Start Your Semester Strong with Back to School Guides from the National Deaf Center

Published on August 24, 2021

This is an image taken in a library. In the background, there is the blurred image of chairs and bookshelves, while the focus of the image is on a bookshelf with books on the left side.

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Beginning a new school year can be stressful for deaf students, especially as they try to navigate a new school, figure out how to connect with their teachers, advocate for the access they need, and think about how to reach their long-term goals. Added to these pressures, uncertainty over COVID-19 continues into the Fall 2021 semester, meaning many deaf students, families, and educators face unpredictability and an ever-changing educational landscape.

To help support equitable educational access for deaf students during what can be anxious and stressful times, the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes (NDC) has put together guides for deaf students and their families, high schools, colleges, and postsecondary programs.

These online guides contain easily accessible resources that are filled with important strategies, common challenges that you may face, and evidence-based practices to support deaf success while going to school during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. They can also help you think through all the potential roadblocks that may emerge and make advance preparations that allow you to start a new semester strong.

“Starting a new semester has always been filled with uncertainty,” says Tia Ivanko, co-director of NDC. “Yet navigating educational experiences since the start of the pandemic has brought everything we thought we knew into question. This is not a bad thing, rather it’s an opportunity. We need to rethink access, prioritize equity, be creative and flexible with solutions, and most importantly center students’ individual needs. We hope these resources help you get started.”

Deaf-Centered Strategies for Urgent Issues and Pandemic Challenges

NDC wants to support you during the uncertainty of this Fall semester. Our guides have been updated with pandemic-related observations from NDC panels with deaf college students, deaf workers, and disability support professionals in higher education. They include key strategies, common pitfalls to avoid, and evidence-based practices ensuring success during the pandemic.

Use these guides to support #DeafSuccess and explore NDC resources, tipsheets, FAQs, and toolkits designed to help deaf students. The youth and family guide is available in English, Spanish, and ASL.

The guides are:

#DeafSuccess: Guide for Colleges and 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 in hybrid formats. With the right tools, resources, and support, schools can create accessible learning experiences and opportunities for deaf students. Use this guide to support deaf success on your campus.

#DeafSuccess: Guide for High Schools

Consider transition planning as a coordinated design for life that starts with deaf students. NDC is here to provide resources and support the transition planning process. This guide has key strategies to support deaf success at your high school and beyond.

#DeafSuccess for Youth: Guide for Families, Parents, and Students

Family support increases the likelihood of success for deaf youth after high school. This guide includes strategies for building a strong network of support with other families, deaf youth and adults, fostering self-determination, connecting with communities, and advocating alongside deaf youth.

We Can Help

The NDC | Help Team is also available to answer additional questions or concerns. See NDC’s COVID-19 information page for tips, resources, and FAQs in response to the pandemic.

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