Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program

Who does this program serve?

  • Federal Way Public Schools’ Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) provides comprehensive and appropriate services for children in preschool through Grade 12 (or age 21) who are deaf & hard of hearing. This is done in the least restrictive environment possible.

    What services does the program provide?
    Diagnostic assessments are given to children suspected of a hearing loss. When the nature and severity of the impairment is determined, an appropriate educational setting will be recommended to the student’s parents. Some students' needs are met in a general education classroom with supplemental aids and services and/or with a sign language interpreter.

    Other students thrive in a self-contained D/HH program. Students are provided an appropriate acoustical environment with FM amplification systems. Wall pilots are used at Sherwood Forest Elementary in the D/HH classrooms to synchronize personal FMs as students move from class to class. Students may be in any combination of mainstream and/or self-contained programming, based on each student’s needs and abilities.

Does the District provide transportation to the D/HH program?

  • Yes, transportation needs are individually determined by the Individualized Education Programs (IEP) Team.

Where are Federal Way’s D/HH programs located?

  • Elementary Program:

    Sherwood Forest Elementary
    34600 12 Ave SW
    Federal Way, WA 98023


    Middle School Program:

    Illahee Middle School
    36001 1st Ave S
    Federal Way, WA 98003


    High School Program:

    Todd Beamer High School
    35999 16th Ave S
    Federal Way, WA 98003


How is instruction provided to students with hearing loss?

  • Depending upon the needs of the individual and the Individualized Education Program (IEP), instruction is presented orally and/or by sign language. If students are mainstreamed into a general education classroom and need a sign language interpreter, one is provided. At Sherwood Forest Elementary, Signing Exact English is used. This is a system of manual communication that strives to be an exact representation of English vocabulary and grammar.

What subjects and skills are taught?

  • The Deaf and Hard of Hearing academic curriculum is aligned with the Common Core State Standards; the same expectations that hearing students must meet. Core academic skills addressed include reading, language, math, social studies, and science. Life skills include work habits, social skills, and problem solving skills. Students participate in the Washington State and District assessments as individually determined by IEP teams. At the high school level, students are prepared for post-secondary outcomes through instruction in academics, independent living, and supported job experience opportunities. Supplementary materials and equipment, especially designed for the deaf and hard of hearing are used.

In what extracurricular activities can students who are D/HH participate?

  • Students can take part in athletics, school clubs and organizations, chorus, band, drama, and other activities that are available in the school setting. If students need support services to participate in extracurricular activities, the IEP teams decides on how those will be administered.

What professionals work with students in the D/HH program?

  • All services are determined by each individual education plan.

    Teachers of the Deaf (TOD) have been trained to meet the unique needs of deaf or hard-of-hearing students. They provide direct instructional services to students and provide staff support when the student is in the general education classroom. They plan, manage, and teach and are responsible for writing and overseeing the students’ Individualized Education Program (IEP). The TOD serves as a resource for other teachers in the building and/or district.

    The Educational Audiologist provides a variety of services including audiological assessments, aural rehabilitation services, troubleshooting cochlear implants, testing and making minor repairs on hearing aids, recommending, ordering, and programming FM systems; assessing classroom acoustics, and educating staff on the needs of students with a hearing loss. The audiologist also provides counseling to students and their families regarding hearing loss.

    The School Nurse assists with regular health concerns, medications, screenings, etc., for all students. They work with school staff, parents and community professionals and/or agencies serving the student. The nurses provide input on the students’ annual IEPs and three-year reassessments.

    The Sign Language Interpreter is responsible for facilitating communication between students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and the hearing teacher and other students. Interpreters may tutor students under the direction of classroom instructors and assist students in understanding course material.

    Occupational Therapist (OT) or Physical Therapist (PT) services include assessment, consultation and therapy for the students. Therapy programs focus on motor skills and functional adaptations to maximize the student’s independence.

    The Program Manager is responsible for the overall administration of the program, and works closely with building principals regarding staff activities, student placement, and hiring personnel.

    Speech and Language Therapist (SLP) services include speech/language assessment, consulting with teachers and parents, and instruction to students for speech/ language development. Direct instruction may include individual, small group and/or large group activities. SLP’s work closely with classroom teachers to develop and coordinate activities for students at all levels.