Overview of Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services

Since 1974, the Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has served students enrolled in the Boise School District. The program is staffed by highly qualified teachers of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing, speech language pathologists, educational interpreters, instructional aide(s), and an educational audiologist. Services are available for students with educationally significant hearing loss Pre-K through 12th grade. Placement in the DHH programs is determined by the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team.

The Program of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing utilizes a Total Communication (TC) philosophy in educating students with hearing loss that incorporates all means of communication: listening, speaking, speech-reading, formal signs, natural gestures, finger-spelling, and natural body language. Students are supported in using their personal auditory technology (hearing aids and/or implantable auditory devices). Our goal is to optimize language development in whatever way is most effective for the individual student. Total Communication is truly a philosophy rather than a methodology. As a result, the implementation of the TC philosophy with one student may look entirely different than its implementation with another student. (Permission granted from Hands & Voices)

Our program goal is to equip each student with the communication, academic, and social skills necessary for a lifetime of success. Collaboration among parents, students, school personnel, and outside agencies remains an essential component of our program. We strive to:

  • Provide a continuum of services from preschool through high school.
  • Encourage independence and prepare students to participate with their peers.
  • Set high expectations to promote educational success based on Common Core and Idaho State Standards.
  • Assess the strengths and needs of students and address them on an individual basis.
  • Provide specially designed instruction through which students identify necessary accommodations and learn self-advocacy skills.
  • Emphasize intensive receptive and expressive language development to support students' academic learning.
  • Integrate instruction for vocabulary, reading, and writing into all aspects of the curriculum.
  • Provide individual and/or small group instruction at each grade level as determined by the IEP team.
  • Consider a wide range of communication options based on needs as determined by the IEP team.

Instructional Tools

Even with hearing technology, some students will continue to experience challenges hearing all sounds of spoken English. Visual phonics serves as a tool to represent the sounds of English (Please note some letters make more than one sound). By supporting the student with hand cues, we are able to support reading and speech development as well as help differentiate between two similar sounding words.