By: Margaret Warren
Do you have a deaf-blind child in your family? Perhaps your child has a little useful sight and/or some hearing, or perhaps he or she has no useful sight or hearing. What can you expect for your child?
Several years ago, not very much. Things are changing now. With more research and modern techniques your child has a chance to live a much more happy, normal life. Let’s look at some of the possibilities.
From infancy your child should have a specialized teacher available to offer suggestions and demonstrate techniques, probably coming to your home. Then your child will probably go to a special school, or have special help in a regular school. Each school has its own ideas on communication techniques, but most teach the one-hand manual alphabet and some word signs for the deaf. Your child will probably also be taught some speech and/or understanding of others speech — to what extent, depends on individual abilities and on the methods used at the particular school. If your child masters communication skills, plus the knowledge of typing and Braille and travel skills, then he or she may be able to go to a regular high school with an interpreter. Your child then may want to go to college after high school. This is possible with the skills mentioned above and interpreters. A number of deaf blind have gone through college. He or she may attend a regular college or go to Gallaudet College in Washington, D.C. (a special college for the deaf).
After college your child will want a vocation. Here I cannot name any special ones in detail, but I am acquainted with deaf-blind people who are in factory work, computer programming, and rehabilitation teaching. These are the ones I know of, but there are many more. There is no reason your deaf-blind child should be put in a sheltered shop, unless there are other problems more serious.
Your son or daughter may want to take the correspondence course, “Independent Living Without Sight and Hearing”, from the Hadley School for the Blind (700 Elm Street, Winnetka, IL 60093). Also, he or she may wish to take special training from your state rehabilitation agency, or the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (111 Middle Neck Road, Sands Point, NY 11050). Some agencies are better than others.
Now that we have looked at educational and vocational possibilities, let’s look at some other things that can be done.
Depending upon the cause of deafness and the degree, your child may be helped by surgery. If surgery is not advisable, a hearing aid may be a great help — even if a person cannot understand speech, he may get useful information from other sounds.
In communication there are many possibilities. I have already mentioned the one-hand manual alphabet and sign language. I, myself, use the Tellatouch, which looks like a small typewriter. To talk to me, a person just types what he wants to say, and tiny pegs form Braille dots under my fingertip. Other methods of communication are printing on the palm; the alphabet glove; the alphabet card and plate; Braille; Morse Code; and special signals. Some of these have to be studied by the speaker, and some do not. The ones that do not are called “universal means”. Some deaf-blind persons learn to read lips by placing the hand on the mouth and throat, but this takes special training and should not be used with all people because many will object to having someone feeling their face.
Those who cannot speak clearly need to develop a note system to express themselves to strangers who cannot use signs. Some common things can always be kept on a card, but the person needs to think ahead if going to the store, or on a trip alone, and type out what may need to be said. It is helpful to know handwriting, so things unexpected can be written.
There are some telephone devices which can help. One is the Tactile Speech Indicator from the Helen Keller Center. With this the deaf-blind person feels vibrations, but the hearing person has to use “yes”, “no”, and “I do not know”, or Morse Code. Also, the Helen Keller Center is working on a special version of a Teletype, which will make regular messages possible in Braille, instead of print.
There is an alarm clock for the deaf-blind, but it comes in two pieces. A Remind-O-Timer is used. A vibrator is attached to it and placed under the mattress or pillow. One of the newest devices is the Tactile Communicator. It can be wired into a telephone, Teletype (TTY), doorbell, or fire alarm; each has its own coded signal. It comes in two parts. The transmitter, which is wired, has an antenna. The receiver is run by batteries and carried by the user. When there is a signal, it will vibrate, alerting the user to the type of signal being received. There are other uses also.
For more information on methods of communicatio, contact the Hadley School for the Blind, and ask for the pamphlet, “Touch Communication”. For information on the devices mentioned above or a list of special aids and appliances for the deaf-blind contact the Hellen Keller Center. For information about the Telletouch, contact the American Foundation for the Blind, 15 W. 16th Street, New York, NY 10011.
