Federal regulations require the IEP team to consider special factors when developing an IEP for a student. One of those factors is the communication needs of the student. For a student who is deaf or hard-of-hearing, the IEP team must consider the student’s language and communication needs; opportunities for direct communications with peers and professional personnel in the student’s language and communication mode; academic level; and full range of needs, including opportunities for direct instruction in the student’s language and communication mode. [34 C.F. R. Sec. 300.324(a)(2)(iv); Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56345(d).]
In addition, in determining what is an appropriate education in the least restrictive environment for deaf or hard-of-hearing students, state law requires the IEP team to specifically discuss the communication needs of the pupil, including:
- Student’s primary language mode (e.g., spoken language, sign language, or a combination);
- Availability of language peers which may be achieved by consolidating services into an area-wide program;
- Ongoing language access to teachers and specialists proficient in the pupil’s language mode; and
- Services necessary to ensure community-accessible academic instruction and extracurricular activities.
[Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56345(d).]
The district is also responsible for insuring that hearing aids worn in school and surgically implanted medical devices (cochlear implants) are “functioning properly.” However, the district is not responsible for post-surgical maintenance, programming or replacement of these devices (or an external component of the devices). [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.113; Cal. Ed. Code Secs. 56345(d)(5)-(7).]