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Communication Planning Guide for Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Auxiliary Aids and Services


Section 2

The purpose of this section is to help teams with decision-making to support student need for auxiliary aids. Auxiliary aids and services are items, equipment or services that assist in effective communication between a person who has a hearing, vision, or speech disability and a person who does not. These can include, but are not limited to: an interpreter, note takers, FM systems, AAC devices, etc.

When determining if auxiliary aids and services are necessary, the school must analyze the student’s needs and how to best meet those needs, while giving primary consideration to the specific request of the student or family. The type of auxiliary aids or services necessary to ensure effective communication will vary in accordance with the method of communication used by the individual; the nature, length, and complexity of the communication involved; and the context in which the communication is taking place.It is also important for IEP teams and families to recognize that a student’s preferences can change over time. The student and family’s preference should be discussed annually to incorporate any changes in hearing, amplification, or language development over the past year. Auxiliary aids and services may need to be provided to the student before completion of the IDEA evaluation process and eligibility determination in order to be considered timely (e.g., FM system, AAC devices).

It is important to note that ADA addresses requirements for auxiliary aids and services. Sign language interpreters are considered an auxiliary aid/service and are “qualified” based on meeting state requirements and their ability to effectively communicate information to their students.

As teams plan for auxiliary aids and services, ensuring access and engagement for a student across a school day, consider:

Sample Discussion Questions

  • What auxiliary aids and services does the student require to be meaningfully included in his or her educational setting?
  • What skills and training do related service providers possess to ensure they provide effective communication to students who are deaf or hard of hearing?
  • Is the student’s notetaker (or other auxiliary service provider) trained and providing the same information that nondisabled peers are receiving?
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