When accommodating a Deaf, hard of hearing or DeafBlind student with a service or service provider, there are a number of factors to consider for ensuring full communication equity in the post-secondary learning environment.
Each student is an expert in their own lived experience with communication access. Understanding the student’s preferences, based on experience and proven effectiveness of the different access options is crucial. Students may also benefit from exploring factors and/or services they may not have previously experienced, and in developing confidence in advocating for their communication access needs is important. Accommodations are not equally effective for all students and require individualized considerations.
Deaf students who use American Sign Language may prefer Registered Sign Language Interpreters in many courses but may be more comfortable with a Typewell or CART transcriber in more technical STEM courses for example.
If a student has slower reading skills, or has an additional disability, reading captions through speech-to-text services such as CART or TypeWell may not be an effective option.
Hard of hearing students who do not use sign language might require CART or Typewell transcribing in one setting but prefer to use an assistive listening device to rely on their residual hearing when in another setting. If the hard of hearing student does know sign language, a sign language interpreter may also be an effective service for communication access.
DeafBlind students may use an intervenor, but depending on residual vision they may require tactile interpreting with a Registered Sign Language Interpreter or a transcriber instead.
It is important to assess the following conditions when determining the most effective services that will allow the student the equal opportunity to communicate in a manner that is equitable to peers who can hear.