by Kristin A. Di Perri, Ed.D.
Introducing a new curriculum designed for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) student. This curriculum guides teachers in developing instruction that allows students to build their knowledge of English in sensical ways…. by building a solid foundation that minimizes gaps.
Challenge for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teachers
In Kindergarten, DHH students often are expected to simultaneously learn and use English with materials that are designed for hearing children. Since text makers assume most hearing children have already had 5 years of natural experience with English, grammatical lessons are "shallow". Generally, hearing students will depend on their hearing to check their grammar.
In direct contrast, many DHH students need a greater depth of instruction because they have not had access to the underlying levels of basic English development. For them, direct instruction on how English "works", is a significant necessity. This instruction is critical because, without a firm foundation, lifelong English literacy development can be compromised. Finally, the lessons included in this curriculum are not based on the English phonetic system. Instead they give students a visual way to understand how English "works".
Who is this for?
Though it was developed with the beginning student in mind, the lessons are written developmentally so that students of any age, who have had gaps in their foundational understanding of English (i.e. reading, writing, grammar skills) can use it. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for middle school students to have foundational miscues in their literacy development (e.g. omitting subjects, basic tense errors, pronoun confusion in reading, etc.).
Though the lessons are generally designed for students using ASL, students using Spoken English, Cued Speech, or other signed systems will also benefit from the structure and hierarchy of the lessons. The developmental sequence is based on building knowledge from the ground up. Therefore teachers can use the provided objectives for each unit to gauge what their students need or have already learned.