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Here are frequently asked questions of the NDC | Help Team. Search by topic, or scroll through the archive. If you have a question, please ask us. Want to be alerted when new FAQs are posted? Join the NDC listserv. For new tips and resources in response to the pandemic, visit our COVID-19 Information hub.

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The most effective way is to engage in the interactive process to learn about each deaf student’s unique needs. It can also be helpful to review the different types of accommodations with the student. NDC’s Deaf Medical Students includes accommodation considerations specific to healthcare training programs such as face masks, stethoscopes, and accommodations for internships. When meeting with the deaf student, it is important to consider that effective communication strategies vary depending on the setting. A trial and error approach may be needed to find the right combination of accommodations to provide equitable access. 

Additionally, the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science Education supports disability services professionals working with medical colleges/programs including a listserv and training opportunities. NDC’s listserv can also serve as a tool for seeking colleague input or suggestions.

Mentors and Role Models

Training and Employment Support

It is a common misconception that service providers (interpreters and speech-to-text professionals), as a third party, may be a violation of HIPAA. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) explains the allowance of service providers whether remote, in-person or via telecommunications relay service (TRS); including obligations to the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Additionally, protecting consumer privacy is reinforced through confidentiality clauses in service provider codes of ethics: 

Sometimes academic programs require students to have specific equipment such as stethoscopes. If the institution provides stethoscopes for all students in a medical program, the institution is responsible for ensuring the deaf student has access to an adaptive stethoscope (e.g. amplified or digital stethoscope). Institutions can purchase one and loan it to deaf students. If all students are required to purchase their own, deaf students would need to as well. Deaf students may be able to get support with purchasing assistive technology through vocational rehabilitation or a state technology assistance program.

When seeking a stethoscope that is compatible with hearing aids or cochlear implants, deaf students should consult with their audiologist. To learn more about the types of stethoscopes available for deaf individuals, see lists provided by the Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses and the Job Accommodation Network.


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A key point to remember is not all deaf people are the same. Accommodations will vary by each deaf individual. Examples of common accommodations for deaf students include interpreters, speech-to-text professionals, note takers, assistive listening systems, and captioned videos. There are strategies you can use to make the classroom environment (face-to-face or online) accessible. Seek guidance from the disability services office as well as the deaf student on how to make your course an equitable experience. If you have specific questions you can reach out to the NDC Help Team for more information and resources. 

NDC resources for faculty and instructors with deaf students:

There is no one-size-fits-all for each student or each class, and this applies especially when moving to online classes. NDC’s Equitable Access Guide, Section 3 states, “The choice of the auxiliary aid is made on a case-by-case basis...Institutions are to consult with the person and take into account his or her usual or preferred method of communication.” What worked for in-person classrooms may not be equally effective in online classes.

It is important to be flexible, consider a trial-and-error approach to identify what works best for the student, and investigate options depending on the method of instruction (e.g., live online video lecture, pre-recorded video lectures, group discussion using video vs. text chat, etc.).

Substituting one accommodation for another when not requested by the deaf student can cause barriers to access. It is important to engage the deaf student in an interactive process to gain a better understanding of their communication access needs in a variety of settings. Depending on whether your institution is public (Title II) or private (Title III), who determines accommodations varies, but ultimately the accommodation must provide effective communication. The goal of effective communication is to ensure the deaf student is able to communicate, receptively and expressively, with others. If a deaf student primarily uses sign language to communicate and requests interpreting services, a qualified interpreter should be provided.

Dual accommodations (interpreting and speech-to-text services) can benefit students with being able to access information in both sign language and text translation for a class that uses highly specialized vocabulary at the same time. Requests for dual accommodations from students are considered on a case-by-case basis, discussing the student’s subjective experience and challenges with accessing information in the course. For example, some students may prefer to rely on speech-to-text services for the lecture-based content and an interpreter to participate in course discussions. When making the decision in using dual accommodations for effective communication, take into consideration:  

  • The context or setting (including mode of presentation)

  • The length, complexity, and importance of communication

  • The student’s preferred method(s) of communication

Dual accommodations may be beneficial to students in the following courses:

  • Medical & Law School

  • Foreign Language Courses

  • Doctoral level and highly technical courses

  • Advanced STEM courses

Talk to the student to see how note taking can support them online. Keep in mind that deaf students split their attention between the instructor, their peers, presented materials and accommodations such as remote speech-to-text or sign language interpreters. Therefore, students have limited capacity to take notes on top of everything else. In any event, institutions can still ask classmates to share their notes with the deaf student in their online courses.

Additional Information:

If your school offers in-person classes with a limited seating capacity following safe distancing measures, don’t forget to add the interpreter and/or speech-to-text providers in the room count. Notify the instructor and the department as soon as possible to ensure the service provider (or team of providers) is included in the official room count.

If providing interpreters or speech-to-text services for in-person classes is not possible, discuss with the student about using remote services. Consider the following arrangements: 

  • The student attends the class in-person while the service providers are remote (on campus in another location or from an off-campus location).

  • The service providers are in the classroom while the student utilizes remote services from another location.

  • If the class is available online to remote participants, the student and service providers can also consider the following: 

    • The student and service providers can meet in another room on campus while streaming the class or 

    • The student and service providers can access the course from separate remote locations, while staying online only.

While remote services may appear convenient, please review the guiding questions in the Providing Remote Access Services tool. This tool covers the technical capacity needed and potential barriers to the course format that the student and service providers may experience.


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Communicate with the student using the interactive process to determine if they will be able to continue to use their personal device while taking courses online. You can also discuss with students ways they can improve access to audio content at home. For example, students could use noise canceling headphones and speakers to amplify sound.

Accommodations like speech-to-text services, sign language interpreters and note taking could also be used in conjunction with assistive technology to support access to online courses.

Reach out to the manufacturer of your devices for recommendations on how to properly sanitize the equipment as well as review guidance provided by the Center of Disease Control on Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility, which includes recommendations for electronics. Below are general strategies to properly sanitize equipment:

  • Make sure to wash your hands before and after cleaning the device.

  • Use disinfectant wipes that contain between 60-70% ethanol.

  • Take care to never submerse equipment in any liquid or permit liquid to get inside of microphones.

  • Make sure equipment is completely dry prior to using again.

We also recommend reviewing the article How to clean your hearing technology and asking members on the NDC listserv for additional disinfecting strategies for assistive listening devices.