I will conclude with a few remarks from a personal point of view about meeting people and getting acquainted. It is difficult to tell personality with the touch methods of communication. So often, the deaf blind person can make the mistake of thinking a person is unfriendly or mad, when he is just one of those people of few words, or he is just getting used to our methods of communication. Also, we cannot identify people with these methods; they must always introduce themselves. I cannot tell the number of times people have come up to me and said, “Remember me? I talked to you about a year ago at the state convention.”
When asked to talk to a deaf-blind person, quite often people say, “What should I tell her?” The answer to that is to talk to us about the same things you would to your hearing friends. We may not always have experience with the subject you are talking about, but we can listen and learn.
I hope this information will be helpful to you to understand the deaf-blind better.
Margaret Warren is a deaf-blind woman who lives in Des Moines, Iowa. She works out of her home as a proofreader of Braille material. She also takes an ‘live part in her church and goes to a day care center as a volunteer to read stories aloud to the children.
One of the most serious problems face by blind children is the lack of contact with competent blind adults. Deaf-blind children are much less likely to meet adults who have lived with, and successfully overcome, the problems of deaf-blindness. Miss Warren believes that deaf-blind adults have a responsibility to inform and encourage deaf-blind children and their parents.
Miss Warren also believes that deaf-blind people need to work together to solve common problems. That is why she continues to be a leader in the Committee on the Deaf-Blind of the National Federation of the Blind. She has written these observations about deaf-blindess in the hope that parents of deaf blind children will have the data they need to plan for the future.
posted on April 25, 2018
You just gave birth to a glowing infant. As she nestles in your arms, you’re enamored with her. The rest of the world vanishes. Soon the doctor’s take her away to perform the hearing test. You devour your hospital food because you’re so hungry. All the while, you can’t wait to hold her again. When your infant finally returns, a doctor enters the room. He looks like he has to tell you something important.
You learn your child has failed the hearing test. This comes as a surprise. No one in your family was born deaf. Through all the information you receive, you gather that there’s a lot unknown about teaching deaf and hard of hearing students. Will my child ever communicate? How will she learn to read?
In this post, I interview Chelsea Hull, a deaf and hard of hearing education specialist. She’s the daughter of a hard of hearing mom. In an effort to pass down the deaf culture she grew up in, she’s also taught her two children ASL. Chelsea is troubled by the low literacy rates in the deaf and hard of hearing community, and as an education specialist, she works to improve learning opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing children. Here’s the interview:
There isn’t a lot known about teaching deaf and hard of hearing students to read. They’re an overlooked subset of struggling readers, but their struggles are profound. Why do deaf and hard of hearing children struggle so much with reading?
Deaf and hard of hearing students graduate high school at the 3 rd or 4 th grade level in reading. Teaching deaf children to read is a challenge for educators, because educators don’t often understand the unique language, culture and needs of deaf and hard of hearing students.
Most importantly, most deaf and hard of hearing kids are born to hearing parents. This means, their parents often don’t speak sign language. Since their parents often don’t know sign language, these children grow up in a language poor environment.
When deaf kids start school, they’re often still trying to learn sign language. Since they haven’t even learned their native language, it’s difficult to begin reading in English, an entirely different language.
Teaching deaf children to read really involves two different languages. Can you describe some differences between English and ASL?
Yes, ASL is completely different from English. The grammar rules are different. Sentence structures are different. There are different words that don’t necessarily even exist in English. ASL also conveys messages through facial expressions much more than English. You have to be very expressive if you can’t change your tone of voice. You don’t have a tone of voice!
Teaching deaf kids to read is difficult, partly because they cannot read in their native language.
By definition, ASL is not a written language. Therefore, all deaf and hard of hearing kids must learn to read in a nonnative language.
How are deaf and hard of hearing children diagnosed?
Newborns receive the Newborn Hearing Screening, which is a very accurate test. If a newborn fails the test, they come back for another test at one month. The tests are sophisticated and reliable.
About how many children are deaf and hard of hearing?
