Deaf Success

Guides for Colleges & Postsecondary Programs

College: Key Strategies

Guide for High Schools

High School: Key Strategies

Guide for Families, Parents, and Students

Families, Parents, and Students: Key Strategies

Additional Resources for Deaf Success

Testing accommodations for deaf individuals has been a topic of focus over the past several years as experts in the field of deaf education, standardized assessments and psychological evaluations have recognized that many deaf people are uniquely at a disadvantage for English-based testing. The use of accommodations for testing is not an uncommon request in postsecondary settings for placement and course assessments. There has been much discussion over test equity for deaf students in a number of contexts.

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.
Deaf individuals experience the same mental health concerns as their hearing peers and, as such, seek out the same services to address these concerns. However, studies have discovered that deaf people experience mental health issues at nearly twice the rate of the general population and do not always find equitable access to mental health services.

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.

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