The Northwestern Illinois Association

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing

Educational Programs for Children Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

SPEECH, LANGUAGE and AUDITORY SKILLS are the vital principles at the heart of all areas of the NIA Hearing Department curriculum, from parent/infant services through high school and multi-needs classrooms.

The NIA's Programs for Students Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing are built upon the philosophy of TOTAL COMMUNICATION (sign language and speech). TOTAL COMMUNICATION helps hearing impaired children understand language. It is easier to learn new vocabulary when it is shown, as well as, spoken. A child can see the sign for an object. This helps the child understand and remember the word and its meaning. The process develops listening skills and visual attention. Both skills are important in the development of language. TOTAL COMMUNICATION helps the child learn a word's meaning and how to communicate it effectively.

  • The development of SPEECH SKILLS is a part of every activity throughout the day. The speech teacher further enhances these skills during sessions focusing on specific articulation goals and the language development necessary for providing the student with skills critical for speaking and comprehending spoken language.

  • LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT at NIA is a consistent focus across all areas of the curriculum. Language building provides the crucial foundation hearing impaired children need to be able to understand the world around them, communicate thoughts and ideas, and to understand concepts related to reading, language, social studies, science and math.

  • AUDITORY SKILLS ENHANCEMENT occurs in every facet of the program. Teachers incorporate listening exercises into the curriculum on a daily basis. Individual or small group sessions with the auditory skills teacher allow for concentrated attention on specific aspects of listening used in all environments.

The children also benefit from other services and experiences which may include, but are not limited to:

  • Educational audiologist services
  • Mainstream activities
  • Counseling
  • Specialized evaluations
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
You can now download the 2010 Hearing Hearing Itinerant Manual. Please note this file is 38MB and will take time to download.

Counseling Services

The NIA specialized counseling services for students with hearing loss are offered through a cooperative effort between NIA and member school districts when a child's IEP team determines that such services are warranted.

The most pervasive effect of hearing loss can be isolation due to communication challenges. The breakdown of communication between parent and child, child and teacher, and child and peers impact the child's sense of belonging. A sense of belonging is the foundation for developing positive identity and self-esteem. The counselors teach students self-advocacy and coping strategies to lessen the adverse effects of hearing loss.

The unique background of the counselors includes experience, education, and communication/signing skills which make them an essential part of the student's educational team.

Technical Assistance Supervision Services

The following is a list of services available from NIA. Specific services for a given year vary based upon need.

Supervise classroom and/or itinerant teachers serving deaf/hard-of hearing students, providing technical assistance on an ongoing regular basis.

*Review failed hearing screenings and hearing referrals; assist and/or conduct educational environment observations, follow-through with recommendations and educational placement, if needed.

*Participate in developing comprehensive programs for deaf/hard-of-hearing children.

*Participate in educational placement of deaf/hard-of-hearing students in appropriate programs: parent-infant, itinerant, resource, or self-contained.

*Develop teacher skills in diagnostic testing for the objective measurement of student progress.

*Attend IEP meetings to provide technical assistance.

*Counsel parents in programming options for their deaf/hard-of-hearing children.

*Provide training for staff to improve skills and knowledge regarding current issues in the field.

*Complete teacher and interpreter evaluations or provide technical input to district/co-op staff regarding teacher performance.

*Complete annual Gallaudet survey of deaf/hard-of-hearing students.

*Coordinate caseload distribution between teachers; monitor caseload levels and schedules.

*Facilitate communication and equipment maintenance between audiologist and teachers of deaf/HOH.

*Provide staff with resources and information regarding professional growth activities.

*Schedule and/or attend team meetings.

*Serve as liaison between district/co-op and other hearing programs in the region or other professionals in the deaf/hard-of-hearing field.

*Assist with transition of children in early intervention services into school programs.

*Assist in recruiting, interviewing, orienting staff as vacancies occur.

*Coordinate operation of site-based hearing clinics and any district-specific hearing screening days.

*Observe staff and students in program and provide recommendations as needed.

*Work with staff to align goals and objectives with Illinois Learning Standards.

*Communicate with special education administration to solve program- or student-specific issues.

*Provide assistance to district/co-op regarding referral procedures and eligibility requirements for Teacher of Deaf/HOH, FM assistance.

*Collaborate with staff to write and accomplish professional goals.

*Serve as a liaison between the district/co-op and the Illinois School for the Deaf.

*Serve on statewide committees, boards, and task forces regarding educational programming, state issues, etc. for deaf/hard-of-hearing students.

*Conduct district and/or region-wide staff meetings.

*Coordinate annual needs assessment preparation; make recommendations to district/co-op administration for coming academic year.

Contact Information
  Roman Zerebny
(815) 229-2880
Instruction/Technical Assistance/Counseling:
  Carol Johnson
(815) 229-2161