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An Edible Lesson in Hearing Loss

It's the end of the school year!  Not to mention, Better Speech and Hearing Month......

It's the end of the school year!  This is the time of the year when it's tricky to pull students from their classes to work on any skills with them.   I'm competing with beautiful weather, movie days, concert practice, fun end-of-the-year projects and other activities.  Planning my sessions with students this time of the year takes careful coordination with teachers to make sure I'm not overlapping a field trip or other special classroom activity.

To keep their time with me motivating and fun, this is the perfect opportunity to reinforce ear anatomy through my Edible Ear Lesson.  My students LOVE this activity!  I never get a complaint about pulling them when this is the plan for the day.

For schools that house multiple students on my caseload, this is the perfect end-of-the-year party.  I can easily pull multiple students from a variety of grades to do...

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Universal Design for Learning Strategies - Classroom Layout


Education is something that everyone should have access to, regardless of hearing (or any disability!). If we want deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) students to be successful, one strategy is to use Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which provides strategies that make learning accessible to ALL students, including students who are deaf or hard of hearing. These are great strategies to utilize not only because it is all inclusive and guards against students feeling singled out, but also can be a great way to facilitate buy-in from teachers, so that they recognize that by supporting their DHH student in this way, they are actually supporting all the students in their classroom.  Because, after all, accessibility goes beyond the visual and auditory access and includes changes in the classroom instruction and the space itself.  

So, how do we make our classrooms more accessible? How can we incorporate Universal Design for Learning (UDL) into our classroom...

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11 Ways to Honor Deaf Awareness

Uncategorized Sep 27, 2021


Did you know that September is Deaf Awareness Month?  Not only that, but this week is Deaf Awareness Week!  I love that Deaf Awareness happens at the beginning of the school year.   This is a great opportunity to pour into kids and their classmates bacground and build sensitivity and awareness and being deaf.  My experience is that hearing children LOVE to learn  about hearing loss, sign language, Deaf Trivia and anything that relates to deafness.  In addition, it also tends to offer an opportunity to ask questions and allows your deaf or hard of hearing student to be the star of the show.  I have seen a single Deaf Awareness presentations break down any stigma associated with the FM system, hearing aids, cochlear implants, sign language interpreters and more.

Below are 11 of my favorite activities you can do for Deaf Awareness Month:

1.  Read a good book with Deaf characters

Need a list of books?  CLICK HERE. ...

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Using Student Observation to Support Your Gen Ed Teacher

Did you know that the brain has a powerful need to finish what it starts?   When it can't finish something, your brain makes a mental sticky note to finish it. Thoughts about what we could not finish lingers in the back of our minds as a way to remind us that something still needs to be completed.   Although this natural mechanism exists to help us remember our “to do” list, it can also overwhelm us when that list is unending.  (James and Kendell, 1997).   



 Do you ever feel like the list of things you need to do to support your DHH child/student is unending?  This is because you can never mentally “check off” that you have completed the task of meeting their needs.  I know we are not supposed to use words like “always” or “never.”  But in this case, the situation really is NEVER.  As soon as you check something off your list, something new gets added.  It's...

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The Itinerant Teacher - a Slave to her Schedule


When I started as an itinerant teacher my schedule was awful.  I felt scattered all the time.  I was literally driving in circles every week with more windshield time than time with my students.  I had students I would drive more than an hour to see, so that I could spend 30 minutes with them.   Is your schedule crazy like this?

I was frustrated.  I felt unorganized and unbalanced.  


I finally recognized that my schedule was controlling me.  I needed to turn things around so that I controlled it.  


Having domain over my schedule and having ongoing, easily accessible, materials at my fingertips for all students lightened my load and completely changed how I delivered services - and increased the impact I had.  


Let me give you the 5 steps I took, and you can take, to control of your schedule.



  1. Group kids in a similar area on the same day 
  2. ...
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What About a Classroom Interpreter?


The school year is rapidly approaching and I am working to make sure my students with hearing loss are established in an environment that will support them and give them the opportunity to thrive.

I am reminded that students with hearing loss who need sign language to fully access their classroom may not actually thrive in a classroom with an interpreter. In fact, this environment may actually hold them back.

The key is LANGUAGE. Do they ALREADY have enough LANGUAGE to be able to benefit from a sign language interpreter?


Children cannot effectively learn sign and develop language by watching an interpreter.   They must have the language first.


If they do not, putting them in this environment may actually impede their learning and have lifelong negative effects.

I recently posted about this in my Facebook group Professionals Working with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students and Parents ACCESSing the Way for Their Deaf or Hard of Hearing Child and the...

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Establishing Foundations for Success in the Gen Ed Classroom

Establishing Foundations for Success in the Gen Ed Classroom

What will lead to the success of a deaf and hard of hearing student in the general education classroom? There are many factors to consider, including the mutual understanding and  interpersonal dynamics between the general and special educators, as well as time for instructional planning.   Below are a few tips to help establish some foundations that will allow for success for a child with hearing loss.

Tip 1: Keep away from assumptions. If you’re a general education teacher who will be working with a student with hearing loss, you may be entering this year with some assumptions about your new student.  These assumptions may be based on a past student you’ve had with hearing loss, or from things you’ve heard from others, or even from what you’ve seen on TV.  Be aware that students with hearing loss are just as diverse as students without hearing loss and it’s very likely...

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Preparing for the General Education Classroom

As promised, we’re back with a second post about preparing your deaf or hard of hearing child/student for the mainstream classroom! If you need a little refresher of what we talked about last time, we went into detail about how to identify if the general education classroom is inclusive and accessible for your child/student. Check back on the previous post to read those details of what to consider and how to get started. In this blog post, we will talk about how to start implementing tools to ensure that your DHH child/student is prepped for success. 


Now that you have determined that the general education classroom is appropriate, how do we get a general education classroom ready for a child who is deaf or hard of hearing? The first step is to determine potential barriers. Then, design teacher training procedures around strategies to reduce challenges (we’ll get to that later…..). 


Right now we are just going to talk about some factors...

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Is Your Student REALLY Ready for the Mainstream Classroom?

Is your Deaf or Hard of Hearing student REALLY ready for the mainstream classroom?

This blog post will help you confirm this placement and help align your student for success. 

Why this post?  Providing you with a way to get  data-based and needs-specific information for student placement will ensure your student will be in a classroom and environment that caters to their specific needs. Not only will your student have access to their mainstream education through this tailored learning, but they will also be better equipped in social situations and communicating with their peers. 


Why prepare?  Isn’t what’s in place already good enough? Nearly 90% of DHH students in the US are mainstreamed in public school programs. And, of those students, about half are in a general education classroom with the support of a DHH itinerant teacher. That is a large number of DHH students in a general education setting needing support. This means that...

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Meeting the Social Needs of DHH Students

I recently spoke to teachers and family members in New York about meeting the social needs of Deaf and Hard of Hearing students.  This is a topic that I am passionate about and one that is a special challenge - especially for students who are mainstreamed.


I'm passionate about this topic because of the statistics of mental health for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.  Let's take a look at them:


Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing:

*  Are 1.5 times more likely to feel left out  

*  Have a 25% higher incidence of loneliness  

*  Are 1.46 times more likely to experience mental problems  

*  Are 28% more likely to find overall mental health fair or poor


Why are students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing more likely to experience these feelings of isolation?

Lack of access to people and missing what's going on around you can create feelings of isolation.  For many students who are deaf or...

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