Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Hearing is one of our five senses. Without it, parents may worry about how their child will communicate.

One of the most important things is early detection of hearing status, and this can be performed by a basic hearing test given to a child by an audiologist. Newborn hearing screenings are mandated as part of the newborn screen program. It is important for families to follow up if a screening indicates further testing is needed.

When hearing loss goes undetected, children are delayed in developing communication skills. Hearing loss can vary greatly among children and can be caused by many things.

What help is available?

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services – Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program provides a parent guide to support parents of children identified as Deaf or Hard of Hearing and helps them locate resources.

The Michigan Department of Education Low Incidence Outreach (MDE-LIO) is a valuable resource for families. MDE-LIO provides technical assistance and resources to enable local service providers to serve and improve the quality of education for students with a visual impairment or those who are deaf and/or hard of hearing including those with multiple impairments.

The Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center provides links to resources designed for families raising a child who is deaf or hard of hearing.

What do I need to think about for my child’s IEP?

Students who are deaf/ hard of hearing may receive special education services under the eligibility category of Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Accommodations and modifications are part of the IEP process.

Visit our webpage for more info on the IEP process

What are the educational options for a child who is deaf or hard of hearing?

There is choice within the law. IDEA requires students to be educated in the least restrictive environment with non-disabled peers, but it also requires the IEP team to consider the communication needs of the child. The decision as to what placement will provide a free and appropriate public education for an individual deaf child can only be made after an IEP addressing the full range of the child’s needs has been developed. The law also requires parents be an equal part of the IEP process. There are mainstream schools that have deaf programs.

  • Deaf Student Services from the U.S. Department of Education: “The Secretary believes it is important that State and local education agencies, in developing an IEP for a child who is deaf, take into consideration such factors as
  1. Communication needs and the child’s and family’s preferred mode of communication;
  2. Linguistic needs;
  3. Severity of hearing loss and potential for using residual hearing;
  4. Academic level; and
  5. Social, emotional, and cultural needs including opportunities for peer interactions and communication.”

More info on placement:

Is there some technology that can help my child?

Assistive technology is a related service listed in IDEA. Technology is a key to leveling the playing field for individuals with disabilities. Learn more on our Assistive Technology webpage.

Where can I find support?

In Michigan:

Other organizations serving individuals with hearing loss:

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