m still in high school?
- How can vocational rehabilitation help me?
- How can I find a vocational rehabilitation (VR) office near me?
- How can I connect my hearing aid or implant to access my online courses at home?
- The disability services office says they have no money or I have to pay for my own accommodations. Is it my responsibility to pay?
- How can I prepare if colleges continue online classes in the summer and fall?
- What are some ways to manage the switch to all classes being online now?
- What can I do when my video is slow, fuzzy or loses its connection?
- What resources will help me advocate for my needs with the disability services (DS) office?
- What are some tips for success (shared from other students)?
- What are some strategies when working with remote interpreters or speech-to-text providers?