Does this sound familiar?
Pretend you understand even when you do not. Fail to respond to your own name. Hope nobody notices, that nobody laughs. Try desperately, desperately, to make sure nobody ever finds out how little you understand.
This was my reality for my entire K-12 education. I had no idea what was going on and I was convinced it was all my fault when I missed due dates for assignments or failed classes. It wasn’t until years later that I realized how much I had been failed by the educational system. I didn’t learn my multiplication tables until college. It would be easy to blame it on a particular communication method, but the truth is more complicated than that.
Access to communication is not simply adding an interpreter, captioning, or hearing aids. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t sign. It was that I didn’t have effective communication and more than that, nobody was planning for me to achieve effective communication. Now, I want to help YOUR child achieve effective communication in school and thrive. That’s why we’re offering this Communication Plan just for you!
How can you have effective learning without effective communication?
Without effective communication, how can learners make any progress on their special education goals?
Get started now with our FREE Communication Plan!
Communication is the foundation for which all other learning develops. It is possibly the single most important part of a deaf or hard of hearing child’s education. Yet, not all states use “Communication Plans” for deaf and hard of hearing learners. Therefore, Signs of Communication has developed this Communication Plan template for your use in Individualized Education Program (IEP) plans and meetings.
The Communication Plan was developed based on federal law as well as best practice examples from several states which mandate the usage of Communication Plans for deaf and hard of hearing students (such as Florida, Virginia, Colorado and Pennsylvania).
What is a Communication Plan in special education?
In special education, a Communication Plan is an individualized plan developed for a student who is deaf or hard of hearing. The plan outlines the student’s communication needs and goals and provides strategies, accommodations, and services to support effective communication in the classroom and other school settings.
The Communication Plan is developed as part of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process, which is a legal document that outlines the student’s unique needs and the services and supports required to meet those needs. The Communication Plan should be reviewed annually and can be attached to the IEP. It is not a checklist, rather, it is intended to guide meaningful discussion and to develop an action plan to address the learner’s language and communication needs.
Can the Communication Plan be used for a student with a Section 504 plan too?
Yes! Our Communication Plan can also be used with a Section 504 plan, which is a plan developed under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that provides students with disabilities with equal access to education.
Section 504 requires schools to provide appropriate accommodations and services to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to educational programs and activities. This can include students who are deaf or hard of hearing, and a Communication Plan can be an effective tool to ensure that their communication needs are being met.
While the specific requirements of Section 504 plans may differ from those of IEPs, the underlying principles are the same. The Communication Plan should be individualized to the student’s unique needs and should include goals, objectives, and strategies to support effective communication in the classroom and other school settings. The plan should also identify the personnel responsible for implementation, as well as how progress towards the student’s communication goals will be monitored and evaluated.
Overall, a Communication Plan can be a valuable tool to ensure that students with disabilities, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing, have access to effective communication in the educational setting. Whether it is used in an IEP or a Section 504 plan, the plan should be designed to meet the student’s unique needs and should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure its effectiveness.
The determination of which appropriate method of communication(s), auxiliary aids and services for effective communication MUST be individualized to the learner’s needs and on a case-by-case basis. Not all deaf or hard of hearing students will require interpreters. Not all deaf or hard of hearing students will use hearing assistive technology. The school district cannot make decisions based on the student’s residual hearing or what may be provided to other students.
The majority of the Communication Plan can be completed prior to an IEP or Section 504 meeting, although some sections may require team discussion.
We hope this is a valuable tool for your learner. Although intended for Deaf and hard of hearing students with IEPs and Section 504 plans, this may be useful in clinic settings and other human service programs in order to assess access needs. It may also be useful in finding accommodations or considerations for students who are not Deaf or hard of hearing, but who have unique communication considerations.