Each system varies on its portability, maintenance, ideal settings, components/devices needed, ability to have multiple users on one system, and more. NDC’s Assistive Listening Systems 101 resource provides an overview of each system (See p. 4). This resource also has a comparison tool on the pros and cons of each system and ideal settings where they can be used. We also recommend asking members on the NDC listserv for their experiences with each kind of system and/or vendor recommendations.

  • Inform the instructor that assistive listening devices are considered reasonable accommodations to ensure effective communication in all settings. Instructors should consult with the DSS office with any concerns.

  • Communicate with the instructor the steps your school is taking to ensure that equipment is properly sanitized and maintained after each use.

  • Consider providing individual lapel microphones for each instructor to use for the entire semester.

  • Reach out to the manufacturer to see if table top microphones could be used instead of lapel microphones.

  • Ask members on the NDC listserv on how they have addressed faculty concerns.

An important consideration when purchasing an assistive listening system is ensuring it has the flexibility to meet the needs of deaf students who use different personal devices (e.g., hearing aid or cochlear implant) and is suitable in a variety of settings. Some questions for your institution to consider prior to purchasing a new system include:

  • Where will students need to use the devices? (1:1 meetings, classrooms, large venues, off-campus)

  • How many receivers will be needed? For large event venues see the ADA guidelines for the number of receivers needed.

  • Is the system flexible enough to work with students who have hearing aids/cochlear implants from a variety of manufacturers, as well as, for those who do not use personal devices and need a headphone connection?

  • What kind of feedback have you received from students in the past on your current system? (see Assistive Listening Systems 101: Student Evaluation Form)

NDC also offers a comparison tool that we recommend reviewing before purchasing a new system. You can also ask members of the NDC listserv for additional recommendations or referrals to specific vendors.

Assistive Technology

Telecommunications


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When searching for captioned media, always make sure the captions follow quality standards (e.g., not auto-captions). To find media with quality captions consider these options:

  • Check to see if a captioned version is available online through various networks (e.g. CBS, NBC, Fox) or streaming service providers (e.g. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.).

  • The Described and Captioned Media Program has a free library of over 8000 educational videos geared for K-12 audiences that are captioned. Register for a free account here.

  • Check with other local or university libraries to see if they have a copy of the video already captioned available to loan out.

  • Use alternative and comparable media on the same topic that is already captioned.

  • Contact publishers to see if they have copies of captioned media to lend or purchase.

  • Ask your colleagues on different listservs if they have copies of the media you are looking for.

If you cannot find a captioned version from outside sources, or the instructor will not substitute the media with a similar captioned version, develop protocols to get media captioned in a timely manner.

Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) houses a list of vendors that provide post-production captions for media. The list also identifies multiple languages the companies can caption. Some vendors on the list may also provide real-time speech-to-text services.

Additionally, you can subscribe to the NDC Listserv and seek additional referrals to captioned media vendors from colleagues.

Questions to ask a captioned media vendor to ensure quality, accurate captions should include:

  1. What is your accuracy rate and what quality standards do you use to measure accuracy?

  2. What is the process of creating a transcript?

  3. How do you handle difficult or technical content?

  4. What is your turnaround timeframe and are expedited services available?

  5. What video formats do you accept, and what caption formats do you provide?

Vendors may claim variable accuracy rates (some as high as 99%). Accuracy rates are important, and equally important is whether the vendor is following benchmark guidelines from these resources to measure accuracy:

Automatic captions - Also referred to as speech-recognition, automated captioning, or auto-captions, are generated by a computer with Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology. These captions tend to lack punctuation, speaker identification, and require a human to fix mistakes.

Many platforms include this feature, such as:

  • Video streaming platforms (e.g. YouTube automated captions or Microsoft PowerPoint Translator)

  • Apps (e.g., Translate or Otter.ai)

  • Learning Management Systems (e.g., Blackboard, Canvas)

  • Live video streaming services (e.g., Google Meet)

Captions - Also referred to as open/closed captions or subtitles. These are captions for pre-recorded video content that are time-synced and embedded into the media. Accurate and edited captions provide equivalent access. Captions also provide auditory information that ASR technology may not be able to identify.

Real-time captioning - Also referred to as live captioning or speech-to-text services. This service is provided by a qualified speech-to-text professional. Examples: Live captioning for news broadcasts or by a third-party vendor streamed into Blackboard for a synchronous online class.

Transcribe/Transcription - Also referred to as a transcript. This process involves converting audio into a plain text document. Transcripts are commonly used for stand-alone audio, such as podcasts or presentations without video. They are also used as the first step towards creating captions for media. Transcripts can be auto-generated using ASR or by speech-to-text professionals.

Instructors alone should not be required to caption media for coursework. Institutions as a whole are responsible for ensuring media is accessible, and the process can be labor intensive. Typically, this process is done by trained professionals/staff who are knowledgeable on captioning standards, such as including more than just spoken language, and knowing how to add captions in different video players. Consider the following strategies when addressing captioned media:

  • Establish a centralized process where media can be sent to be captioned in house or through a third-party captioning vendor. Use a combination of approaches based on turnaround and staff capacity.

  • For in-house captioning, use tools to make the process more streamlined (See “How can I create transcripts for captioning media from auto-captions?”). Ask instructors to provide a list of proper nouns and specific jargon/terminology used in the video for quality and accuracy purposes.

  • Prioritize captioning media when an accommodation request has been explicitly made (e.g., a deaf student enrolled in a course) as well as publicly-accessible materials (e.g., videos on the institution’s website and social media platforms). Captioning everything is encouraged.

  • Encourage instructors to find existing captioned media available on major streaming platforms (e.g. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.) or from the Described and Captioned Media Program’s library.

Most live conferencing and video production platforms (e.g., Zoom, YouTube, Streamer, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams) claim to have live captioning capabilities.

While auto-caption software accuracy has made some advancements in recent years, often this type of transcription may not have proper punctuation, speaker identification, or other audio descriptions to provide adequate access. Accuracy of auto-captions also relies on the speaker’s use of a high-quality microphone and enunciation of words (i.e., speaking clearly and at a normal pace without an accent). This will also be problematic when multiple individuals are speaking without the use of microphones.

