Interpreter for Deaf Student

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by themilocat, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. themilocat

    themilocat Rookie

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    Aug 31, 2011

    My mom is a first grade teacher, and she has a deaf student in her class this year. The child knows very little sign language and cannot hear at all (her ears are completely closed). The school district won't hire an interpreter for her because they say that she should just get a hearing aid...

    The student is bright and currently on track, but my mom's beginning to teach curriculum next week, and has no idea of how to work with her without talking, and is afraid that she will get behind very quickly. The student does not even know all of the alphabet in sign language, although the class as a whole has been learning this and some basic signs from the Signing Time videos.

    Is there any law that makes a school provide an interpreter? Any tips I can pass along to my mom?
     
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  3. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Aug 31, 2011

    Well, I think it depends on if the hearing aids would really work. If they can work, and parents are refusing treatment in that way, I'm not sure. If they won't work, then I think they do have to make accomodations for her, including a hearing aid.

    We have a moderately hearing impaired 3rd grader who wears double hearing aids, and the teacher also wears a microphone thing around her neck, which fees right into the boy's aids. The school provides it. And my 7th grade daughter has a classmate who is profoundly deaf and has an interpreter all day, even has to stay for clubs.

    I think more investigation as to what intervention has been tried and what the doctor thinks will be sucessful is the first step.

    Why does she not know sign? How does she communicate with her family? If your mom has not met with the family, now is a great time to do so and ask those questions. They may have insight.
     
  4. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Aug 31, 2011

    Let me get back to you when I'm on my computer because I have a lot to say on this subject. In the meantime, how has this student functioned in the past? How verbal is she? Does she seem to understand what is going on or is she generally lost? Can she parrot back what is said to her? There is a wide variation of hearing loss and knowing these things makes a difference.
     
  5. themilocat

    themilocat Rookie

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    Aug 31, 2011

    Well, she is a foster child, so I'm guessing that she was just placed with this family, because she's new to the district. As far as coping in the past, she's just now in first grade, so there hasn't been a lot of "instruction" in kindergarten. She can color a page when given one.

    My mom said that she can stand right by the girl and speak very loudly and she just looks at her. If she acts out what to do, then the student can usually figure out what to do.

    I'll try to find out some more, but thanks for everything so far!
     
  6. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Aug 31, 2011

    The problem is that the student hasn't been taught sign language yet. A few videos on Signing Times isn't going to do the trick, though it will make some basic communications easier in the classroom. Hiring an interpreter isn't going to do anything if she doesn't know the language unless the interpreter becomes more like a second language instructor and scaffolds things a bit. Having a person like this become more like an aide position to scaffold what is being said in the classroom in any shape or fashion may be beneficial but it takes a skilled person. Getting a hearing aid MIGHT help but it doesn't cure hearing loss. It only amplifies what she currently already has. SO if she is missing different frequencies, it won't suddenly make her hear these. Having said that, it does help some students tremendously. I'm only saying caution needs to be exercised in thinking this is the cure all. An FM system is also extremely beneficial to many students. Talk with an audiologist to see what would most benefit this child.

    There are a lot of hard-of-hearing skills that can be taught and a lot of different types of things you can do in the classroom to provide accommodations. Depending on her level of hearing loss, she may be better off in a deaf classroom for a while to gain full language abilities so that things are more accessible to her in the long run. Barring this suggestion, I do have some basic classroom accommodations suggestions that can be done quite easily by her classroom teacher. It does take constant consideration though.

