A Sound Investment in our Children

School Options for Children with Hearing Loss

Children listening to storytime

Has your child been diagnosed with a hearing loss? Are you looking for a school for the deaf in Illinois? The FHSR Associate Board has compiled a list of schools for the deaf in Illinois, as well as other options to consider if you are thinking about educating your child in a public or private school.

Illinois Schools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children:

  • Child’s Voice. Located in both Wood Dale and Chicago. Child’s Voice is a listening and spoken language program for children with hearing loss. They work with children ranging in age from birth through second grade.  Website: https://childsvoice.org  
  • Illinois School for the Deaf. Located in Jacksonville. Illinois school for the Deaf serves children ages 3 to 21.  They work with children using American Sign Language, spoken English, sign-supported speech, or Cued Speech. Website: http://www.illinoisdeaf.org/PK8/PK8.html
  • Alexander Graham Bell Montessori School (AGBMS). Located in Wheeling. AGBMS offers services to children ages 6 weeks to 15 years. AGBMS provides an oral education program for deaf and hard of hearing children, using a technique called Cued Speech to enhance their ability to acquire age-appropriate literacy skills. Website: http://www.agbms.org

Public and Private School Options

Public school districts offer many special education options and programs for a child with hearing loss. Here are a just a few examples of programs that you can find in a public school district:

  • Mainstream classroom with itinerant support. This is when a child is given additional support in the classroom from an itinerant teacher, who may push into the classroom or pull the student out.
  • Mainstream classroom with resource support. This is when a child is pulled out of the general education classroom to get additional support.
  • Deaf and hard of hearing program within a district. This is when a district has a deaf and hard of hearing program that best fits your child’s needs. These deaf and hard of hearing programs may have an emphasis on different communication modes such as total communication, sign language, or oral communication.  

Although private schools do not have the same special education obligations as public school districts do, certain federal laws such as Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act may still require private schools to provide reasonable accommodations to children with hearing loss. The applicability of those laws to private schools depends on whether the school receives federal funding and whether the school is a religious school.

Every public school district and private school is different, and each one provides different supports for students with hearing loss. Whether a given school district or private school is a good fit for your child depends on how well the school’s program fits your child’s needs.

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