Hi, there. Cara here. It's IEP time in many districts across South Carolina and Beginnings SC has received LOTS of questions. This is the first of several posts about what I call the "basics" of IDEA regulations for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. One might hear me say "We serve lots of families and no two kids are alike," but the laws and regulations from IDEA and the SC State Board of Education are the basics for ALL students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH.) The information below is copied from documents obtained from the Special Education Department in the SC Dept. of Education. I'll add some explanations in red.
Eligibility as a student that is Deaf/Hard of Hearing (from the Special Education Department of the SC Department of Education--From the SC State Regulation Resources 43-243.1, Eligibility Criteria and Standards for Evaluation and Eligibility Determination (SEED).
- Deaf means a hearing loss that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects a student’s academic or functional performance.
- Hard of Hearing means a hearing loss, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a student’s academic or functional performance with or without amplification, but that is not included under the definition of deaf in this section.
Other Possible Eligibility Categories: There is no "one-size-fits-all." Many students have a Primary disability of Deaf or Hard of Hearing and have a Secondary disability (secondary due to the hearing loss) of Speech/Language Impairment.
- Deafblindness : Deafblindness is a severe disability involving both seeing and hearing. It makes a child fall behind in development and have a hard time learning and communicating.
- Developmental Delay: Children aged three through nine experiencing developmental delays include a child who is experiencing developmental delays in one or more of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development, or adaptive development; and needs special education and related services.
- Speech or Language Impairment: A speech or language impairment is a difficulty in communicating that interferes with learning. A student with this impairment may not be able to understand what she/he hears (even though he/she doesn’t have a hearing problem), speak in age-appropriate phrases/sentences and use age-appropriate vocabulary, pronounce words accurately, speak fluently or smoothly, or use adequate voice. There are multiple aspects of Speech/Language Impairment-not only articulation.
There is evidence that the child has both:
1. A hearing loss that is 20 dB or greater at any one frequency,
- either unilaterally or (in one ear)
- bilaterally, or (both ears)
- a fluctuating hearing loss (off and on hearing loss, like with many ear infections), either unilaterally or bilaterally (as documented by a physician)
A hearing loss may be evidenced in the following required evaluation components:
- A written report of a current audiological evaluation conducted by a licensed audiologist/ otolaryngologist that shows a hearing loss that is 20 dB or greater at any one frequency, either unilaterally or bilaterally. (For sensorineural hearing loss, and some types of conductive hearing loss)
- Or, for Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder (ANSD) may be evidenced in the following required evaluation components: A written report of a current audiological evaluation conducted by a licensed audiologist that documents ANSD either unilaterally or bilaterally.
- Or, for A fluctuating hearing loss may be evidenced in the following required evaluation components: A medical history documenting etiology and prognosis of condition, either unilaterally or bilaterally obtained from a licensed physician (preferably an otolaryngologist).
2. The adverse effects of the hearing impairment or deafness on the child’s educational performance require specialized instruction and/or related services. Adverse effect is important! And is interpreted very differently depending on who is reading that statement. More below.
The adverse effect of the hearing impairment or deafness could be manifested by any one or more of the following: These are all in the SC State Regulation Resources 43-243.1, Eligibility Criteria and Standards for Evaluation and Eligibility Determination (SEED).
- Speech and/or spoken or signed language delays
- Any measureable written language and /or reading delays
- Any measureable vocabulary delays
- Any other measureable academic delays
Sometimes, a member of the team might "misunderstand" and say "we only write IEPs for academics." The SC State Regulation Resource Standards for Evaluation and Eligibility Determination (SEED) says differently. These are areas of Functional Performance.
- Limitations in classroom communications, including skills in amplification use, interpreter use skills, skills to maximize access to auditory information and other functional communication skills <-- Lots of things at which to look!
- Limitations in social functioning, including self advocacy skills and social interaction skills, <--This is talking about interacting with other people...Can the student have conversations with other classmates? Does the student use the right vocabulary to express his/her needs? Can the student put in his/her own hearing aids? Ask for a new battery? Tell others about their CI?
- Limitations in conceptual understanding <-- Language builds knowledge. If there has been a period of time where there wasn't full language input, the student might be missing important concepts.
Adverse effect is HUGE! Language impacts reading, vocabulary, writing, and math--absolutely. But it also impacts how we learn to make friends, follow directions, talk about how we are feeling and to develop empathy so we know how others are feeling. Make sure the "non-academic" parts are included.