3 per 1,000 babies are deaf and hard of hearing. Among those 3, 1 will be severely, profoundly deaf, another will be hard of hearing and another will have a chromosomal disorder. All of these kids will likely struggle with reading. Teaching deaf children to read is a process that begins with teaching them both English sounds and sign language as soon as possible.
After a parent learns that their child is deaf or hard of hearing, what are the next steps?
Parents are referred to a local intervention center. Often kids start receiving intervention services at 6 months of age. The hard of hearing children are fitted with a hearing aid at 3 months. The profoundly deaf can receive cochlear implants sometime around 1 year of age. This means, many of these children will not have access to sound during much of the first year of life. Thus, they will not have access to spoken language.
Teaching deaf students to read requires helping them with phonics sounds. In reading instruction, phonemic awareness is the ability to play with sound. If by definition deaf and hard of hearing students have limited access to sound, how do they acquire phonemic awareness?
During the first year of life, a hearing baby has access to sound. This is critical for their language development. Deaf and hard of hearing children can’t hear all sound for much of that first year. This sets them up for a language delay.
Since they don’t hear sound as well, that can’t develop phonemic awareness as well either. In reading instruction, phonemic awareness is critical. From reading research we know that phonemic awareness (or sound awareness) is the greatest predictor of future reading success. Well, deaf and hard of hearing kids enter school with very poor sound skills and often overall language skills.
How do we help deaf and hard of hearing students acquire phonics sound knowledge?
Deaf children need step-by-step sound (or phonics) acquisition. Since they struggle with sound, they need a systematic approach to reading. If they adapt and learn the sound structure early, they’ll have a better chance in reading.
Also, educators need to make sure classrooms are set up appropriately for deaf and hard of hearing students. Even if a child has a hearing aid, her radius of hearing is about 3 feet. Classrooms are noisy. Kids chit chat, blow their noses…etc. There’s a lot of ambient noise. Since there’s so much ambient noise in classrooms, many hard of hearing students cannot even hear the lesson!
In these environments, they don’t even have a chance to acquire reading skills.
What else can improve learning outcomes for deaf and hard of hearing children?
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of learning ASL. Deaf and hard of hearing kids need a native language. In my field, we all know who does best. We call them deaf with a capital D. These are deaf children born into deaf families, meaning mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunt—many family members—are fluent, expert speakers of ASL.
The whole family works together to give the deaf child the gift of language. They teach that deaf child to become an expert ASL communicator. If a child has a native language, they’ll perform better in school and have more opportunities in life.
However, most deaf children are born to hearing parents. If the parents learn ASL, their child will do much better. Essentially, deaf and hard of hearing children need a way to communicate early, just like everyone else.
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Education Resources for Teachers of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students
This web site provides a collection of resources for teachers of Deaf and hard of hearing students. Examples of topics include strategies for teaching literacy skills, where to find tools for measuring how well students are learning, how to support students who need to transition to further education or to employment. These materials are for people teaching at the kindergarten, primary school, or secondary school level. Many of the resources are written for teachers in the United States. But some of the advice may be useful in any country.
Some videos are in American Sign Language with no subtitles. The website is otherwise mostly accessible.
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- Best for: Teacher
- Topics: Accessibility , Alternative Teaching Methods , Deaf Education , Early Childhood Education , Primary School Education , Secondary Education , Teacher Training , Teaching Deaf Students
- Countries: United States of America
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May 2nd is Thank a Teacher Day! I’d like to say a huge thank you to my 11th grade English teacher, for being understanding, helpful and genuinely kind.
Although I only had her for one year, she was always willing to listen to what accommodations I needed, never treating it like a waste of time.
I was the only hearing impaired student she had and she made sure to ask how well I understood any non-captioned video the class had watched. She allowed me to voice my opinions of the treatment of hearing impaired/deaf people in modern society.
Plus, her class was amazing and I’d be hard-pressed to find another English class being so open-ended and allowing of discussion.
So, to her I say: Thank you!!
