The Roanoke Valley Regional Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing serves students from Roanoke City, Salem, Botetourt County, Craig County, Franklin County, and by special permission. Currently, there are 27 students in the program, ranging from two to 19 years of age.
Composite of Students
Our students have hearing losses which range from moderate to profound, such that their language development has been significantly impacted. The cognitive abilities of our students range from low average to gifted. Our students come from a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds and some have secondary disabilities such as learning disabilities, etc.
Programs and Services Available
Students are grouped according to age and academic ability into one of the five existing educational placements. The preschool, primary, and intermediate classes are housed at Virginia Heights Elementary School. The middle school placement is maintained at Woodrow Wilson Middle School and Patrick Henry High School houses the high school placement.
Students may receive a range of services according to their needs. For example, a student could be fully mainstreamed with communication facilitation from a sign language interpreter. Many students are mainstreamed with interpreting services for some subjects and taught by a Teacher of the Deaf in a self-contained classroom for other subjects. Some students are only mainstreamed for elective classes such as physical education, art, library, and computer lab. It is common for lower elementary students to have all academic subjects with the Teacher of the Deaf due to the language delays which are secondary to the hearing loss. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) team for each student determines the extent and type of services he or she receives.
Students may receive speech-language therapy and may receive occupational and / or physical therapy if needed. Audiological services are also available on a consultative basis.
Each educational placement is staffed with a fully endorsed Teacher of the Deaf who is fluent in sign language. Our speech language pathologist is also fluent in sign language and utilizes various therapy techniques and practices dependent on the mode of communication each child uses.
Qualified Sign Language Interpreters are housed at each site to facilitate communication. All interpreters are credentialed through the Virginia Quality Assurance Screening (VQAS), Educational Interpreting Performance Assessment (EIPA), and / or the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) certification. Educational interpreters are required by the Department of Education to obtain a VQAS level III by the anniversary of their third year of employment.
Our program utilizes two different communication approaches: Total Communication and Auditory-Oral.
Our Total Communication philosophy encourages students to develop both manual and oral communication skills to maximum potential, and to enhance their development of the English language. Conceptually, Accurate Signed English (CASE) is used predominately. However, we strive to expose our students to appropriate usage of American Sign Language (ASL) as well.
Our Auditory - Oral Language philosophy includes an intensive auditory listening and learning instructional environment for students whose primary mode of communication is an auditory - oral approach. Many of these students have Cochlear Implants who rely solely on audition to access the educational curriculum.
Each teacher employs a multi-modal instructional approach. The teachers strive to keep the students on or above grade level by adhering to the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs). Adaptations are made as necessary depending on each student’s needs. At the preschool and elementary levels our program has a strong language based emphasis due to the language delays subsequent to the hearing loss. This instruction tends to differ from that of the regular curriculum in the earlier years of instruction. We have found that creating this strong language base in the early grades facilitates successful inclusion in the middle and high school grades. Students who use a sign language interpreter at the elementary level are learning the skills necessary to effectively use an interpreter. They are gradually included into the regular education classrooms as educationally appropriate. The amount of mainstreaming varies for each student, as determined by his / her IEP team.