In the rush in providing online accessibility, consider how the student will receive information on their end. If the student spends a considerable amount of time trying to follow inaccurate auto captions, this becomes a barrier to accessing the information being taught.

For more information:

NDC’s Why Captions Provide Equal Access

YouTube’s Automatic Captions Prove Insufficient for ADA Compliance

Are Automatic Captions WCAG, ADA or 508 Compliant?

The disability rights laws require media be captioned when it is requested as part of a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in K-12 settings or when a college student requests it as an accommodation for their classes during the interactive process. When a request has been made, schools must ensure that all aspects of the classroom are accessible. This means that media made available to the students must be captioned, whether required or used as supplemental materials for class.

However, many schools are also moving towards a proactive approach to captioning media regardless if a request has been made. Advantages to this approach are:

For additional support on understanding your school’s responsibility to provide captioned media please review our Equitable Access Guide (Sections 3 and 5). You may also contact our NDC Help Team for guidance on developing captioned media policies and procedures.

Yes you can! In October 2018, the U.S. Copyright Office established a final ruling that states educational institutions may caption media for accessibility purposes without fear of copyright infringement. This exemption only applies to educational institutions (K-12, college, or university) captioning media as an accommodation for students with disabilities under applicable laws. While you can caption media, your institution must adhere to the following protocols:

  • Reasonable efforts must be taken first to ensure that an accessible version of the video is not already available at a fair price and in a timely manner

  • Accessible media must be distributed to students in a way that prevents unauthorized further dissemination of the work

For more information about this ruling, please review Section 1201 Rulemaking (p. 89).

Auto-captioning software can aid in the development of captioned media, but it is not considered equitable access as a stand-alone option for deaf students. In fact, poor quality, non time-synced captions can cause more confusion and misunderstanding to the reader. Elements of quality captions for accessibility emphasize consistent, clear, and readable captions that are equivalent to the original material. Consider following standards for captioning from the FCC guidelines, DCMP Captioning Key, or WCAG standards.

Additional Resources:


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There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to communication, nor is there a “typical” deaf person. Each individual is unique and brings their own set of communication needs and preferences, based on the setting and the purpose of the interaction.

When first meeting a deaf person, do not make assumptions about the individual’s communication preference. NDC's Communicating with Deaf Individuals tip sheet suggests that you inquire with the deaf person about their preferred communication needs for different settings. Writing, gestures, speech, sign language, technology, and visual aids are all options to be explored.

The National Association of State Agencies of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (NASADHH) maintains a directory of state-by-state agencies serving deaf individuals. If you do not see an agency listed for your state, NASADHH recommends reaching out to your state’s vocational rehabilitation agency for additional support and referrals.

ASL classes can be found locally or online through a number of different organizations, schools, and colleges. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) has a page with information and recommendations on where to find classes: 

The Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center maintains a list of summer camps for deaf children and teens. Contact programs directly to see if they will offer a virtual camp or have cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional Resources:

Deaf Awareness Week started as a day-long event in 1958 by the World Federation of the Deaf. Whether you want to learn about deaf culture, or learn sign language , seek opportunities to engage with deaf individuals in your community. 

  • Partner with a deaf organization to host a campus and community event. Engaging directly with deaf people and the deaf community is the best way to learn!

  • Spotlight deaf history, famous deaf people, and current events. Research and share information on social media platforms, posters or a webpage.

  • Invite deaf people to share their experiences. Host a guest lecture (in-person or online) with a deaf researcher, coordinate formal/informal discussions with a deaf person (e.g., a lunch & learn) or a panel with several deaf people.

  • Host a deaf-centered movie night or series. Show documentaries and films about deaf culture. Be sure the film is accessible with open or closed captions. Include a “Q & A” session with deaf community members.


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It is important to remember that there are varying levels of combined hearing and vision loss for deafblind students. When determining appropriate accommodations for virtual meetings or classes, it is vital that the deafblind student is included in the discussion. The U.S. Department of Education has also issued guidance on ensuring continuation of services in alternative communication formats (K-12 and postsecondary).

  • If the student utilizes interpreting services, refer to, “What strategies are available for deafblind students using interpreters?” for information on remote interpreting for deafblind students.

  • If the student uses braille, it is possible to provide remote speech-to-text if the student has a refreshable braille display that plugs into their computer.

  • If the student uses screen reader software (e.g. JAWS, ZoomText, NVDA) at school, ensure the student has access to the software at home. There are some free software versions available.

  • If the student uses a hearing assistive device, be sure they are able to connect and use the audio options available.

  • If the student uses a portable magnifier or CCTV, allow the student to continue to use it at home. Some vendors will allow schools to rent equipment that can be sent directly to the student’s home.

  • Allow the student to adjust font size, text, and background colors if using text-based chats. If remote speech-to-text services are being provided, make sure the output is set to the student’s preferences.

  • Provide accessible reading materials in the student’s preferred format. For example, make sure PDFs or other attachments are accessible for screen readers. Consider sending the student plain text documents. Add alternative text or image descriptions to pictures.

  • Ensure the Learning Management System (LMS, e.g. Canvas, Blackboard, Google Classroom) are accessible to deafblind students. If not, identify which LMS discussion boards are accessible. Consider alternative approaches, such as group email with threads.

  • Consider low-tech options, such as scanning and emailing documents between the teacher and student, or read material out loud over the phone.

Additional resources:

It is important to remember that there are varying levels of combined hearing and vision loss for deafblind students. Interpreters (tactile/protactile/low vision) and Support Service Providers (SSP) are considered essential workers, but the safety of the interpreter, SSP and deafblind student should always be a priority. Some interpreters and SSPs will continue to work using protective gear if everyone feels comfortable in doing so. The DeafBlind Interpreting National Training and Resource Center (DBI) discusses this in their COVID-19 statement. Some of the tips below are also from the New York Deaf Blind Collaborative.

Technology options:

  • Allow time for trial and error with technology in advance. Find what works best for the student and the interpreter. Multiple screens or windows may be needed to view the information and interpreter at the same time. When possible, do a test run of things before to make sure the set-up works.

  • Some videophones allow the deafblind student to zoom in to see the remote interpreter. If interpreters have access to a videophone, this would be a good method in providing remote interpreting.

  • Webcams may have the option to zoom in on the user. Make sure auto-focus is turned off, otherwise the video will become blurry when the interpreter moves on camera.

