For the student with hearing loss, education can prove to be challenging. Working with deaf or hard of hearing students requires a modification of traditional teaching methods. The task of the teachers is to make sure the students are accessing the curriculum, are successful, and are inspired to learn. Ensuring that students are successful is easier said than done, and there are many hurdles to clear in the effort to educate the deaf and hard of hearing. However, two new pieces of legislation are poised to help improve education for these students.
Students with hearing problems encounter obstacles in the classroom. These students must gather all of their information visually, and they face other challenges as well, including:
Unfortunately, schools often lack the resources to support the education of deaf and hard of hearing students. This neglect results in language development delays and problems in other academic areas. To improve education for children with hearing loss, two new pieces of legislation are now law in New Jersey. The first law puts together a working group on deaf education. This group will make recommendations for the early linguistic development of children who are deaf or who have hearing loss. This first law will also guide the department of education in the development of a parent resource guide that will have information that a parent can use when advocating for their child.
The second law is the establishment of the Deaf Student’s Bill of Rights. This bill will require school districts to recognize the rights of students with hearing problems. The rights include the provision of individualized early intervention for supporting language skills, opportunities to meet adult mentors who are deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind, and opportunities to meet with peers in the classroom.
A student with hearing loss faces many challenges. From classroom acoustics to curriculum and instruction, the barriers to education are numerous. Hopefully, this new legislation may have a significant impact on the teaching of deaf and hard of hearing students.