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Best practices for working with students who are deafened

Youth who are deafened tend to rely on written English or French as their primary mode of communication. Speech-to-text services provide instant information and transcripts can help the student review the material at a later time. Students who have hearing loss may not know about this service or other similar options.

Best practices to consider:

  • Youth who are deafened use varied modes of communication, depending on the age of onset of hearing loss and cultural background
  • Most tend to use notetaking or real-time translation services. Check with the Office of Disability Services at your college or university
  • Be aware of environmental issues (i.e. bright lights). Bright light shining makes it difficult to speechread, pick up visual cues, etc.
  • Repeat questions and answers if at all possible
  • Use written English or French whenever possible
  • Indicate who is speaking in classroom discussions so that students who are deafened are aware of who is talking
  • Provide access for out-of-classroom activities such as community assignments, group meetings, etc.
  • Look directly at the deafened youth when speaking
  • Try to speak clearly and at a normal pace
  • Provide visual aids (i.e. smart board) whenever possible
  • Allow time after class for the student who is deafened to ask questions privately
  • Investigate other resources like The Canadian Hearing Society at or the Association of Late-Deafened Adults,
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