  • Other low vision aids may be used (e.g., digital magnifiers, smartphone apps, and tablet cameras with zoom in capabilities) to increase visual access on the screen.

For the remote interpreter:

  • Communicate in advance how the student can contact the interpreter if issues arise.

  • Ensure the interpreter's background is dark (e.g., black or dark blue) and solid with no patterns. Interpreters should wear solid, contrasting color to their skin tone. Wear shirts that are ¾ sleeve or longer, covering up to the neck.

  • Pace the sign language production, slow down fingerspelling and keep sign placement within a smaller frame.

  • Lighting is important! The interpreter should be illuminated from the front, without glare.

  • If tactile interpreters are needed, the interpreter could work remotely with the support person available in the home.

Additional resources:


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The most effective way is to engage in the interactive process to learn about each deaf student’s unique needs. It can also be helpful to review the different types of accommodations with the student. NDC’s Deaf Medical Students includes accommodation considerations specific to healthcare training programs such as face masks, stethoscopes, and accommodations for internships. When meeting with the deaf student, it is important to consider that effective communication strategies vary depending on the setting. A trial and error approach may be needed to find the right combination of accommodations to provide equitable access. 

Additionally, the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science Education supports disability services professionals working with medical colleges/programs including a listserv and training opportunities. NDC’s listserv can also serve as a tool for seeking colleague input or suggestions.

Mentors and Role Models

Training and Employment Support

It is a common misconception that service providers (interpreters and speech-to-text professionals), as a third party, may be a violation of HIPAA. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) explains the allowance of service providers whether remote, in-person or via telecommunications relay service (TRS); including obligations to the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Additionally, protecting consumer privacy is reinforced through confidentiality clauses in service provider codes of ethics: 

Sometimes academic programs require students to have specific equipment such as stethoscopes. If the institution provides stethoscopes for all students in a medical program, the institution is responsible for ensuring the deaf student has access to an adaptive stethoscope (e.g. amplified or digital stethoscope). Institutions can purchase one and loan it to deaf students. If all students are required to purchase their own, deaf students would need to as well. Deaf students may be able to get support with purchasing assistive technology through vocational rehabilitation or a state technology assistance program.

When seeking a stethoscope that is compatible with hearing aids or cochlear implants, deaf students should consult with their audiologist. To learn more about the types of stethoscopes available for deaf individuals, see lists provided by the Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses and the Job Accommodation Network.


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Deafverse is a free, choose-your-own-adventure game for deaf students in high school or transition programs. The game encourages students to practice self-advocacy and self-determination skills to navigate access in simulated real-world settings. Educators, disability services professionals, and vocational rehabilitation counselors can use Deafverse in their instructional or resource planning.

  1. Go to the sign up page and create an account. Use a working email address. Create a new password. 

  2. Check the box to receive Deafverse news and updates. 

  3. After signing up, you will get an email asking you to activate your account. 

  4. Activate your account. A confirmation email with your account details will be sent. 

  5. Archive the confirmation email for future reference.

  6. Enjoy the game!

For students, the player strategy guide provides examples for navigating the game to help with decision-making. The strategy guide for educators includes vocabulary and supplemental materials to support the use of Deafverse in instruction. Two versions of each strategy guide are offered. Find them on the Deafverse resource page.

Deafverse offers several accessibility options, such as American Sign Language (ASL), English voiceover, and large print. The accessibility guide covers other accessibility options. More accessible features will be added to the game as development continues. To get updates on these new features, sign up for the Deafverse newsletter.


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Knowledge Base, a volunteer effort by Catharine McNally & Tina Childress, provides an extensive list of clear mask and face shield vendors. Due to high demand, please contact the vendors directly for more information.

While NDC cannot recommend a specific vendor, you can ask your question to the NDC listserv to see what other colleges and universities are using. Some also started to make their own. You should also review the information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or as outlined by your employer or school prior to buying or making any clear masks or face shields to ensure they provide enough protection.

One of the challenges of clear face masks is that they tend to fog up. The Hearing Spot and Knowledge Base provide several tips for care and use of clear masks that could help. Reach out to the NDC listserv for additional tips and recommendations.

Finding and buying clear face masks and shields can be a challenge, and people are making their own. Check with your employer or school on whether homemade masks meet their health and safety rules (also review the CDC standards on cloth face coverings).

Check out this comprehensive list of tutorials and DIY instructions for creating clear face masks. Some institutions are also using 3D printers to make face shields. Consider providing face masks or shields for service providers for use when working face to face with students.

Have an interactive dialogue with the deaf student to identify effective communication accommodations that would support them in the classroom when face masks are required. Consider a trial-and-error process to help the student identify what works best.

Accommodation options may include and not limited to:

  • Speech-to-Text Services: can be provided in-person or remotely and offers student access to the content in a text format.

  • Interpreters: can be provided in-person or remotely. In-person may require clear face masks or shields whereas reliable remote services would allow unobstructed visual access to interpreters’ faces to access the full language. Oral interpreters can also be used remotely for students who rely on lip-reading or may not know sign language.

  • Assistive Listening Systems (ALS): can be used to help alleviate issues when face masks muffle/dampen speech and the distance between speakers makes audible speech difficult to understand. ALS microphones and equipment can be disinfected for multiple users.

For additional tips and strategies see our latest article on face masks, ask colleagues on the NDC listserv, or contact the NDC Help Team.

Deaf students may experience difficulty accessing communication during interactions when masks are required. When discussing classroom accommodations with deaf students, work together to also identify tools and strategies for impromptu meetings such as at service counters, dorms, social interactions, and more. Some options to explore may include:

*Note that as a federally funded program we do not endorse or recommend specific products, agencies, vendors, or other services.

Some deaf people may experience discomfort wearing a face mask or shield with their hearing aids, glasses, or other devices. Try out some of these suggested strategies:


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  • The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) offers several search tools, such as a directory of both individual interpreters and interpreting coordination agencies. RID also has state chapters that can be contacted for local referrals as well.

  • Many states have state affiliated agencies supporting deaf people that offer information and referrals to interpreters. If your state requires interpreters to be licensed, the licensing entity may also have public search options for finding licensed interpreters.

The Department of Justice’s Effective Communication guide defines a qualified interpreter as someone who is able to “interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary.” The most critical strategy when pairing interpreters with deaf students is to plan ahead and identify interpreters that are a good fit for the student’s communication access needs.

