Interpreters or Transcribers - The interpreter/transcriber should be positioned in close proximity to the instructor
at the front of the classroom so that the interpreter/transcriber, the faculty member,
and visual aids will be in the student's field of vision. The interpreter/transcriber
provides students access to communication spoken by the faculty member and other students
in the classroom. The interpreter/transcriber may also serve as the voice of a student.
Note-takers - Students may require a note-taker during class time. It is not possible to take
accurate notes while visually following an interpreter/transcriber. Faculty can provide
copies of their own notes or classmates can be requested to provide copies of their
notes. A note-taker can use carbon note-taking paper developed for this purpose,
make photocopies, or use a laptop computer. The student may want to use a tape recorder
and have notes transcribed later onto paper.
Assistive Listening Devices (ALD) - Some students who are hard of hearing use an ALD. This device amplifies sound
the same way a hearing aid does, but eliminates most of the background noise a hearing
aid would pick up. They are very useful for lectures, particularly in large classes,
since sound is transmitted directly from the speaker to the listener. The student
would ask you to use a small clip-on microphone with a small transmitter for your
belt or shirt pocket.
Some faculty members may express concern regarding the audio recording of their lectures,
regardless of whether the student has a disability. However, students with vision
and other impairments are legally entitled to record lectures (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the ADA Amendment Act of 2008). Faculty who are planning to publish content material from their lectures may fear
that these recordings will somehow infringe on their copyright privileges.
When other people speak who may be out of the student's range of vision or hearing,
and an interpreter/transcriber is not being used, repeat the question or comment and
indicate who is speaking (by motioning) so the student can follow the discussion.
When using visual media, alteration in lighting (i.e., dimmed lights) interferes with
the student's capacity to read signed or oral communication. If a written script
is available, provide the interpreter/transcriber and student with a copy in advance.
When new materials are to be covered which involve technical terminology not in common
usage, supply a list of these words or terms in advance to the student and interpreter/transcriber.
Unfamiliar words are difficult to interpret/transcribe.
Avoid speaking with your back to the student especially when an interpreter/transcriber
is not being used (e.g., when writing on the board). Overhead projectors and slideshow
presentations are good substitutes and allow you to face the class while writing.
Since the student relies on someone else's ability to take notes, it would be very
helpful to him or her if you would provide photocopies of overheads or slideshows.
When particularly important information is being covered, be sure to convey it very
clearly. Notices of class cancellations, assignments, etc., should be put in writing
on the board to ensure understanding.
Most students who are hard of hearing will be able to take examinations and be evaluated
in the same way as other students. On written exams, due to idiomatic expressions
and syntactic English subtleties, some students may require an interpreter to interpret
the questions in their preferred mode of communication. American Sign Language has
grammar and syntax significantly different from English grammar and syntax. This
method will require extended time and possibly a separate testing location.
For methods of testing based on oral presentations of a paper or speech, the interpreter/transcriber
can voice what the student signs or says.
Center for Educational Access
209 ARKU University of Arkansas Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701