No two deaf children are the same: their educational experience reflects their deafness, hearing devices worn, family background, infant language intervention and their personality.
Over 3,370 deaf children in Ireland (90%) are mainstream-educated, with under 4% using sign language (NCSE, 2011). Spoken language for deaf children is chosen by 89% to 95% of hearing families in the US (Teresa Caraway, PhD, 2012) with Ireland following suit.
The Game Changer
- Newborn hearing tests (since 2012) and infant education give today’s kids a headstart.
- Today’s cochlear implants and hearing-aids give digital sound quality like never before.
- Infant verbal education leads children into preschool with peer-level spoken language.
Realtime classroom captions suit pupils who’re severely to profoundly deaf with good literacy, but are not formally provided in Ireland. Workforce planning is urgently needed in this regard.
Sample education supports deaf children in Ireland access:
* Home and language teaching support from a visiting teacher from soon after birth
* Speech and language therapy if required, on the HSE (waiting lists apply)
Note: If your child is attending a specialist school with speech & language therapy services, they cannot avail of the HSE’s community SLT services.
* An Individual Education Plan for their specific needs
* Four hours’ resource teaching time per week if child has a bilateral loss
Note: Resource hours are advised by the VTOD to a SENO, who applies to the DES for the hours. The school manages the arrangement with the VTOD.
Note 2: Resource teaching can be group or individual, inside or outside the classroom and may not apply to children who are successful in mainstream.
Deaf children with extra needs may get extra hours due to dual disability
Note 3: To quantify your child’s eligibility for this, or any other services listed here, contact the Visiting Teacher Service, or your local VTOD.
* Where relevant, home ISL tuition for children (with annual reapplication)
* Two infants per week are born deaf in Ireland (about 100 per year).
* 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents, who use spoken language in the home.
* All babies can lip-read at about 6 months, as a way to acquire language.
* Newborn hearing tests lead into infant hearing-aid use and access to sound.
* Deaf children can be mainstream educated if the right support is provided.
* Infant intervention & spoken language acquisition is crucial for deaf babies.
* These children learn in English at school, supported by Visiting Teachers.
* Every deaf child is unique, with different needs, so individual education plans with adequate supports must be properly used for their schooling.
Parents will have to spend time home-working with their children to complement & reinforce the child’s progress with state and school supports.
Teaching support at home & schools in Ireland is from:
The National Council for Special Education (NCSE)
Some terminology in your child’s education plans:
V/TOD – Visiting/Teacher of the Deaf (may also teach at a specialist school)
SEN – Special Educational Needs (as defined in the EPSEN Act 2004)
SENO – Special Educational Needs Officer (co-ordinates service delivery)
SNA – Special Needs Assistant (care for the child in school if needed) Note: VTOD advises need for a SNA to the SENO, who applies to the DES for a SNA