Examples of strategies:

  • Utilize the Interactive Process Tools: Checklist and Sample Questions for Deaf Students during the initial meeting with the student. 

  • Learn about the student’s subjective experience, such as past experiences, along with communication style and preferences.

  • Ask if there are any interpreters the student has effectively worked with before. 

  • Each semester, ask about course loads and possible use of technical terminology.

  • Confirm that the interpreter has the knowledge and skills to be a good fit for the student.

Sign language interpreting is unique in that interpreters have to simultaneously process two languages (ASL and English) at the same time. Research has shown after 30 minutes of continuous work, mental fatigue increases and the quality of the interpretation decreases when an interpreter works alone. There may be situations where a team is needed for assignments under one hour. Consider the following when determining whether a team of interpreters are needed:

  • Length and/or complexity of the assignment (e.g., heavy lectures, highly specialized technical jargon and concepts, multiple speakers)

  • Unique needs and preferred communication mode of the individuals (e.g., tactile, oral, or close vision interpreting)

The interpreting team supports one another by monitoring the environment, providing any cues, and making sure transitions are made with the least disruptions. Team interpreters should be actively engaged in the process; one providing direct interpretation services and the other functioning in a supporting role. This support is necessary to enhance the team’s performance and provide accurate communication. Team interpreting also protects interpreters from common industry injuries and minimizes interpreter errors.

Pairing deaf individuals and interpreters in educational settings is a complex task which requires thoughtful consideration and depends on multiple factors.

There may be circumstances where a specific interpreter may be the most appropriate choice for effective communication, which ensures equitable opportunity for the student to benefit from programs and services. Take into account the reasonableness of the request and the student’s subjective experience. The Department of Justice’s Effective Communication guide emphasizes what a qualified interpreter means; also, there may be certification or licensing requirements to consider for your state.

Evaluate the requested interpreter’s background including any certifications, knowledge or skills in specific content areas, years of experience, and previous experience working with the deaf student. If there are reasons the requested interpreter cannot be scheduled, discuss with the deaf student before scheduling an alternative interpreter.

Institutions should have a process in place where deaf students can provide critical feedback and have their concerns addressed regarding interpreting services. In many ways, the disability services office becomes the mediator for addressing concerns between students and interpreters. The following are suggestions to include both the student and interpreter regarding access issues:

When working with the student:

  • Ensure the feedback process is confidential for the student, allowing the student a trusted space to share concerns.

  • Discuss or model ways the student can provide feedback with the interpreter to resolve concerns directly.

  • Consider possible resolutions with the student if there are concerns of insensitive or unethical behavior.

    When working with the interpreter:

  • Collect feedback from the interpreter to identify whether the interpreter may need additional support with course content or language skills.

  • Review your institution’s policies and the Code of Professional Conduct with the interpreter as needed.

  • Determine if the interpreter has the appropriate skill set to meet the student’s communication access needs, or if another interpreter would be more effective in the situation. 

Samples of interpreter evaluations (by students):

VRS and VRI may provide similar services but their purposes are very different. VRS is governed by the FCC and is to ensure telecommunication, such as phone calls, are made accessible for deaf individuals. VRI is used as an option for providing interpreting services if an in-person interpreter is not available.

VRS should also not be used in lieu of VRI interpreters in live, online classes for the following reasons:

  • Consistency cannot be maintained. Every time a deaf individual places a call through VRS they get a different interpreter from anywhere in the country.

  • ASL has regional dialects and inconsistent specialized vocabulary, especially in academic subjects.

  • VRS interpreters do not have prior knowledge or advance preparation of course content and who is involved in discussions to identify speakers.

  • The burden is on the deaf student to manage communication because VRS interpreters do not have visual access to the online classroom and only rely on phone call audio.

  • Utilizing VRS for classes may cause longer queue times, especially deaf people trying to navigate the crisis and essential activities from home. There is no guarantee a VRS interpreter would even be available at the scheduled time of class.


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  • Ask your state agency for referrals to mental health providers who have experience working with deaf people. To find your state agency, see the National Association of State Agencies of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (NASADHH) directory of state-by-state agencies serving deaf people.

  • Contact nationwide mental health service providers such as the Deaf Counseling Center, National Deaf Therapy, or the Deaf Wellness Center.

  • If you or someone you know is in a crisis that requires immediate assistance, individuals can reach out to any national hotline and use telecommunication relay services. The following is a list of crisis hotlines serving deaf individuals:

    • National Deaf Domestic Violence Hotline is a partnership between the Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS) and National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) and answers videophone calls and emails 24/7. Deaf individuals can call 855-812-1001 or email NationalDeafHotline@adwas.org. If using a voice phone, you will be connected with an interpreter for the call.

    • DeafLEAD is a non-profit agency that provides a 24/7 videophone and text-messaging crisis hotline for victims of crime. Deaf individuals can call via videophone to 321-800-3323 or text the word HAND to 839863 to be connected with a crisis counselor.

    • Crisis Text Line is a 24/7 text-messaging support line for and has a partnership with Gallaudet University and the Deaf community. Deaf individuals can text the word DEAF to 741741 and be connected with a crisis counselor.

Note: NDC does not endorse any specific agency, provider, or vendor of services and the information shared above should not be considered as such.

For more information on challenges deaf individuals face with mental health care see NDC’s Mental Health & Well-Being page.


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Each video conferencing platform is unique. Some schools may use a stand-alone video conferencing platform while some are integrated into the Learning Management System (LMS):

  • Connect with your IT department and learn more about your platform’s features for remote interpreting and real-time captions. Research your platform’s knowledge base or support website.

  • Work with the instructor to ensure providers have the appropriate permissions within the platform, and know how to support pinning, spotlighting, streaming captions, sharing screens, and other features to help maintain access to service providers. If time permits, conduct a practice run with the instructor, provider, and student to determine what works best.

  • If real-time captions cannot be synced in the platform, explore alternative options for viewing. If access to the interpreter’s video is not ideal, consider a multi-platform approach. For example, the student and interpreter can still be logged into the class platform and use a separate video platform for direct communication access.

  • Ensure that students are aware of how videos appear on their screen (gallery, side-by-side, etc.), to configure their view of the interpreter and others. Students may need more than one device (e.g. a laptop and tablet) to access an online course and accommodation services simultaneously.

