The Calgary Board of Education provides a continuum of services for students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH). In keeping with the individual abilities and gifts of each student, the supports and services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students reflect a commitment to personalized learning.
Placement options for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students within the Calgary Board of Education include the student’s community school or a specialized DHH system class in which students are supported in developing American Sign Language, listening/spoken English, or both.
Eligibility and Identification for Support from the DHH System Team (Educational Audiologist and Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing)
- A severe to profound hearing loss of 71 dB or more in the better ear over the speech frequencies that interferes with the use of oral language as the primary form of communication (Code 45, Alberta Education)
- A mild to moderate hearing loss of 26 to 70 dB in the better ear over the speech frequencies that affects speech and language development, and interferes with the ability to learn (Code 55, Alberta Education)
Eligibility must be supported by documentation and diagnosis from a clinical or educational audiologist. Additional considerations include, but are not limited to the following: preferred modality, receptive/expressive language ability, speech production ability, and literacy skill development.
Specialized, System Classes for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Each Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) system class is directly supported by a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing or special education teacher, and has access to an education assistant or educational interpreter, as needed. Typical class sizes range from 8 to 10 students. The ratio of students to staff varies depending on grade level and complexity of student needs. Program modifications, curriculum adaptations, learning technologies, and opportunities for integration are considered in personalizing the learning for each student. The DHH system classes are supported by a multidisciplinary team that includes: Educational Audiologist, Speech Language Pathologists, DHH System Specialist, and additional team members as needed (e.g. Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Psychologist).
System Class Locations and Descriptions
Each DHH classroom is directly supported by a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing, or special education teacher, and has access to an education assistant or educational interpreter, as needed. Typical class size ranges from 8 to 10 students. The ratio of students to staff varies depending on grade level and complexity of student needs. Integration opportunities in other classrooms, curriculum modifications, instructional accommodations, and learning technologies are personalized based on the needs of each student. Outside agency service providers may also be utilized where necessary and appropriate. The programs are supported by a multidisciplinary team that includes: a CBE Educational Audiologist, Alberta Health Services Speech Language Pathologists, a DHH Specialist, and Support Services for Inclusive Learning (SSIL).
Locations and Program Descriptions
Programming at Jennie Elliott School offers instruction through listening and spoken English (Aural/Oral) and/or American Sign Language (ASL-Bilingual). The primary goals for students enrolled in a DHH System class include the development of either, or both, languages (English/ASL), as well as skills in English literacy. Programming for students developing listening and spoken language emphasizes the use of hearing technology (FM/DM systems), residual hearing, speech, speechreading, and visual supports. Programming for students developing visual language emphasizes the use of American Sign Language (ASL) through direct instruction and/or ASL Interpreters.
Aural/Oral programming is offered for students whose families have expressed a preference for their child to learn through aural input (listening) and oral expression (speaking). ASL bilingual programming is offered for students whose families have expressed a preference for their child to learn through direct instruction in American Sign Language, or for students who require sign language to communicate. Where appropriate, families are encouraged to access programming in both modes of communication.
Personal FM/DM systems are available for those students who have hearing aids or cochlear implants. Depending on the personalized learning needs of individual students, strategies for developing spoken English and listening skills are directed by an Alberta Health Services' Speech Language Pathologist. Students are exposed to Deaf culture and participate with their hearing peers in select educational opportunities and social activities. The progress of each student is reviewed at regular intervals as part of the Individual Program Planning (IPP) process.
Communication and instruction is through American Sign Language, spoken/written English, or sign supported speech based on student needs. The primary program goal is to optimize students' academic achievement, communication abilities, and personal development. Students in this program may have hearing aids and/or cochlear implants and have the option to use personal FM systems. A combination of congregated DHH, co-enrolment, and/or integrated environments is available. Students may participate in bi-cultural learning experiences through educational opportunities and activities in the congregated classrooms and throughout the school. The students who have previously attended a DHH system class at Jennie Elliott School, often transition to a junior high DHH system class at Queen Elizabeth High School.
DHH in Community Schools
A Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) Strategist will provide support to the school learning team. This support includes assistive technology use, IPP development, classroom accommodations, and teaching strategies. Strategists work directly with DHH students to provide support with amplification, technology, auditory skill development, literacy and language development, self-advocacy, social/emotional development and transitions depending on need and resources available.
The CBE Educational Audiologist provides audiological supports to community schools and the DHH system classes at both Jennie Elliott School and Queen Elizabeth High School. Audiological support includes: 1) monitoring, troubleshooting and repair; 2) verifying FM/DM characteristics to ensure that the FM/DM systems and hearing aids/cochlear implants work properly together; 3) building capacity of teachers through in-services about hearing loss, using assistive technology, and classroom acoustics; and 4) building capacity of strategists, teachers, education assistants, and students to develop monitoring and troubleshooting skills.
Community Program – Connect Society
Connect Society’s Early Childhood Services Program provides daily, on-site preschool and kindergarten programming for children with hearing loss and for hearing children who have Deaf or hard of hearing parents or family members.
Connect Society provides deaf and hard of hearing children, aged 2½ to 5½, with opportunities to develop strong language abilities and to build skills and strategies that will prepare them for success in their schools and community.
For additional information, please contact:
Janet Bremner, Program Manager
e | JBremner@ConnectSociety.org