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Top 12 Things Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students Would Like Professors to Do

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*Adapted from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf DeafTEC "Top Ten Things Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students Would Like Teachers to Do"

1. Be specific when referring to an object or process.

Rather than "move these things over there" or "divide this by that," use proper names and technical terminology when referencing items: "Move the small beaker to the table by the window" or "divide the amount of data by the transfer time." Allow time for students (and an interpreter or captionist if present) to reference the item or location so that the proper association is made. Specificity helps all students (hearing or Deaf) to understand.

2. Have slides and lectures notes available to the students before class.

Providing materials ahead of the class makes it easier for Deaf and hard-of-hearing students to prepare for class and, just as important, provides context for class discussions. Make sure that support service providers (interpreter, note taker, tutor, and/or captionist) are provided with access to the material too.

3. Treat all students equally.

When students register for your class, they are all there to learn. Each has a different skillset and understanding, so keep in mind that, although Deaf and hard-of-hearing students have special needs, they are the same as hearing students. You set the tone for the entire class; make sure it is one in which all students are treated equally.

4. Have a positive/flexible attitude.

A positive and flexible attitude helps everyone. You are a model for your students. We encourage you to be open in your interactions with Deaf and hard-of-hearing students in your classes.

5. Be aware that interpreters are not always accurate.

Be patient when an interpreter voices for students. Deaf and hard-of-hearing students use diverse communication skills. If you do not understand the student's question or statement, ask for it to be repeated, and consider that the interpreter may not be voicing accurately and/or may need time to clarify information with the student.

6. Be aware of "process time".

Slow down! The rapid pace of instruction is one of the top areas of classroom concern by Deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing students. --> Recognize that there is a processing time lag of 5-10seconds between what you say and the time that an interpreter signs or captioner types the material to students. This has significant implications, particularly in an interactive classroom. If you ask a question, allow the necessary time for your question to be interpreted or typed before calling on a student. This will provide an equal opportunity for Deaf and hard-of-hearing students to participate.

7. Give students time to read visual material.

When presenting visual material, allowing students to absorb the information before you begin to explain the content will minimize confusion. Allow ample time for Deaf and hard-of-hearing students to read presented information. -- Consider having any documents uploaded or displayed on a larger screen that will allow Deaf and hard-of-hearing students to study the projected documents while simultaneously receiving information from their interpreters, and provide all students with the opportunity to make meaningful and direct connections between the documents and the information discussed.

8. Allow Deaf students to have access to the first rows in class.

All students need to see you clearly. Deaf and hard-of-hearing students, interpreters and captioners frequently need to sit at or near the front of the room in order to have a clear view of you and any classroom materials. Since Deaf and hard-of-hearing students will not know who is speaking when they're behind them, we encourage you to identify the speaker, have the speaker pause to allow them to be identified, and then speak. If smooth communication is not possible, repeat the student's statement or question yourself before responding.

9. Interpreters and Captioners may provide services in person or remotely.

Interpreters and captioners may join your course either in-person or remotely and need the same access to the material provided during class. Onsite captioners and students will also need access to their devices to communicate with their each other. If you are wearing a microphone, make sure to repeat questions posed by students in the audience before responding so the student has equal access to all spoken material.

10. Don't force groups of Deaf/hearing students to work together.

Ask deaf and hard-of-hearing students before class for their preferences regarding group organization, and of their need for an interpreter, captionist, or note taker. This can be crucial to finding a satisfactory solution for a particular environment. If you force students to work together, uncomfortable situations may arise.

11. If using a laser pointer, remain on the object for an extended period of time.

By allowing the pointer to remain positioned, Deaf and hard-of-hearing students will be able to locate its position, read the content there, and return their attention to you (and an interpreter or captionist if present).

12. Consider disability access when choosing videos and films to show in class.

Enable closed captioning in all required and suggested videos/films. It is nearly impossible students to watch a video/film and the interpreter or off-screen captions at the same time. It is like watching a movie but not being able hear it or "listening" to it but not being able to watch it. Consider an alternate video/film if closed captioning is not available in your first selection.

Contact the OSD

Please contact the OSD if you have additional questions:
Office Phone: 858.534.4382