How to become a Teacher of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students
Where can I earn my degree in Deaf Education?
Many colleges and universities, including an online university, offer degrees in Deaf Education, at the Bachelor's or Master's degree levels. It is advisable to earn a degree from program accredited by the Council on Education of the Deaf (CED). To find a CED accredited program in your area, check this National Directory of Deaf Education Teacher Preparation Programs.
Why is Deaf Education a specialized area of teaching?
Ninety percent of Deaf children are born into hearing families, and most are not diagnosed as deaf until age 2-5 years old. They tend to have little to no language exposure (spoken OR signed) during their first years of life, causing a language development delay. Learning to read and write standard English is often a struggle for deaf students.Deaf children (especially those with physical and mental disabilities) need direct instruction beginning as early as possible in order to teach them language and literacy skills. Several educational philosophies are currently being used to teach deaf students:
American Sign Language is the only language used in the classroom. English is learn through exposure to printed materials.
No sign language is used. English is learned through residual hearing (listening) and speech.
A variety of sign systems may be used - Signed English, ASL, a combination of signed communication modes, speech and sign language used simultaneously, cued speech, etc. English is learned through auditory and visual exposure.
Deaf Education programs may chose to focus on one approach or to teach a comprehensive curriculum of all education options. Click here to read more about Deaf Education preparation programs.
Where do Teachers of Deaf Students work?Deaf students are taught in many environments:
- residential schools for the deaf
- day schools for the deaf
- public schools in self-contained classes
- public schools in mainstream settings
- home school instruction
What challenges do families with deaf children face?
Nothing about parenting is easy! Families with Deaf children often face difficult decisions and must learn to advocate for their child's rights. It is crucial that Deaf Educators work well with students, families, regular education teachers, and administrators in order to successfully teach in most settings. Read about the experiences and challenges of families with deaf children.