|Copyright 2011 ACE-DHH Chad E. Smith & Sherry Ernsberger, Webmasters
Deaf Education is a broad and diverse professional field that centers on the
education of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Teachers often concentrate
their studies in early childhood education, elementary education, or a secondary
content area. Teachers of students who are deaf or hard of hearing become experts
in language acquisition and the unique learning and communication needs of their
students. Sometimes areas of expertise that intersect Deaf Education. For example,
some university graduates who majored in Deaf Education have become transition
specialists who work with students who are transitioning from school to work. Others
function as educational interpreters and academic tutors in inclusive settings. Some
may work with families of newly diagnosed deaf or hard of hearing infants and
support the family during the early months as they confront and learn the challenges
of raising a deaf or hard of hearing child. There are many other areas in which Deaf
Educators expand their careers such as speech language pathology, career
technology, audiology, school counseling, social work, educational administration,
Deaf Education provides a great foundation and career options for individuals who
are interested in working with this unique population of students.
Deaf Educators work in several different settings. They work in private schools for
the deaf such as the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia, St.
Joseph's™ School for the Deaf in St. Louis, or The Learning Center for Deaf
Children in Framingham, MA.
Educators work in state-supported residential schools for the deaf such as the Texas
School for the Deaf in Austin, the Maryland School for the Deaf in Frederick, or the
California School for the Deaf in Fremont. Most states have a residential school for
the deaf, which provides educational services deaf and hard of hearing children
throughout the state. Sometimes the students live on campus, going home on
weekends. Often families move to be near the school so their children can live at
home and still take advantage of the educational program.
Deaf Educators also work throughout our public school system in various roles. Deaf
Educators who work in a public school setting often are itinerant teachers who travel,
much like speech pathologists, from school to school providing consultation and
individual services. In addition, Deaf Educators working in public schools serve as
resource room teachers, providing academic support for children mainstreamed into
the regular education classes. And, sometimes, especially when there is a magnet
program with a large enrollment of deaf and hard of hearing students, Deaf
Educators teach self-contained classes similar to other teachers in the public school
Colleges and universities offer both undergraduate and graduate programs in Deaf
Education. Depending on where you live, both options may be available to you.
There are several types of Deaf Education Teacher Preparation programs from
which to choose a program of study.
Oral-Aural Programs ~ University teacher preparation programs that focus on the
preparation of oral-aural teachers emphasize audiology, aural rehabilitation, and
techniques for speech development in addition to specialized teaching strategies.
Many programs following the oral-aural philosophy work with children who have
received cochlear implants and, therefore, prepare Deaf Educators to work in a
Bilingual-Bicultural Programs ~ University teacher preparation programs that
focus on the preparation of bilingual-bicultural teachers emphasize learning
American Sign Language as a first language and bridge to the development of
English (or any other spoken language). These programs also value Deaf Culture as
one of the many cultures represented by the diverse student population. Majoring in
this area requires one to become proficient in American Sign Language and
knowledgeable in the visual learning needs of deaf and hard of hearing students.
Comprehensive Programs ~ Most university teacher preparation programs in the
United States belong to this category. Comprehensive programs provide majors with
a variety of techniques in order to prepare them to be versatile enough to work with
children who are deaf or hard of hearing in a variety of settings. In addition to
courses in instructional strategies, comprehensive programs may offer coursework in
audiology, speech pathology, aural rehabilitation, and sign language. Some
programs offer courses in communication systems such as cued speech or signed
English. Others provide courses in American Sign Language. Colleges and
universities vary in their entry requirements. Please contact the institutions in which
your are interested for further information.