To all the hard working teachers out there, here are some tips on how to help hard of hearing/deaf students succeed in your classroom
4 Tips for Teachers on Helping Deaf Students Succeed
1. Class discussions
If possible, the best way to handle class discussions is to have everyone sit in a circle. This has always helped me with lip-reading and gives me the best chance to understand my classmates.
Even so, there are times when it’s difficult for us to follow the conversation. I ask that you remember that students like me often don’t not talk because we don’t want to, but because we can’t keep up with the conversation.
It’s helpful if you stand where the student can see you clearly, and face them often during the lecture. It can be frustrating for a hearing impaired student if the teacher is behind them but still talking.
I’ve noticed that its not so much sitting as far in the front as possible that helps me understand the teacher, but instead them standing where I can easily and comfortably lip-read. It really depends on the student, so I encourage both the student and teacher to discuss the best seating arrangement.
3. Movies and Videos
Use captions! Enough said. I’m thankful for the teachers that I had that put captions up for all videos, even when I didn’t remind them to.
Of course, this isn’t always possible and I get that! In those situations its best to either provide a typed transcript of the video or allow the student to work with a hearing student to get the notes, if there are any.
While this part is usually the student’s responsibility to initiate, it may need some prompting by you teachers! If a hearing impaired student doesn’t seem to be doing well or is disinterested in the class, talk to them. See what issues they may be having and try to work them out together.
Some things I’ve noticed myself doing in classes where I felt left out/behind: Spacing out, not taking notes, not speaking during class discussions, not asking questions.
Thank you, teachers! Your hard work is much appreciated, and you are influential in many a students life.
Are you a deaf student? What other tips do you have? Are you a teacher? What learning methods do you find work best for hard of hearing students? Let us know in the comments!
Nov 2, 2020
Rev › Blog › Accessibility › Teaching Methods & Strategies for Students with Hearing Loss
This article is the second in a three-part series on teaching strategies for students with disabilities. Find the other entries below:
Less than half of 18-year-old students experiencing hearing loss attained a fifth-grade reading level by the time they left high school .
The scope of the challenge of educating students with hearing differences is bigger than you might expect. The National Institute of Deafness or Other Communication Disorders (NICDC) estimates that two-to-three out of every 1,000 kids in the U.S. are born with some form of hearing loss in at least one ear, but often both. In most cases (90 percent), deaf children are born to hearing parents. This can present a significant learning curve for caregivers.
Accommodations like remote microphones and closed captions make a huge difference when it comes to teaching young people with hearing differences — so much so that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) directs institutions to offer alternative formats for learning when reasonable.
These various accommodations can be extremely effective for students with hearing differences, so let’s dive into the many ways educators and caregivers can support these learners.
Key strategies teachers can use to empower students with hearing loss
With the onset of mass remote learning for many students, reaching children with learning differences has become more challenging in many ways. Teachers are juggling entirely new instructional formats for which they weren’t trained or prepared.
However, there are more tools available than ever before to support students with hearing loss. From new technology that allows for improved real-time comprehension to classic in-person supports that educators can leverage, there’s a great deal that can and should be done to level the playing field for all students.
Here are some key examples:
Classroom aides/ASL interpreters
There’s just no substitute for a dedicated assistant that can support students with hearing loss. Assistants can help with everyday activities like translating oral communication into sign language, and taking notes. Remember that students with hearing loss must focus intently on the speaker or interpreter during class, which can make note-taking and other comprehension tasks challenging in the moment.
Captions for video
Use multimedia strategies for lessons to make sure you can engage effectively with students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Make sure any videos used in a lesson plan have captions so students can follow along, or a transcript for students to read and go back to.
Recordings + live captions
For virtual learning, you can record virtual class meetings or lessons, and have them transcribed when the class is finished. You can also choose to enable a live captioning feature . Advances in artificial intelligence allow us to generate captions during a video meeting, so participants can read captions on the screen in real-time as people talk. This can help students feel more engaged and included in a virtual setting. Rev Live Captions for Zoom are the most accurate live captions on the market and can be easily set up with any Zoom account.
