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Exceptional & Special Needs : Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH)

Exceptional & Special Needs

Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH)

The Calgary Board of Education provides a continuum of services for students who are Deaf of Hard of Hearing (DHH). Since every student has unique needs, we work with students, parents, and multidisciplinary teams to personalize learning for each student. In addition to the programs and services described below, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and psychologists can be accessed through a school referral.

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program supports students who are DHH in their community schools, or in congregated settings through a Bilingual (American Sign Language and English) Approach, Aural/Oral Approach, or sign supported speech.

Eligibility and Identification

  • Students who have a hearing loss of 71 dB or more in the better ear in the speech frequencies which interferes with the use of oral language as the primary form of communication (coded 45)
  • Students who have a cochlear implant preceded by a 71 dB average hearing loss in the speech frequencies in the better ear (coded 45)
  • Students who have an average hearing loss of 26 to 70 dB in the better ear in the speech frequencies (coded 55)
  • The hearing disability affects speech and language development, and interferes with the ability to learn.

Eligibility decisions must be supported by an audiogram within the past three years for new approvals. If a student has a severe to profound hearing loss that has not changed significantly since the initial approval, documentation from an audiologist outlining the degree of the hearing loss and modifications to the learning environment may be sufficient to support eligibility.

Specialized Classes for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Each DHH classroom is directly supported by a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing, or special education teacher, and has access to an education assistant or educational interpreter, as needed. Typical class size ranges from 8 to 10 students. The ratio of students to staff varies depending on grade level and complexity of student needs. Integration opportunities in other classrooms, curriculum modifications, instructional accommodations, and learning technologies are personalized based on the needs of each student. Outside agency service providers may also be utilized where necessary and appropriate. The programs are supported by a multidisciplinary team that includes: a CBE Educational Audiologist, Alberta Health Services Speech Language Pathologists, a DHH Specialist, and Support Services for Inclusive Learning (SSIL).

Locations and Program Descriptions

Stanley Jones, Aural/Oral Approach, Grades 1 to 6

Programming at Stanley Jones emphasizes the use of speech, residual hearing, visual English in the form of sign supported speech, speechreading and the use of written English. The primary program goal is developing skills in listening and spoken language, reading and writing, and self-advocacy. Language is taught directly and intentionally throughout all subject areas, using a variety of techniques, including assistive technology. Students in this program have hearing aids or cochlear implants and/or use personal FM sound systems. Students have access to the mandated Alberta Education curriculum that is personalized to their learning needs and have the opportunity for integration into other classrooms where appropriate. This program is recommended for families who have expressed a preference for their children to learn through aural methods of input (listening to English) and oral expression (speaking).

Queen Elizabeth Elementary School, Bi-lingual Approach – ASL and English, Grades 1 to 6

Programming at Queen Elizabeth emphasizes the use of American Sign Language (ASL) for language learning. The primary program goal is to optimize students’ communication abilities in ASL in conjunction with literacy and numeracy skills. These students benefit from direct support in developing expressive/receptive language skills, including English language instruction through reading and writing. Personal FM systems are available for those students who have hearing aids or cochlear implants. Depending on the personalized learning needs of individual students, strategies for developing spoken English and listening skills are both determined and directed by an Alberta Health Services’ Speech Language Pathologist. Students are exposed to Deaf culture and participate with their hearing peers in select educational opportunities and social activities within the school. This program is recommended for families whose children require ASL to communicate or have expressed a preference for their children to learn through direct instruction in ASL.


Note: All students of the DHH Program in Grades 1-6 will move to Jennie Elliott School at the start of the 2018-2019 school year. Visit the School Planning Engagements – DHH Program Site (Grades 1-6) webpage for more information.

Queen Elizabeth Junior/Senior High School, Grades 7 to 12

Communication and instruction is through American Sign Language, spoken/written English, or sign supported speech based on student needs. The primary program goal is to optimize students’ academic achievement, communication abilities, and personal development. Students in this program may have hearing aids and/or cochlear implants and have the option to use personal FM systems. A combination of congregated DHH, co-enrolment, and/or integrated environments is available. Students may participate in bi-cultural learning experiences through educational opportunities and activities in the congregated classrooms and throughout the school. The students who have attended the DHH Programs at Queen Elizabeth Elementary or Stanley Jones Elementary typically feed into the junior high DHH Program.

DHH in Community Schools

Strategists for the DHH support the school learning team through informing best practice for assistive technology, IPP development, accommodations and teaching strategies. Strategists work directly with DHH students to provide the support for independence with amplification, technology, auditory skill development, literacy and language development, self-advocacy, social/emotional development and transitions depending on need and resources available.

Educational Audiologist

Community Schools and Congregated Settings

FM and DM (Digital Modulation) systems are provided and/or supported by the Educational Audiologist. Support includes:  1) monitoring, troubleshooting and repair 2) verifying FM/DM characteristics to ensure that the FM/DM systems and hearing aids/cochlear implants work properly together 3) building capacity of teachers through in-services about hearing loss, using assistive technology, and classroom acoustics and 4) building capacity of strategists, teachers, education assistants, and students to develop monitoring and troubleshooting skills.  

Pre-School for DHH

This program provides children aged 2½ to 5½ with opportunities to develop strong language abilities and to build skills and strategies that will prepare them for success in their schools and community.

The preschool is operated by the Connect Society, which has run a successful program in Edmonton for more than 50 years.

Teresa Foy, Director
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 Contact Us

DHH Specialist

Joanne Issler

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 Supporting Documents







Last modified: 1/19/2018 1:32 PM
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