Deaf - Hard of Hearing

PA Communication Plan Sections I and II

  • June 1st, 2011
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Section I: Language and Communication Needs

The IEP team discusses and indicates with a check, the student’s primary language. This is the language most frequently used across settings by the student and will inform the team of the student’s preferred language or communication mode for learning.

Referencing all of the data collected by the IEP team and information from the parents, the IEP describes the expressive and receptive language/s and mode/s of communication used across settings in school, and then what the parents use with their child.

There are choices listed on the communication plan under communication mode, but it should not be a checklist. More than one mode may be checked, e.g. a student with additional complex needs may receive communication by both ASL and gestures.

The IEP team needs to describe the effectiveness of communication experienced between the student and his family and also his/her peers. If the current mode is not effective, the team should consider whether to develop goals to improve the student’s effective communication with his/her peers during this IEP. The question asking if the language or communication mode is adequate cannot be answered by only a yes or no. There needs to be a brief explanation to qualify the answer given, e.g., yes because…

For students who have both a visual impairment and a hearing loss, the IEP team should identify the modes used and describe how it provides access to visual and environmental information, including the mode of communication used for instruction. If the current mode is not effective, the team should develop goals to improve communication in order to make visual and environmental information more accessible to the student.

Additional Considerations for Completing Section I

  • It is imperative to complete the entire Communication Plan immediately following the identification of the student as deaf or hard of hearing in the Special Considerations section. Doing so has proven to be more efficient and effective since the rich discussions regarding language will help determine student needs and therefore be embedded in the rest of the sections on the IEP.
  • If the student primarily uses Pidgin Sign English (PSE) to communicate, check the box ‘Other’ and write Pidgin Sign English on the designated line. ‘Signed language other than ASL’ refers to another language that is signed, e.g. Mexican Sign Language or Lenguaje de Signos Mexicano.
  • Frequently, IEP team members would like to emphasize the fact that the student uses speechreading to aid in receptive communication. Although this is already denoted within the definition of auditory/oral mode of communication, it may be added parenthetically in section I, #2 (receptive).
  • The terms simultaneous communication and total communication have been used to state that more than one mode of communication is being used, i.e., spoken English, PSE, fingerspelling. The team may check all of the modes that apply in section I, #2.
  • In section 1, #2, Fingerspelling should not be checked unless it is the only mode of communication used with a student (known as the Rochester Method). Fingerspelling is used often in ASL and all signed languages.
  • While completing the plan, there may be discussions regarding evaluation of speech, hearing, and/or sign language. It is critical that those professionals in the respective mode(s) be knowledgeable and proficient in assessing the student. In addition, progress monitoring data from IEP goals need to be reviewed to ensure the chosen mode(s) is effective in advancing achievement.
  • The student’s language and communication needs should be discussed, assimilated, and noted throughout the development of the IEP.

Section II: Opportunities for Direct Communication

The IEP team describes opportunities for the student to communication directly with hearing, deaf and/or hard of hearing peers, as well as with professional staff and school personnel using the student’s language and communication modes noted in Section 1 of the communication plan.

The IEP team also describes opportunities for the student to receive direct instruction from the professional staff and other school personnel using the student’s language and communication modes as addressed in Section 1.

Additional Considerations for Completing Section II

  • Direct communication with professional staff and other school personnel includes interaction with teachers, paraprofessionals, therapists, counselors, nurse, custodial and cafeteria workers. This is an essential component of the school culture and climate – that students have access to all personnel. (Also related to IV. – Full range of needs)
  • Direct instruction includes instruction in the general education setting, small group situations, and individual instruction.
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