There’s a Deaf/hard-of-hearing student in my class…what does that mean? The Program for Deaf Adults (PDA) was established at LaGuardia Community College in 1975 to meet the needs of Deaf/hard-of-hearing students in post-secondary education. PDA offers a variety of support services to enable Deaf and hard-of-hearing students to participate in a mainstream environment and to achieve their potential. PDA also recognizes many faculty members, especially those new to LAGCC, may never have had the experience of teaching a Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing student. It is PDA’s goal to work with faculty to provide access to the classroom for Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing students, as well as make this experience as comfortable and rewarding for everyone involved. Please take the time to read this information sheet; it will answer many of the questions or concerns you may have. Reasonable Accommodations and Equal Access In order that students may have a fair chance of academic success, without being unduly penalized because of a disability, Deaf/HH students are entitled to certain accommodations or modifications of standard classroom practices. These accommodations include: sign language interpreters; note takers; captionists; captioned material; assistive technology; Academic Peer Instruction; and testing accommodations.
Sign Language Interpreter
The role of the sign language interpreter is to make communication accessible by facilitating communication among all parties involved: the instructor, the hearing students and the Deaf/HH student. The interpreter is not the student’s tutor, counselor, or aide; the interpreter is present only to ensure effective communication. Remember that conversations between you and a Deaf/HH student are the same as with a hearing student; speak to the student directly (not, “Tell him….”), and the interpreter will take care of the rest. If there is a need to meet with your student outside of class time, arrangements can be made to have an interpreter present foryour meeting. Please try to give advance notice when scheduling an interpreter;interpreter availability issometimes limited but we will do our best to accommodate your schedule. There may be occasions when there are changes in the regular class schedule, e.g., a class period will be canceled; a field trip; attending a campus event; etc. Any deviation from the regular class routine impacts the placement of interpreters – whether it is the need to cancel and reassign them or to provide additional or other interpreters for special events. All of these situations require that PDA Interpreter Services be notified as far in advance as possible so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Note takers are provided for Deaf/HH students so that they are able to focus on the interpreter or on reading the lips of the person speaking. Usually, the notetaker is a student from your class. The Deaf/HH students may ask you to announce to the class their need for a note taker, or to identify a student who will take appropriate notes for them. Note takers are compensated for their willingness to be responsible for providing notes to Deaf/HH students.
Depending on the communication needs of a student, s/he may opt for using captioning in lieu of an interpreter and note taker. Captioning is a general term for a variety of computer-aided speech-to-text transcription systems, utilizing two laptop computers. A specially trained captionist uses her/his laptop to input all proceedings of the class – instructor’s lecture, students’ questions/comments, etc. – that are simultaneously displayed on the student’s laptop. This is a relatively new technology, and only a few qualified captionists are currently available.
If video/DVD presentations are part of the curriculum, it is advisable to make arrangements to use captioned material. Most commercial videos/DVDs are now captioned; LAGCC’s Library Media Services can assist you in locating captioned material and in providing the proper equipment to view it. Since it is very difficult for an interpreter to interpret movies, plays, and other scripted material accurately and sufficiently without preparation, it is requested that you alert the interpreter in advance so that s/he can provide appropriate access for the Deaf/HH student if captioned material is not available.
For many hard-of-hearing students, access to a mainstream classroom depends on amplifying sound to a level that allows them to use their residual hearing. The student may request that you use an FM system to allow her/him to hear you at all times – whether you are standing directly in front of her/him, walking around the room, or have your back to the class while writing on the board. The FM system consists of a small microphone that unobtrusively clips to the instructor’s shirt, and a small transmitter with earphones that is worn by the student.
Academic Peer Instructor
Although tutoring is available and sufficient for students to succeed in most courses, PDA has identified certain courses that seem to present particular challenges. For these courses, PDA provides Academic Peer Instruction (API). API may be described as “enhanced tutoring,” in that the API leader is with the students in the classroom so that s/he has first-hand knowledge of what was covered in class and how the material was presented. Outside of the classroom, the API leader meets with the students to review and reinforce learning.
PDA provides testing accommodations for Deaf/HH students who need extra time to take a test because of language issues. It is the student’s responsibility to request PDA proctoring services three days in advance of their scheduled exam. The student will present a PDA Testing Accommodations form for your signature, on which you are requested to indicate how the accommodations will be made, e.g., how the exam will be delivered/returned; what materials may be used during the exam (calculator, dictionary, etc.). The students understand that they are expected to complete all assignments and meet regular standards for passing their courses. What is required is an equitable chance to do so. The accommodations listed above are among those identified in Section 504 of the National Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which relate to the non-discrimination of students with disabilities in post-secondary settings. You and the students may want to discuss the options that would best meet these accommodations. PDA is also available to provide assistance in this area.
We hope that this information is helpful to you. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. Also, click here for CUNY'S Reasonable Accommodations Faculty Guide.
For issues concerning advisement, note takers, captionists, assistive technology, API, or testing accommodations, please contact Kim Lucas. For interpreter issues, please contact Jane Rizzuto.
Program for Deaf Adults
Mailing Address:31-10 Thomson AvenueRoom C-203Long Island City, NY 11101
Location:29-10 Thomson AvenueLong Island City, NY 11101
(718) 482-5324 Voice (917) 832-1207 VP (718) 609-2069 Fax
Sue Livingston, PhD Professor, Basic Skills (718) 482-5621 Voice/TTY email@example.com
Kim Lucas, MA Academic Advisor (917) 832-1203 VP firstname.lastname@example.org
Jane Rizzuto, MBA Coordinator Interpreter Services (718) 482-5309 Voice email@example.com