Deaf/Hard of Hearing refers to people with a hearing impairment affecting their hearing and communication ability. The term “Deaf” is typically used to describe people with profound hearing loss who use sign language as their primary mode of communication. In contrast, “Hard of Hearing” describes people with milder hearing loss who may use hearing aids or other assistive technology to communicate.
Deaf/Hard of Hearing individuals may face various challenges in their daily lives, including difficulties with communication, social isolation, and barriers to accessing information and services. However, many people with hearing impairments can lead entire and active lives with the help of assistive technology and support from their communities.
It’s also important to note that there is a diverse range of experiences and identities within the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community. Individuals may have different preferences for communication and language use. Some Deaf/Hard of Hearing people prefer to communicate using sign language, while others rely more on written or spoken language. Ultimately, it’s important to respect each individual’s communication preferences and work to create inclusive environments that support all forms of communication.
Resources for parents of deaf and hard-of-hearing children include:
- The National Association of the Deaf (NAD): This organization offers resources to help parents understand the needs of their deaf or hard-of-hearing children, including information on legal rights, early intervention services, and educational resources.
- Hands & Voices: This nonprofit provides support and guidance to families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing regardless of communication method, language choice, or learning approach. They provide a network of parent-to-parent support, information on advocacy and education access, and guidance through the IEP process.
- Deaf Education Centers: These centers offer specialized instruction for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, in addition to providing resources for families about topics such as sign language classes, audiology services, cochlear implants, and other assistive technologies.
- ASL Connect: This website offers free online American Sign Language (ASL) courses tailored specifically for parents with deaf or hard-of-hearing children who want to learn how to communicate in ASL.
- The evaluation data reviewed by the multidisciplinary team in connection with the determination of a student’s eligibility based on being deaf or hard of hearing must include an otological examination performed by an otolaryngologist or by a licensed medical doctor, with documentation that an otolaryngologist is not reasonably available, and an audiological evaluation performed by a licensed audiologist. The evaluation data must include a description of the implications of the hearing loss for the student’s hearing in various circumstances, with or without recommended amplification.
Some Resources That May Help
- American Society for Deaf Children
- Better Hearing Institute
- Texas School for the Deaf
- Region 11 ESC – State Lead for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Texas Deaf Ed
- Hearing Loss in Children
- Described and Captioned Media Program
- National Association of the Deaf (NAD)
- National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM)
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
- Texas Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) Services