Working with Students who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing

Working with Students who are Deaf or Hard-of-hearing


If you have a deaf or hard of hearing student enrolled in your course, DSS may schedule a Sign Language Interpreter or Communication Access Real-Time (CART) reporter to work in your class. The function of these rigorously trained professionals is to facilitate communication in your classroom. 

Working with an interpreter: 

  1. When using an interpreter, speak directly to the student and not to the interpreter. Refrain from saying, "tell her...", as this is confusing and interferes with direct communication. 
  2. Recognize that there is a processing period required for the interpreter to interpret the message from its original language into another language (whether from spoken English to American Sign Language or vice versa). As such, there will be a delay in receiving information. The interpreter is typically 5-7 sentences behind the speaker. When you ask a question or take class comments, allow additional time so your message will be interpreted effectively. 
  3. When showing videos or films, please inform the interpreter ahead of time. All videos need to closed captioned; please contact faculty development or e-learning if you need assistance finding resources to caption videos.
  4. If you have any questions regarding the interpreting process or how to work more effectively with the interpreter, please ask the interpreters.

Team interpreting:

If your class is over one hour in length or particularly challenging, you will have a team of interpreters who will alternate approximately every 20 to 30 minutes. Both interpreters are constantly active in the team process, rotating between primary and support roles. The primary role is directed to the students and includes tasks such as signing and voicing. The support role is necessary to enhance the overall interpretation and includes regulating the overall setting, assuring appropriate, timely transitions and monitoring the primary interpreter. 

Working with a Communication Access Real-Time (CART) provider:

CART providers are trained court reporters who use a steno machine, laptop computer and software to record everything you say verbatim and in real-time. For accuracy, you will be required to wear a microphone either the classroom microphone or a student provided microphone. Please make sure to meet with the student the student as a centrally located microphone may better suit the students needs. As you speak, the provider types the text of your lecture which is then displayed on a computer monitor for the student to read. At the conclusion of each class, the CART provider will provide a copy of the lecture text to the student. This copy is for the student only and is not shared with other class members. CART providers may attend your course in person or remotely. 

  1. The CART provider will be provided with your email address and may contact you directly to get printed materials to ensure that all the technical terminology is entered into the computer's dictionary. This will help the reporter maintain a higher translation rate. 
  2. Please do not ask the CART provider to "read back" portions of your lecture.
  3. Speak to the student, not the CART provider, to facilitate direct communication. 
  4. The CART provider may be providing the transcript remotely. Faculty will be required to wear and use a microphone to ensure quality transcription of your lectures.

Assistive Listening Device  

Students who use hearing aids or have cochlear implants and use an Assistive Listening Device will request faculty to wear a microphone. The student wears a receiver, which will transmit and amplify your voice directly to the hearing aids. The system blocks or reduces the background noises so the student will hear what you are speaking. For more context on the importance of using a microphone see Jessie B. Ramey`s note to their fellow faculty from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Video/Film Communication 

If an instructor has a student that is deaf or hard of hearing in their course they need to inform the student and the interpreter when videos or films will be shown. On-line learning through Extended University Programs can assist in accessing a closed-captioned version of the videos. DSS suggests that instructors pick current films when possible; most films after the year 2000 are captioned. 

On-Line Learning-D2L

When instructors are designing full online courses or online components to traditional courses, they need to make sure all elements of the course are accessible. Accessible elements include, but are not limited to spoken lecture and classroom discussions, videos, You-Tube clips and any other audible part of the class. All must be captioned, interpreted or provided in transcript forms. Extended University Programs can help instructors when building and update course materials into a compliant format that provides for equitable access for all users.