Watch in ASL

Before classes begin:

  • Make sure service providers have access to the Learning Management System (LMS, such as Canvas or Blackboard), or are able to receive emails from the instructor.

  • Do a practice run using the platforms and find out what works best (for example, experiment with viewing the interpreter in a split screen or through dual monitors or practice pinning the interpreter). Make sure you, your service providers and the disability services office have a back-up plan in case technology fails.

During class:

  • Communicate with your service providers. Let them know if something is not working, if your video/captioning stream is choppy, or it is hard to see the interpreter.

  • If using interpreters, work out a strategy for them to let you know when they will switch, allowing you time to locate the team interpreter’s video.

Troubleshooting tips

  • Communicate with your service providers while online. Consider using a live chat or messaging platform to stay in touch during the class.

  • Learn how to troubleshoot with the platforms or systems being used to connect with your service provider(s). Discuss your preferences, such as lightning and background color before classes begin.

If your school is planning a virtual graduation ceremony, be sure to plan for communication access for all deaf participants (graduates, alumni, families and other viewers). Access considerations for deaf participants should include:

It is also important for schools to advertise in advance that the ceremony will be broadcasted with interpreting and/or real-time captions. Advertise contact information where additional requests can be made.

As schools move orientations and campus tours online, several considerations should be made to ensure deaf students have an equitable experience and opportunities in all related sessions and activities. Incorporating these strategies in the planning stages will save time, money, and promote inclusion for all students!

  • Plan ahead. NDC’s Deaf Student Orientation Guide offers guidance and tips with planning access for a variety of settings. Identify who will be involved in implementing orientation and campus tour.

  • Post instructions for students to request accommodations. Provide a direct link to your school’s Accommodations Request Form or designate a point-of-contact person to receive all requests for accommodations. Discuss the format of each session with the student to identify which accommodations will work best. Working with a deaf student for the first time? NDC’s Interactive Process Tools can help!

  • Work out the logistics. Find out which LMS and/or video platforms will be used. Work with staff to obtain access and links for all sessions/activities and follow-up when accommodations have been arranged. Share these tools with all staff involved with providing orientation and campus tour activities (e.g., Campus Tour Guides, Orientation Leaders, Academic Advisors, Speakers).

  • Coordinate accommodations requested for all live sessions. It is important to be flexible, there is a chance the student may request interpreters for some sessions, speech-to-text services for others, or dual accommodations. Be sure to provide session links with access to assigned service providers!

  • Make sure to caption ALL pre-recorded videos. Only time-synced, verbatim captions provide full and equitable access to video content. Replacing captions with other accommodations, such as interpreting, real-time captioning, or a transcript, will not provide complete access.

Staff, hourly and contracted service providers (interpreting and speech-to-text) should continue to provide services remotely. This ensures consistency with services for the student. Work with service providers to ensure they have:

  • Access to high-speed internet.

  • A private space to work from (e.g., some schools are allowing service providers to use offices on campus as long as they observe self-quarantine protocols).

  • Appropriate equipment, such as headphones with a microphone and a computer with webcam and any necessary software.

  • Access to LMS or live video platforms.

  • The student and instructor’s contact information in case of technical troubleshooting.

Staff and hourly providers can also assist with:

  • Captioning media for online courses (or prepare a transcript).

  • Provide interpreting for pre-recorded lectures.

  • Be available remotely for online tutoring, meetings or online school activities unrelated to the classroom.

Additional information:

For group tutoring sessions, check with the deaf student to see what accommodations would be most effective in this type of setting. If they request speech-to-text or interpreting services, coordinate these services the same way you would for any online appointment.

  • Remind students they should continue to follow the same procedures to request accommodations.

  • Discuss what options are available for the student, tutor and service provider to get connected on the platform being used.

  • Have a back-up plan or a second option to connect virtually (e.g., logging onto a different platform).

  • For one-on-one tutoring situations, consider using interactive approaches (e.g., Google Docs) to support visual support with chat features in one screen to discuss back and forth.

For more information:
Remote Access Services
Tutoring Deaf Students


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  • Association of Transcribers and Speech-to-text Providers (ATSP) offers a directory of individuals and agencies.

  • National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) has a directory of certified members.

  • Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) houses a list of vendors, mainly for captioned media service providers, but some companies offer real-time speech-to-text services as an additional service.

  • Many states have state affiliated agencies supporting deaf and hard of hearing people that offer information and referrals to speech-to-text providers.

  • Subscribe to the NDC Listserv and seek additional service provider referrals from colleagues.

Automatic captions - Also referred to as speech-recognition, automated captioning, or auto-captions, are generated by a computer with Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology. These captions tend to lack punctuation, speaker identification, and require a human to fix mistakes.

Many platforms include this feature, such as:

  • Video streaming platforms (e.g. YouTube automated captions or Microsoft PowerPoint Translator)

  • Apps (e.g., Translate or Otter.ai)

  • Learning Management Systems (e.g., Blackboard, Canvas)

  • Live video streaming services (e.g., Google Meet)

Captions - Also referred to as open/closed captions or subtitles. These are captions for pre-recorded video content that are time-synced and embedded into the media. Accurate and edited captions provide equivalent access. Captions also provide auditory information that ASR technology may not be able to identify.

Real-time captioning - Also referred to as live captioning or speech-to-text services. This service is provided by a qualified speech-to-text professional. Examples: Live captioning for news broadcasts or by a third-party vendor streamed into Blackboard for a synchronous online class.

Transcribe/Transcription - Also referred to as a transcript. This process involves converting audio into a plain text document. Transcripts are commonly used for stand-alone audio, such as podcasts or presentations without video. They are also used as the first step towards creating captions for media. Transcripts can be auto-generated using ASR or by speech-to-text professionals.

Substituting one accommodation for another when not requested by the deaf student can cause barriers to access. It is important to engage the deaf student in an interactive process to gain a better understanding of their communication access needs in a variety of settings. Depending on whether your institution is public (Title II) or private (Title III), who determines accommodations varies, but ultimately the accommodation must provide effective communication. The goal of effective communication is to ensure the deaf student is able to communicate, receptively and expressively, with others. If a deaf student primarily uses sign language to communicate and requests interpreting services, a qualified interpreter should be provided.


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Watch in ASL

  • Join an online deaf support group. There are several on Facebook!

