Communication in any of its forms is essential in education. However, not all students communicate the same. It is common for students with deafness or hearing loss to communicate using American Sign Language (ASL).
You may communicate with your child using ASL at home, but what about when they go to school? There are specific schools in California for students with deafness, but there are options in public schools as well.
Is an interpreter covered by the IEP?
In public school systems, students with deafness would likely require an ASL interpreter. It is the school’s responsibility to obtain an interpreter for your child as well. After all, interpreting services are a related service directly addressed in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Independent education plans (IEPs) do usually cover related services such as interpreters. However, as we have discussed in previous blog posts, your child will have to go through the specific process to obtain this service, which includes:
- Independent education evaluation, which often involves observing the child and evaluating their medical records, schoolwork and other skills to determine their needs
- Independent education planning, which addresses the details of when and how your child will receive interpreting services in their classroom
Obtaining an ASL interpreter in your child’s classroom is only one service for which they might be eligible. The IEP could also include other accommodations and services that support their education. It is helpful for you to understand all of the services available, in addition to interpreting services.
Understand how these services should work
Your family might communicate using ASL at home. Even so, parents should make sure they understand the role and responsibilities of the classroom interpreter to make sure their child experiences quality, effective communication in the classroom.
For example, it is helpful to know that:
- Parents should be able to review the interpreter’s certification and qualifications
- Teachers should speak to the child, not the interpreter
- Teachers and interpreters should work together to communicate effectively
Having an ASL interpreter in the classroom is often critical to help students with deafness obtain an appropriate education. Therefore, understanding the process and their specific roles can help you and your child secure this essential service.