University of Edinburgh

Including deaf children in mainstream schools

Presented on Thursday 14 September 2006

Role of the Teacher of the Deaf
Practical Aspects

Anne Cowgill, Ayrshire Peripatetic Service for HI Children

About our Service

The Hearing Impairment Service is an educational provision supporting the audiological, educational, social and emotional needs of hearing impaired children and their families from diagnosis until school leaving age.

Promoting Inclusion by:

  • Providing specialist support options to enable hearing impaired children equity of access to the curriculum.
  • Monitoring the management and effectiveness of audiological equipment in a variety of environmental conditions.
  • Promoting language development by providing a range of communication modes and strategies.
  • Working in collaboration with pupils, mainstream staff, and other agencies.
    Ensuring ongoing evaluation of pupil progress.
  • Offering relevant information to enable informed choices.
  • Creating positive attitudes towards deaf people within the school environment and local communities.

HI Team

3 ToD East; 3 ToD North; 3 ToD South
Sign Language Assistant
Clerical Assistant

Effective Inclusive Practice

  • Referrals to the HI Service are made by the Educational Audiology Service.
  • Peripatetic staff visit children at home and in educational establishments throughout Ayrshire.
  • Both services operate from a central resource base located and managed by East Ayrshire.
  • Both services operate from a central resource base located and managed by East Ayrshire.

We are - We need

D - Diagnosis / deployment

E - Effective education

A - Awareness

F - Fulfilment of our potential

Paediatrician / Home Visitor → Educational Audiologist → Otologist (ENT) → Cochlear Implant Team

Hearing Impairment Service

Home visiting

  • Partnership with parents
  • Effective mode of communication
  • Counselling / advice
  • Monitor and assess development
  • Enable informed choices
  • Information
  • PreScat / other agencies

teacher of the deaf support

awareness and positive attitudes lead to inclusive society

The Role of ToDs

  • Evaluation
  • Teaching
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Assessment
  • Administration/Record Keeping
  • Guidance/Advice
  • In-service

Teaching & Evaluation

  • Supporting communication and linguistic development.
  • Assessing Audiological implications related to speech and language development and prescribed aids to hearing.
  • Providing specialist knowledge relative to the distinctive range of learning needs of each individual child. Enabling pupils to attain and achieve their goals and expectations.
  • Establishing effective planning, doing, reviewing & reporting.
  • Promoting a proactive partnership with HI child to develop their self-esteem and encourage positive attitudes to the learning experience.
  • Working collaboratively with parents, pupils, class teachers and other relevant agencies.

Equipment Maintenance

  • Hearing aids
  • Ear moulds/tubing
  • Soundfield Systems
  • FM Systems
  • Cochlear Implants


  • Audiological
  • Educational/Curricular
  • Personal and Social Development

Administration and Record Keeping

  • Timetabling
  • Daily logs
  • Forward planning and termly reviews
  • Annual Reports
  • Pre-school Profiles
  • Monitor Visits/Reports
  • Review meetings/IEPS/ Pre-scats
  • Service Resources
  • Liaising with Educational Audiologist and other hospital staff
  • Differentiation of materials/resources

Guidance and Advice

  • Support for family after initial diagnosis and ongoing as per individual need.
  • Provide information about hearing loss implications, audiograms, hearing tests, amplification and allowances.
  • Provide advice about the impact of deafness on language, social and emotional development
  • Discuss different methods of communication.
  • Support family through transition times and review processes.
  • Offer information about other Agencies (WSDCS, NDCS, RNID).
  • Facilitate family links and social interaction.

Other Professional Aspects

  • Team Support
  • In-service
  • Awareness raising:
    local and national priorities
    mainstream developments and new
    initiatives in the field of hearing impairment.
  • Staff development
  • Discuss educational provision and support during transition times.
  • Developing and maintaining modes of communication.

"Teachers of the Deaf are uniquely equipped to support deaf children, their teachers and their families. They have training and expertise which ranges from audiological management and language acquisition and from classroom practice through to deaf children’s social and emotional development. Some of these areas of expertise are shared by other professionals (eg; audiologists, speech therapists). The qualified Teacher of the Deaf, however, draws together knowledge of all the influences which impact on the child, bringing an essential breadth to the support of the deaf child. Mainstream staff involved with a deaf child need teacher of the deaf support to ensure the child maintains equal access to the curriculum."

DELTA The Right to Hear and be Heard 1997

Ongoing Challenges

  • Developing early support strategies for children & their families
  • Accessibility & inclusion
  • Establishing collaborative working practice to meet the needs of each individual
  • Raising deaf awareness
  • Training & recruitment
  • Deployment and remit restrictions-(postcode lottery?)
  • Accessing CPD in specialist subject and current mainstream education
  • Keep up to date and informed about national legislation, local policies & procedures
  • Provide a flexible & responsive service
  • Partnership with Parents / Families / Other Agencies
  • Recognition of diversity of needs

The Impact of Deafness

  • language development;
  • limited vocabulary;
  • communication with others;
  • spoken language intelligibility;
  • written English;
  • social skills;
  • emotional development;
  • confidence and self-esteeem


  • Favourable seating position.
  • Gain children's attention before important information given.
  • Keep background noise to a minimum.
  • Slow down your speech rate.
  • Allow children more time to think and talk.
  • Repeat contributions from other children in class discussions.
  • Check occasionally that information given orally has been understood.
  • Use visual aids whenever possible.
  • Don't talk and write at the same time.
  • Don't make a child concentrate on lipreading for too long without a break.
  • Don’t overload a child with too many oral instructions.
  • Don't always expect an immediate answer.
  • Don't assume that a child has certain knowledge. Check what they know first.
  • Remember that deaf children cannot pick up auditory information in the same way that hearing children can, eg; television.

What makes a 'deaf friendly teacher?'

  • willing to learn
  • flexible
  • fair
  • explains things clearly
  • understands deaf children
  • a good communicator
  • sets a good example


Think about the deaf child’s needs in and out of the classroom, making sure that they are being included and following what is happening.

Try to be flexible in your teaching and use a range of techniques and methods.

Be aware of background noise as this can affect the deaf child’s access to communication.

Encourage everyone involved in daily school life to become deaf aware.