Ensure that all lessons, questions, and answers are transcribed for students who experience hearing loss. Transcripts of lessons can also be useful for students with other learning challenges.
Ask hearing students to take turns as note-takers. Then distribute written notes to students who experience hearing loss.
Reduce background noise
Work to minimize background noise for students with hearing impairments since they can be more sensitive to and distracted by such noises.
Wear a clear mask
At a time when some schools are using hybrid learning models and classes are meeting face-to-face, facemasks are a necessity. When possible, educators should strive to wear clear masks that allow students with hearing loss to better understand oral communication along with visual cues and other body language signals. Many of these students rely on reading lips and facial expressions, much more so than hearing students. Don’t take that tool out of their toolbox.
Basic instructional changes
Make sure you have students’ attention before speaking and face students directly while talking. Speak slowly and slightly louder (but not shouting) and use your hands and body language. Lastly, provide extra written and visual resources to back up verbal instruction.
Use a sound-field FM system
With this system, a teacher wears a microphone and amplifies their voice using a speaker. All students in the classroom benefit from better audio presentations and teachers are able to conserve their voices using this tool.
Employ educational audiologists
An expert in classroom acoustics can really help teachers reach students with hearing impairments. An educational audiologist can advise educators on how to develop a classroom setting that empowers students with hearing loss.
Best practices for students with hearing impairments benefits the whole class
Whether your school is able to hire full- or part-time ASL interpreters or invest in speech-to-text services, there are a wide array of accommodations that should be taken into account when it comes to supporting deaf and hard of hearing students.
Hearing loss of any sort does not need not be a barrier for these students. The good news is that these accommodations only serve to enrich the educational experience for all students—hearing included. These tools give them a number of new angles to access educational content while also teaching them empathy and collaboration skills as they participate in supporting their peers with hearing loss.
There are plenty of teaching strategies that allow all students—not just those experiencing hearing loss—to meaningfully participate in educational settings. From alternative forms of assessment to live-captioning technology, the goal is to provide an equal footing so that students coming from different backgrounds can all succeed.
Every student deserves to feel included and get a fair shot at showing what they’ve learned. Reasonable accommodations for students with hearing loss make that more possible.
The K-12 ASL Content Standards are intended to provide teachers with a framework for what ASL-using students are expected to learn in the K-12 educational setting as their language develops. The Standards provide guidelines for those who adopt comprehensive ASL language instruction and outline expectations of student learning outcomes at different developmental stages in their educational progress. This framework is not intended to determine how teachers teach but to serve as a resource so that teachers have the means to know what they are supposed to teach and at what point they are supposed to teach it.
Due to the similarity of natural language development for both students learning ASL and English, the K-12 ASL Content Standards parallel those of the CCSS ELA; this ensures high expectations for deaf and hard of hearing students who use ASL as their first language and provides teachers with a basis for equitable evaluation of students’ learning.
The Standards anchor the document and define expectations. The Anchor Standards describe the general expectations that students learning ASL as a first language across grades K-12 should meet for college and career readiness. Content standards are grade-level standards that define end-of-year expectations for each grade, beginning in kindergarten and finishing at the completion of high school. The Anchor Standards provide broad expectations and the grade-level standards provide specificity. Content standards are presented in grade clusters as follows: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12; clustering allows flexibility in course design and instruction.
Download a complete set of the K-12 ASL Content Standards, including the introduction, the Anchor Standards and grade-level standards, the glossary, and the references.
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Find The Best Teacher Of The Deaf/Hard Of Hearing Jobs For You
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There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing. For example, did you know that they make an average of $25.31 an hour? That’s $52,649 a year!
Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 3% and produce 13,600 job opportunities across the U.S.
What Does a Teacher Of The Deaf/Hard Of Hearing Do
There are certain skills that many teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed physical stamina, communication skills and patience.
When it comes to the most important skills required to be a teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing, we found that a lot of resumes listed 22.7% of teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing included special education, while 9.6% of resumes included k-12, and 7.7% of resumes included professional development. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.