    *when the teacher plans to talk, the room formation should have a horseshoe layout so the student knows who is talking
    *the teacher should not allow people to call out
    *point to the person who raised their hand and teach them to wait a few seconds before talking and teach the student to attend to the speaker quickly
    *rephrase what the speaker has said (just in case) in a simplified key phrase kind of fashion
    *knowing the topic ahead of time
    *knowing when the topic changes
    *knowing who the speaker is
    *having her paraphrase what she understood/heard
    *predictability
    *limiting choices
    *pointing to props or visual cues that may assist
    *rephrasing something said if it was not understood the first one or two times
    *Using visual strategies and cues and even acting to get the point across
    *knowing who is talking and giving her a chance to attend to that person before moving on (this means point as people talk and have her move her head quickly to the speaker and when needed, paraphrase what someone in the class said before moving on to your answer)
    *using lots of eye contact
    *use writing as a form of clarifying misunderstandings (at her level)
    *use space to dictate distinctions between two or more topics (when you talk about A, stand on the left each time and on the right for the B subject--for example)
    *In sign language we do what we call role shifting. This means that our shoulders move and we look to one direction when we are A character and shifts to the opposite direction when we are talking about B character. It helps to make the story clearer even if you aren't signing.
    *learning not to talk a lot of superfluous talk when the student is not attending or privy to it. This is a hard one. It creates distractions and confusions at times.

    IDEA says that you aren't supposed to consider costs in providing accommodations. Unfortunately schools aren't given enough money to make this a reality.
     
  7. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Aug 31, 2011

    That is like telling a blind person "we aren't going to teach you braille, just get some strong glasses." GEEEEEEEEE!!! That is a lawsuit waiting to happen!!

    I would check and see if the state has an advocacy group that helps parents/foster parents with their special needs students and schools that are refusing to meet their needs. Alabama has ADAP.
     
  8. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Aug 31, 2011

    I was going to say exactly this.

    The school, by saying the student "should just get a hearing aide" is showing blatant ignorance and failure to provide accommodation.

    If they have put that in writing ANYWHERE, the parents would have no problem in a due process hearing getting virtually anything that they wanted.

    Schools cannot recommend treatment like that for a student, it's just like if they were to say to a parent of an unmedicated child with ADHD "why don't you put him on adderal"
     
  9. Sam Aye M

    Sam Aye M Mr. Know-It-All

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  10. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Sep 1, 2011

    I had a huge response typed out to this thread, and I swear I posted it, but I don't see it, so maybe I didn't!

    I'll paraphrase. I knew cutNglue would have a wonderful response, and I was correct! Follow those recommendations. Try not to focus on what she can't do, rather on what she can do. Make the room print rich, and don't make the common hearing mistake of over enunciating each word. Just speak clearly and slowly.

    What do you mean when you say her ears are closed off? Like, as in a birth defect of some sort? That's called a conductive hearing loss, and is sometimes surgically correctible (not always).

    It's a sad situation, no doubt. She may not have had someone who would advocate for her, being a foster child. They were probably more worried about where she was going to live, rather than her signing needs. And signing might not have been the best choice for her either. Find out what her IEP says, and follow it the best you can.
     
  11. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Sep 1, 2011

    Sam, that is an evil case in some ways. It basically says the best situation for that child does not have to be provided if the child is on grade level. In application many schools generalize the accommodations and approach across all deaf students when that was not really the intent.

    The fact of the matter is that it is hard for people to objectively decide what is best for each individual deaf child. Medical people have an agenda and deaf educators tend to have an agenda too. Regular educators tend to not know enough. So the fact remains that the child has to be assessed not based on every other deaf child but on themselves as an individual but at the same time knowing the statistics placed on children similar to themselves. Understanding of future implications (both ways) as well as language acquisition is necessary. So not only should cultural values be considered and not only should medical fix it values be considered, but it needs to be considered what this child CAN do with what he/she has and what will benefit THIS child. Here, we can't adequately access the child. I have my own feelings about what should happen in the lower grades but I know that none of that matters to most schools who are looking at what they have as resources and unfortunately money does talk. So instead I offer global support. I do suggest the child's parents not only speak with medical professionals but also with deaf professionals. Parents need to make informed choices using a variety of resources. The fact that this child is a foster child further complicates things.
     

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