  • Start a group with friends and/or classmates to motivate and support each other with being accountable to finish the semester strong.

  • Manage your time well. Make sure your schedule has time for YOU, such as meditation, yoga, reading books, and exercise.

  • Use a Fitbit or similar device to remind you to get up and move.

  • Use blue light blocking glasses to help decrease eye strain. Be sure to schedule time away from electronics to decompress.

  • Set small, attainable goals and celebrate when you complete each one.

  • Make sure you get the sleep and nutrition you need.

Watch in ASL

  • Build a support network!

    • Talk to your instructors about what accommodations you need in the classroom. Request a meeting with the DS office with your instructor present. (Note, you do not need to disclose your disability to your instructor.)

    • Connect with other students who have advocated for what they need. Ask them what worked.

  • Be specific when discussing why you need the accommodations you are requesting.

    • Be prepared to explain the barriers you are encountering and how the requested accommodations will remove those barriers.

  • Learn and use resources about laws that schools and DS offices must follow for providing accommodations for deaf students.

  • Become familiar with your school’s grievance (sometimes called appeal or student complaint) process.

    • This may be available in the DS Student Handbook on their website or given to you during your initial meeting. Ask for a copy from the DS office if you cannot locate one online.

  • Save all emails and document all contacts made with the DS office, including dates and type of requests in the order they happened. Write down important notes about each situation.

    • Keeping a copy of this information will be helpful if you need to file a grievance or submit a complaint.

Watch in ASL

  • During your online class turn off the other devices in your home that are connected to the internet.

  • Connect your computer to the modem using a direct connection cord (such as a LAN or ethernet cord). Make sure the devices you are using are fully charged.

  • Restart your computer or tablet before class. Close any programs running in the background that rely on the internet.

  • Before class, contact your instructor to remind students to turn off their video and audio.

  • Ask the instructor to record each live online class if there are technical issues. If there were technical issues on your end, ask the DS office to provide a transcript, a captioned copy of the recording, or have an interpreter record/translate the recorded lecture to make up information you may have missed.

Watch in ASL

  • Time management: Set up a visual of your schedule and stick to it! Review your course syllabi and list important due dates. Add scheduled meetings and other student support services (e.g. tutoring). Identify dates ahead of time to submit accommodation requests (remote interpreting or speech-to-text services) to the disability services office in a timely manner.

  • Get a notetaker: Request a notetaker to take notes for pre-recorded or live online courses, or for any audio information being presented (e.g. a podcast). A notetaker can reduce the time spent searching for information in several places, allowing you to focus on one screen or item.

  • Stay in touch with your instructor: Take advantage of the instructor’s office hours to meet with your instructor. Use the time to ask questions or clarification about the material or assignments. Remember, you can ask the disability services office for accommodations for these meetings.

  • Break down assignments: Be sure to take breaks so you don’t get fatigued by reading and watching the screen all day. Schedule time before and after online classes to review material and take a break before moving to the next class or assignment.

Watch in ASL

  • Connect with your instructors before classes begin. Ask questions such as:

    • What learning management system (LMS, such as Blackboard or Canvas) will the instructor use? Let the instructor know the service providers will need to have access to the course and materials.

    • Is the class asynchronous (at your own pace with due dates) or synchronous (meets weekly at a certain/time date, often with live video)? This information can help with submitting your request for accommodations to the disability services office.

    • Will the instructor show any videos or other media? Make sure the instructor is aware of your school’s captioned media procedure and if any audio content (e.g podcasts) needs to be captioned. Ask your instructor to require accurate captions for student submitted videos.

  • Keep in touch with your disability services office. Share experiences such as:

    • Importance of consistent service providers for classes, especially if hiring remote providers.

    • What accommodations worked best in certain formats or classes. For example, request an interpreted version of a pre-recorded lecture rather than relying on captioning if there is also a powerpoint going at the same time.

    • Discuss a back-up plan with the disability office in case technology fails to ensure you have access to the material.

Watch in ASL

Before classes begin:

  • Make sure service providers have access to the Learning Management System (LMS, such as Canvas or Blackboard), or are able to receive emails from the instructor.

  • Do a practice run using the platforms and find out what works best (for example, experiment with viewing the interpreter in a split screen or through dual monitors or practice pinning the interpreter). Make sure you, your service providers and the disability services office have a back-up plan in case technology fails.

During class:

  • Communicate with your service providers. Let them know if something is not working, if your video/captioning stream is choppy, or it is hard to see the interpreter.

  • If using interpreters, work out a strategy for them to let you know when they will switch, allowing you time to locate the team interpreter’s video.

Troubleshooting tips

  • Communicate with your service providers while online. Consider using a live chat or messaging platform to stay in touch during the class.

  • Learn how to troubleshoot with the platforms or systems being used to connect with your service provider(s). Discuss your preferences, such as lightning and background color before classes begin.

Watch in ASL

No. If your school says your are responsible for to pay for your accommodations, you can respond by stating:

“Under federal laws, I am not required to pay for my approved accommodations. It is the responsibility of the school to provide and pay for accommodations (interpreters, speech-to-text services, captioned media, notetaker, etc.)”

You can read more about this in the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Auxiliary Aids and Services for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities document and in our Expert Lecture: ADA Series videos. If you need to modify your accommodations plan, these should not be seen as an additional expense. Read “What resources will help me advocate for my needs with the disability services (DS) office?” for more advocacy tips.

Check with your audiologist to see if the following options below are available to allow your personal hearing assistive device to stream audio from a computer, tablet or other device. Ask your school to continue to use the FM/DM system while accessing online content at home.

  • Direct Audio Input

    • Some personal hearing devices can connect directly using a hardwired cable to a computer or other electronic device. (Note: Cochlear implant users should NEVER use the direct audio input cable to connect to a computer or any electronic device that is plugged into the wall. There is always the risk of electric shock and stray electric currents during a surge that could make its way into the internal cochlear implant device!)

  • Telecoil

    • Ensure the telecoil is turned on/active to stream audio from the connected device. If you find that the telecoil audio is softer than with the microphone activated, you may need to have your audiologist/hearing aid dispenser properly re-program the telecoil output.

  • Streamer

    • Check the instruction manual (or with your manufacturer) on how to connect your computer or tablet with a streamer to access the sound directly to your device.