When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn’t even think offered positions related to the teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing job title. But what industry to start with? Most teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing actually find jobs in the education and non profits industries.
How To Become a Teacher Of The Deaf/Hard Of Hearing
If you’re interested in becoming a teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We’ve determined that 55.6% of teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing have a bachelor’s degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 28.1% of teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing have master’s degrees. Even though most teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing have a college degree, it’s possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.
Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing. When we researched the most common majors for a teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor’s degree degrees or master’s degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing resumes include associate degree degrees or license degrees.
You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing. In fact, many teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing jobs require experience in a role such as teacher. Meanwhile, many teachers of the deaf/hard of hearing also have previous career experience in roles such as sign language interpreter or hearing impaired teacher.
What is the right job for my career path?
Tell us your goals and we’ll match you with the right jobs to get there.
Home / How to Effectively Reach Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students in the Art Room
Walking into an art room can be overwhelming. There are often hundreds of things happening at once with messes, materials, and students spread throughout the room. Now imagine just seeing the room without hearing the sounds to help make sense of everything. How do you think you would feel?
For students who are deaf or hard of hearing, this scenario is a reality. It’s up to us to learn how to create an environment where these students can maximize their learning.
Check out these 5 strategies your students who are deaf or hard of hearing will benefit from in the art room.
1. Build a relationship with interpreters in your room.
The role of a sign language interpreter, or SLI, is to translate for and speak for your students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Students often build strong relationships with their SLI, and it’s a good idea for you to do the same. The SLI in your classroom may be able to help with strategies and approaches to best reach your student. Students might be more comfortable going to their SLI with their questions and concerns, so having an open line of communication will help you determine what your students need.
In addition, if issues do arise, like the SLI taking on too much work for your student, you’ll have a better chance of resolving them if you’ve already built a positive relationship.
2. Caption everything.
Sometimes we come across cool videos we’d like to share only minutes before class starts. Although this is fine for the majority of our students, it doesn’t work for our students who are deaf or hard of hearing. It’s important that all videos shown are closed captioned. If captioning is not included, students have to split their time watching the SLI and the video, which makes it more challenging for students to learn the content. If you’re using a site like YouTube and a video says it has closed captioning, make sure to preview it ahead of time. Sometimes the captions are computer generated and don’t match the actual content.
There’s no need to shy away from videos. You just want to make sure you’ve planned ahead.
Here are a few tools to help with captioning:
- Use Amara to caption videos created by you and other users.
- Use YouTube to caption your own videos.
- Use a captioning service like Rev.
3. Encourage peer learning.
Because of limited SLIs, you may have multiple students who are deaf or hard of hearing in your classroom at once. More often than not, students who need interpreter support will sit together. This makes sense, but don’t be afraid to mix them up. Students can get into the habit of isolating themselves from their peers. Encouraging them to work in groups with their classmates when possible will benefit students socially and enable them to rely less on their SLI.
4. Over-exaggerate your instruction.
Because students are focusing on both you and the SLI, they need a little extra time to process. Therefore, slowing down and over-exaggerating your instruction can really benefit your students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Being expressive with your hands and body will help students to focus on the main points. At times this strategy might feel like you are playing a game of charades, but it will actually benefit all of the students in your classroom!
5. Use visuals.
Along with over-exaggerating instruction, creating instructional visuals can help your students. This could be as simple as writing down and posting the steps or instructions for the day. Displaying this information in chunks or list form can help students remember the key points of your instruction. And, just like the tip before, this strategy will actually help all students in your classroom.
Ultimately, we want all of the students in our classroom to be successful. With a little planning, we can build a welcoming environment for all students. If you’ve never worked with students who are deaf or hard of hearing, it can be intimidating at first. Using these five strategies will help your students gain the most from their art room experience!
What are your best strategies when working with students who are deaf or hard of hearing?
How do you make students who are deaf or hard of hearing feel comfortable in the art room?