Primary and Preferred Language/Communication Mode
For students who are deaf or hard of hearing, the communication mode used to express their language of choice can be manual, oral, or a combination, such as signing, cued speech, visual phonics, augmentative and alternative communication, signing exact English, and total communication. Providing assessments in a student’s primary language and preferred mode of communication show the true measure of their abilities and achievement. When considering these options during the evaluation process, the following questions may prove helpful:
Spoken Language: (e.g., English or other): Will the student’s hearing levels (with or without technology) enable complete access to learning language through audition or what they hear in a way that allows for communicative competence, basic interpersonal communication with others, and cognitive academic language proficiency?
Manual Language: (e.g., American Sign Language or other): Will sign language enhance a student’s communicative competence and potential to develop interpersonal skills with cognitive academic language proficiency?
Visual Support/System: Will providing visual system/access (e.g., visual phonics, cued speech) to auditory language provide the student access to auditory language?
The Communication Planning Guide for Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing is a tool that was created to help teams in the assessment and planning process. It is intended to be reviewed annually to help facilitate meaningful discussion and planning as teams embark on the decision making process to develop an individualized communication plan for students across environments as they grow.
|Communication Approach||Description||Languages Incorporated||Modalities Incorporated|
|Bilingual-Bimodal||Incorporates the separate use of two languages, one visual and one spoken. American Sign Language (ASL) is a full and complete visual language with complex grammatical structures that incorporate signs and non-manual markers expressed on the face and body. Spoken and signed languages are used in the same environment, with intentional times and roles. The two languages are given equal value and equal representation.||ASL or a native sign language and English or another spoken language||
|Cued Speech||A system of eight hand shapes placed in one of four positions near the face that visually presents a phonetic representation of syllables used in spoken English. Cued speech systems have been created to represent the sounds in 48 different languages to make visual the phonemes that are spoken that cannot be visually distinguished through lipreading.||Spoken English or another spoken language||
|Listening and Spoken Language (includes approaches previously known as auditory-oral and auditory-verbal)||Using primarily listening to understand spoken language and using spoken language to interact and communicate with others.||Spoken English or another spoken language||
|Pidgin Signed English (PSE)||Used when native English speakers are learning ASL and use ASL signs without using appropriate ASL grammar and sign in an incomplete way. Used as a bridge to link spoken and signed language and is not seen as a true representation of either language.||Parts of spoken language and parts of ASL or a signed English system||
|Sign-supported Speech||Signs are used to clarify and support the use of spoken language. Primarily used when children rely on mostly audition and spoken language to communicate but may need visual support to understand spoken language in loud settings or for new information.||Spoken English or another spoken language||
|Simultaneous Communication||A spoken language is used simultaneously with a system of signs (not a true visual language) that borrow from ASL, but are put in English order and then said and signed simultaneously.||Spoken English or another spoken language||
- Instructions provided in ASL may inadvertently demonstrate how to solve the types of problems presented, rather than simply stating what is expected. Evaluators should review the manual of each test being administered with the interpreter prior to assessing students.
- Review test manuals for suggested modifications recommended to meet students’ needs (e.g., language accessibility).