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Deaf or Hard of Hearing


Deafness is defined as, "a hearing impairment that is so severe that the individual is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance."

Hearing impairment is defined as “an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects an individual’s educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness.”

281--Iowa Administrative Code 41.29(2)
281--Iowa Administrative Code 41.50(4)(5)

Communication Plan

A Communication Plan is a required IEP component 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.

The components of a communication plan may be embedded within an IEP or attached as a separate document.

What is included in a communication plan?

The communication plan:

  • Provides information regarding the student’s mode of communication;
  • Addresses the student’s language needs;
  • Addresses the student’s communication needs;
  • Addresses the student’s academic level;
  • Addresses the student’s full range of needs;
  • Describes opportunities for direct communication with peers and professionals;
  • Describes opportunities for direct instruction in the child’s language and communication mode; and
  • Incorporates all of this information into the development of the IEP. 

IEP Communication Plan for Student Who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Who completes the plan and when?

The IEP team completes the communication plan during the IEP meeting.  Team members bring information to facilitate completion of the plan.

The educational audiologist and/or teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing must be a member of the team.

If the child utilizes an educational interpreter, it would be appropriate to also invite him/her.

A draft communication plan may be developed prior to consideration of IEP goals and service planning as this information would be helpful for the IEP team as they complete the IEP process. Please remember that if a draft communication plan is developed prior to the IEP meeting, it must be provided to the parents before the meeting.

Directions for Communication Plan for Student Who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Documentation on the IEP

The Web IEP requires a disability coding (beyond eligible individual) specific to a student who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing.  This is entered in the Required Systems Data section on Page A, in the Disability(ies) section. 

It is important to enter this data correctly, as it used to determine the number of students who are deaf or hearing-impaired.

Educational Interpreters

Educational Interpreters are related service providers for deaf or hard of hearing students who use sign language. Educational interpreters facilitate communication between individuals who communicate via American Sign Language or a manual form of English and individuals who communicate via spoken English.

Iowa educational interpreters are required to hold a license from the Iowa Department of Professional Licensure, Board of Sign Language Interpreters and Translators. Licensure is for a two-year period from July 1 of an odd-numbered year to June 30 of the following odd-numbered year. Continuing education units are required for license renewal. 

See the Iowa Board of Sign Language Interpreters and Translators for further information. 

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on April 25, 2018 at 4:55pm.