Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services

Welcome to the Baltimore County Public Schools website designed for students who are deaf and hard of hearing (DHH), their families, and friends in the community. This website provides information regarding services, resources and events within Baltimore County Public Schools and the community, through the DHH downlinks.

The DHH faculty and staff in Baltimore County Public Schools are committed to the education, communication and social development of students who are deaf and hard of hearing. In addition to direct services for the students, the DHH professionals are available to provide additional information, assistance and collaboration to school-based faculty/staff and families in order to promote success for students.

Itinerant Services

Itinerant services are provided for students with hearing losses in neighborhood schools, special education schools and magnet schools throughout Baltimore County Public Schools based on recommendations at the IEP team. Itinerant teachers, who are certified in deaf education, provide support to students by:
  • Delivering direct instruction
  • Promoting the development of the student’s self-advocacy skills
  • Arranging accommodations and modifications in the classroom
  • Providing effective instructional strategies and techniques for faculty/staff
  • Administering educational assessments
Itinerant teachers are liaisons between the parent, school and community. Support for faculty/staff, families and students includes information related to: hearing loss, communication options, assistive devices, current technology, literature, upcoming conferences and community events.

Itinerant teachers for students who are deaf and hard of hearing provide assistance to school faculty/staff through:
  • Staff development and in-service activities
  • Conferences with school staff
  • Co-teaching
  • Participation in IEP teams

Audiology Services

Audiology services in Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) are provided to students until high school graduation. Audiology services include free diagnostic screenings/ evaluations, parental support, and classroom assistance by certified BCPS audiologists. 

Diagnostic Audiology services include:
  • audiometric screenings
  • audiometric evaluations for pure tone and bone conduction
  • middle ear measures
  • auditory processing screening
Educational Audiology services include:
  • participating in IEP teams
  • providing input for classroom accommodations and modifications
  • assisting in the implementation of IEP as it relates to hearing status and assistive listening devices
  • providing staff development to school personnel related to the needs of students with hearing loss
  • offering information to students and parents about hearing loss and information related to community resources
  • managing auditory listening devices in the classroom for students with hearing loss
Referral for diagnostic audiology services through BCPS is made through the Child Find process, school nurse, IEP team request, or 504 Plan team request. Educational audiology support services for students with hearing losses are made through the recommendation of the IEP teams, 504 Planning teams, or the IFSP teams. 

Interpreting/ Transliterating Services

Educational interpreters/transliterators (e.g., sign language interpreters, cued speech
transliterators, voice- to- print transcribers) facilitate communication by relaying auditory
information between the student who is deaf or hard of hearing, faculty/staff and hearing peers.

Interpreting/transliterating services are provided to Baltimore County Public School students
who are deaf or hard of hearing through the team recommendations at IEP meetings.
Interpreting/transliterating services for students include the instructional day, as well as school
sponsored activities after school (e.g., school sponsored sports, school clubs, school
performances, school related ceremonies, etc.).

In addition, interpreting services are provided to parents who are deaf and hard of hearing for
educational activities. For further information related to interpreting services for parents please
click on Interpreting/transliterating Services for Parents.

The educational interpreter/transliterator’s role is:
  • To ensure that spoken information presented in the classroom by the teacher or other students is accurately conveyed using the student’s preferred mode of communication (American Sign Language—ASL, Manually Coded English, Cued Speech, etc.)
  • To ensure that the signed/cued information of the student is understood by others through voice interpreting
  • To provide students the opportunity to be involved in classroom and school activities
  • To act as a liaison for classroom accommodations
  • To be an active member of the school team related to issues regarding interpreting services, the student’s communication style and skills, and the student’s access of interpreting services.

Total Communication

Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) makes every effort to place students with disabilities within the inclusive setting of their community schools in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004. Related services (e.g., interpreting, audiology, itinerant, etc.) and academic support are provided as recommended by the IEP. For some students, the impact of their hearing loss has a severe effect on communication development and academic levels.

Cluster classes are provided for students in centralized locations for students whose IEP cannot be met within their community schools, even with support services of an itinerant teacher, audiologist, school-based resource personnel and accommodations/modifications. Within the cluster classes, teachers certified in deaf education provide instruction through an adapted curriculum with the focus on language development, an area most impacted by hearing loss.

Students in the cluster classes receive instruction through communication methods of total communication or spoken communication. Teachers incorporate instructional methods and strategies based on research, the students’ individual learning styles, and effective practices in deaf education. Students in the cluster classes are included with their hearing peers when appropriate, with support services and accommodations/ modifications as needed.

Total Communication classes present instruction through simultaneous communication of oral speech/language and sign communication. In addition, visual aids, speechreading skills, use of student’s residual hearing, development of auditory skills, and use of technology are provided through a total communication approach.

Oral/Spoken Language classes incorporate oral speech and language, visual aids, speechreading skills, use of residual hearing, development of auditory skills, and use of technology within the instructional setting.

Cluster classes are located at Villa Cresta Elementary School, Pine Grove Middle School, and Parkville High School.

Additional support services of audiologists, speech pathologists, social worker and psychologists who fluent in sign communication and experienced with working students who are deaf, hard of hearing and cochlear implanted, are available countywide.