Deaf - Hard of Hearing

PA Communication Plan Overview

  • May 27th, 2011
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What is the purpose of a Communication Plan for a child who is deaf or hard of hearing ?

The Communication Plan for a Child who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing is a requirement of IDEA 2004 [300.324(a)(2)(iv)] and implements Pennsylvania’s Chapter 14 Regulations [§14.131(a)(1)(iii)] that mandates a description of the type or types of supports a student who is deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind will receive to support reading, communication and the access to and use of assistive technologies. It is a required component of the IEP for any student with a hearing loss who is receiving a service, support or activity from an audiologist and/or teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing. In Pennsylvania, the Special Considerations section the IEP has been changed to reflect these requirements. The components of the communication plan that must be addressed are:

  • Language and communication needs,
  • Opportunities for direct communication with peer and professional personnel in the child’s language and communication mode,
  • Academic level,
  • Full range of needs, and
  • Assistive technology devices and services.

Note: This section is NOT included in Chapter 711. Charter schools are covered under Chapter 711 and the charter school special education regulations do not include a requirement for the use of the communication plan. However, use of the communication plan to guide the IEP team in the development of an IEP for a student who is deaf, hard of hearing or deafblind, is highly recommended even though it is not a required component of the IEP for students attending one of Pennsylvania’s Charter Schools.

For whom does the communication plan need to be completed?

If the IEP team has identified the student as deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind, and has checked the accompanying box in the Special Consideration section of the IEP, then a communication plan must be developed. In other words, a communication plan needs to be completed for any student with a hearing loss who is receiving a service, support, or activity from an audiologist and/or teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing and is being considered for – or has an IEP.

Who completes the communication plan?

The entire IEP team, including the educational audiologist, teacher of the deaf, and educational interpreter provides input for completing the plan. Parent(s)/Guardian(s) are vital members of the IEP team and should be active in the process of completing the communication plan; they have valuable information regarding their child’s current communication and language levels, as well as areas of need. The LEA needs to make every attempt to schedule the IEP meeting at a time and location that is reasonably convenient for the parent. If a parent cannot attend the IEP meeting, it should be appropriately documented and the team needs to obtain parent input through phone calls, written communication or home visits.

When is the communication plan completed?

The IEP team completes the communication plan at the IEP meeting. It is permissible for team members to bring data and pertinent information to the IEP meeting to facilitate the completion of the plan. It is strongly recommended that the plan be completed when the IEP team addresses the Special Considerations Section on the IEP and/or develops the Present Levels of Academic and Functional Performance – at the beginning of the meeting so that the team can consider the appropriate communication and language needs of the student. Since this documented information drives the development of the IEP each year, it is critical to discuss the student’s communication needs early in the IEP process.

Note: Copies of the communication plan and the annotated communication plan are available on the PaTTAN website at Please feel free to download the annotated Communication Plan and to use it as guidance at the IEP meeting.

Further explanation and considerations are available for each of the four sections of the communication plan.
Communication Plan Sections I and II
Communication Plan Sections III and IV

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  • Jane Freeman
    Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Leadership, Secondary Transition, Educational Interpreters, Deaf-Blind
  • Sue Ann Houser
    Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Reading, Deaf-Blind
  • Michelle Andros
    Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Secondary Transition, Deaf-Blind
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