  • Connecting personal FM/DM systems

    • Place the FM/DM system microphone next to the computer/tablet speaker or connect a direct audio input cable from FM/DM microphone transmitter.

For more information, please see the Tipsheet.


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Deaf students are a highly diverse population with a broad range of language and cultural backgrounds. They do not have full access to language with instruction in English-based classrooms, even with accommodations. These issues create obstacles to fair and equitable testing; accommodations may help reduce barriers encountered in test accessibility. To learn more about deaf students and testing,  NDC Learn offers two free Testing Equity self-paced online courses.

The Department of Justice’s resource Testing Accommodations states the following:

  • Tests should be fair and equitable for deaf individuals.

  • Private and public entities are required to ensure tests are accessible.

  • Auxiliary aids and services, known as accommodations, allow deaf individuals the opportunity to demonstrate their true abilities.

It is important to consider the following in determining appropriate test accommodations:

  • The learning and communication background of the deaf student

  • What the test is trying to measure, such as its purpose, the goal and design

  • Test security and how accommodations support the integrity of the test

Utilizing the interactive process, the team of the student, instructor and disability services professional should work to match accommodations that allow the student to show their true ability and knowledge without impacting what the test wants to measure. 

Yes, the use of sign language interpreters for exams may be a reasonable accommodation, allowing the student to demonstrate content knowledge while reducing barriers to the test. To determine if the use of a sign language interpreter is appropriate, review the accommodation request with the instructor and student on a test-by-test basis.

Deaf students have unique linguistic and educational experiences, which can result in an inaccurate measurement of the student’s knowledge and abilities during exams. Test Accessibility: What Professionals Need to Know mentions several factors contribute to the barriers for deaf test-takers, including:

  • Limited access to English language for deaf students means tests may have terms they are unfamiliar with.

  • Language style and test structure is usually different than everyday English, and will be in a different language for ASL users.

Online courses pose unique challenges for deaf students as the content is heavily text-based. Accommodations, such as extended test time, allows deaf students to access English-based text.

Consult with the student and disability services professional to determine how extended time can be applied to tests and other online course content. Additional testing accommodations are also discussed in Why Test Accommodations Are Important for Deaf Students.


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If you are interested in learning more about VR services or would like to apply, contact your state VR agency to find an office near you. Many VR offices remain open during COVID-19. Your local office will share how they are meeting with applicants, following individual state guidelines. For remote meetings, consider these strategies:

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs can help identify a suitable career path, and provide funding and services to reach a career goal. VR services are determined based on the person’s needs and goals, but can include the following:

  • Assessments to evaluate career interests and readiness for eligibility and services.

  • Assistive Technologies to support communication (e.g., hearing aids, flashing/vibrating alarm clocks, captioned telephones, personal amplifiers, screen braille communicators and more).

  • Accommodations to participate in training or work (e.g., interpreting and speech-to-text services).

  • Training for future vocational or educational goals (e.g. resources for on-the-job training, funds for tuition, books, supplies and tutoring).

  • Transportation to training or work (e.g. monthly public transportation or mileage).

  • Equipment and clothing to participate in training or employment.

  • Other Services to support an individual to obtain, maintain and retain employment.

Many VR offices remain open and continue to work with individuals remotely. Not yet a client with VR? Contact your local VR office to apply. NDC has created the following outline and checklist, Plan Your Future: A Guide to Vocational Rehabilitation for Deaf Youth that you may use to prepare for your VR appointment to help you secure services.

Yes! VR provides Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) to deaf youth still attending school. Pre-ETS covers five areas for youth to become ready for training, education and employment after high school:

  1. Job Exploration: discover how interests, passions and abilities match with certain careers.

  2. Work-Based Learning: work in real-life employment settings to practice, learn and apply skills.

  3. Postsecondary Counseling: plan ahead and work towards a career goal through vocational training, college or other training programs.

  4. Work Readiness Training: acquire different skills in communicating, working with others, problem-solving and practicing professionalism.

  5. Instruction in Self-Advocacy: learn what and how to ask for accommodations at college, training programs or work.

Work with your Individualized Education Plan team to ensure that Pre-ETS and VR are included in your plan or directly apply to your local VR office! VR can include families, teachers and the IEP team to make sure everyone is on the same page to prepare for life after high school. Families should participate in meetings with VR to provide additional support, information and guidance. If the deaf student is below 18, a guardian is required to sign off on paperwork.

  • Play Deafverse, a choose-your-own-adventure game, to foster self-determination and develop self-advocacy skills.

  • Take the Self-Determination Inventory and work on areas to improve self-determination based on an individualized report.

  • Take online transition assessments to connect interests to careers and learn about different skills needed for life after high school.

  • Watch #DeafSuccess community stories of deaf professionals to learn about the skills and self-beliefs necessary to reach career goals.

  • Learn how to build a resume.

  • Practice interview skills by doing mock interviews with family members or through online platforms with teachers, classmates, and/or friends.

  • Learn and practice independent living skills at home.

  • Meet remotely with the school’s IEP team for more ideas and strategies to develop transition skills.

  • Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings, meetings with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) staff, and other Pre-ETS meetings can happen over the phone or in person if following required health protocols. Consider telecommunication relay services for phone calls as needed for deaf participants.

  • Download and share online transition resources in alternative formats (e.g. paper or flash drives) to share with students and families.

  • Discuss what students have learned through mail-in surveys and/or calls.

  • Partner with local access television to broadcast Pre-ETS lessons.

  • Identify programs to support deaf students’ access to technology

  • Provide a paper copy of the Deafverse Choose Your Future! Activity Kit to better understand the student’s communication needs, personalities traits and skills and develop self-determination.

  • Join our listserv to gather ideas from other professionals working with deaf students with limited access to internet and technology.

  • Provide online resources including training and suggested curriculums to teachers, transition specialists and Pre-ETS providers.

  • Adapt in-person camps, programs, fairs and similar events to take place online through a video conferencing platform or self-paced modules.

  • Incorporate regular online social hours to provide students opportunities to connect and socialize.

  • Put together an online panel of deaf professional role-models to share their experiences and answer questions.

  • Consider a hybrid approach by providing online work readiness training followed by in-person paid work experiences in the community incorporating safety measures such as social distancing, hand washing and face masks.

For additional resources and ideas, see NDC's Pre-ETS page, online courses, and list of transition checklists/tools.