Communication Plan Overview
The Communication Plan for a Child who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing is a description of the type(s) of communication support a student who is deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind will receive to support reading, communication, and the access to and use of assistive technologies. The communication plan is mandated by IDEA 2004 [300.324(a)(2)(iv)] and implements Pennsylvania’s Chapter 14 Regulations [§14.131(a)(1)(iii)] as 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.
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.
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.
Importance of the Communication Plan
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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. Family members are vital contributors 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.
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.
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