Flexible Placement for Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

​Many factors need to be considered when selecting educational placements for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. School placement needs to support a child's learning and social development. Different settings accomplish these goals for individual children. 

Depending on where you live, you may have various educational placement options for your child.  Here are some examples of different placements ​

Girls looking at teacher holding bookChildren watching teacher read bookChild with cochlear implant watching sign language Classroom kids looking at teacher and sign language interpreter
​Special classroom for children who are D/HH may include hearing peers.​Regular classroom setting often includes supports like hearing assistance technology (HAT) & services of a speech pathologist or teacher of D/HH).​Regular classroom may provide special supports (e.g., sign interpreter, captioning, hearing assistance technology, speech pathologist and/or teacher of the D/HH). ​Self-contained classrooms in a school for the Deaf or other programs may provide sign language access.


Your Placement 

Some of the key school placement factors are: 

  • Child's current speech and language abilities 
  • Academic readiness 
  • Socialization abilities and needs 
  • Auditory abilities 
  • Visual abilities 
  • Communication access needs (e.g., spoken language, sign language, cued speech) 
  • Support needs (what supports are needed to ensure success in the classroom environment?) 
  • Available class sizes & teacher characteristics 
  • Classroom characteristics  

Educational placements range from full time inclusion in regular classrooms, part-time inclusion in a regular classroom with part-time special classes, inclusion in a special class focusing on spoken language, inclusion in a regular classroom with a sign language interpreter, or enrollment in a school for deaf children, or other combinations, depending on the needs that parents and educational team see.​

An important point is that you might try a placement and find out that it is not supporting the child in the way the team envisioned.  The team can explore other placement options – this flexibility helps you find a good match between the child's needs and the educational environment.   

A child who receives one kind of program, but doesn't learn as successfully as parents and teachers had hoped, may make wonderful progress by changing to a different kind of program. 

Resources on Educational Placements from Parent Perspectives