CEDHH Faculty/Staff Reference Guide

Northwestern has the only fully supported post-secondary education program in Connecticut for deaf and hard of hearing students, named the Collegiate Education for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CEDHH) program. Because of this, a substantial number of deaf and hard of hearing students attend this institution. This is a brief overview of information that can assist faculty and staff who should have student (s)with hearing loss in their class.


There is no “typical” deaf or hard of hearing person. They are each unique individuals with diverse backgrounds. Some things to consider that may impact on a deaf or hard of hearing student’s academic preparedness and competence with English are the following:

Degree of hearing loss: CEDHH students have various degrees of hearing loss. A student may have a mild hearing loss which means they can hear in most situations except in a noisy environment. A student may have a moderate degree of hearing loss, which means with a hearing aid in a quiet environment, they may be able to use their residual hearing. A student may have a profound hearing loss which means they can not hear speech and most environment sounds.

Age of onset: A person born deaf, and a person who lost his or her hearing later in life, have different communication capabilities. If a person is born deaf, they may have significant difficulty acquiring speech and English language skills. A person who is deaf after acquiring speech and language is better able to maintain their use of speech and spoken language.

Educational setting: CEDHH students come from a variety of educational backgrounds. Some students attended a school entirely dedicated to educating deaf students. Other students attended mainstream programs, some with some educational specialists and full support services, and others with little to no support services.

Mode of communication: Students may use one or several communication modes. Profoundly deaf students may use sign language and have no speechreading skills or intelligible speech. Moderately hearing impaired students may be skilled speechreaders, have usable residual hearing, and intelligible speech. Then again, a profoundly deaf student may have intelligible speech but cannot speechread at all. Each student is unique and they will acquaint you with the best way for the two of you to communicate.


The Collegiate Education for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CEDHH) program offers comprehensive support services to deaf and hard of hearing students enrolled at the college. These support services include:

Specialized instruction: Deaf and hard of hearing students may enroll in remedial and developmental courses, including English and Mathematics, taught by CEDHH instructional specialists, which are designed for making a successful transition from the secondary to post-secondary setting.

Interpreting services: Interpreters may be assigned to your class for a student who uses American Sign Language or needs to lipread. They usually sit in front of the class or beside your lecture area. Speak at your normal rate. Interpreters can keep up. They will ask for a repeat should they miss something that may be said by you or by a student. Please remember that the interpreter is the communication bridge between you and the student. All communication from you to the student should be direct. The interpreter will translate what you say to the student without changing any of the intended content and meaning. The interpreter will also voice everything the student says.

Tutoring:  Staff interpreters also provide tutoring services for deaf and hard of hearing students. CEDHH students are encouraged to contact interpreters to schedule tutoring appointments.

Notetaking services: Deaf and hard of hearing students are oftentimes not able to use their vision for receptive communication (i.e., speechreading, or watching the interpreter) and to take notes simultaneously.  CEDHH will hire a qualified student in the class to take notes and make copies for their deaf and hard of hearing classmate(s). In the event that a notetaker is absent, the deaf or hard of hearing student may ask you to assist them in recruiting a volunteer from the class to share his/her notes.

C-Print captioning: A C-Print captionist may be assigned to your class for a deaf or hard of hearing student who does not use sign language. They usually sit in the front row beside the student with a laptop computer. Their role is to type (close to verbatim) what is said in the class by you and the students so that the deaf or hard of hearing student can read what is being said. Speak at your normal rate. The captionist has special software that allows her to type abbreviations which appear as full words on the laptop screen. This transcript can then be printed off as notes for the student’s use.

Voice-generated captioning: Voice-generated captioning (VGC) is a system which provides live captioning services using Caption Mic software loaded onto a laptop either alone or connected to a television monitor. A captionist using this technology can produce live captioning for class presentations. The student sits next to the captionist, who echoes spoken information (what is being said by you as well as students in the classroom) into the laptop. Within seconds, the message is displayed on a television monitor in complete English for the student to read.

FM system: A hard of hearing student may need to use an assistive listening device to be able to hear you clearly. A small transmitter and microphone worn by the teacher transmits a radio signal to a receiver worn by the student. If the student has requested this system, the communication specialist, will contact you. The student is responsible for the operation and care of the device and turning it on/off.

Communication assessment and training: Communication assessment and speech training services are available for deaf and hard of hearing students. Faculty are encouraged to contact the communication specialist, should any communication issues arise with students.

Captioning: If you have a deaf or hard of hearing student in your class and want to show a video or television clip, you can first check to see if it is captioned. The common symbols used to identify captioned programs are “CC” or a “CC” within a television shape or the image of a small television screen with a small tail on the bottom. As of January 2006, all television programming from 6:00 am to 2:00 am must be captioned according to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). All newly produced DVDs should also be captioned. If a captioned version is not available, the interpreter can interpret the video. If you have further questions, please contact the communication specialist.

Academic, career and personal counseling: Faculty may contact the Counselor for Students with Disabilities to clarify necessary accommodations for deaf and hard of hearing students.

Telecommunication devices:

v  Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDDs) are available in several CEDHH staff offices for student use.

v  Videophones are available for use in the lobby of Green Woods near the multipurpose room as well as in the CEDHH main office. The videophone allows deaf or hard of hearing individuals to speak directly to others or by the use of a qualified trained interpreter, through video relay services (VRS). Video relay service (VRS) is a service involving a D-link, a television, and high speed internet access. VRS works through the following process: a person signs (in American Sign Language – ASL) to the videophone and the visual picture screen is transmitted by a high speed internet connection to a VRS remote site. An interpreter then voices the ASL into spoken English via a telephone line to the hearing person. The interpreter then signs the hearing person’s spoken English reply to the videophone, which sends the visual signal back to the ASL user’s television monitor.


Below is a series of helpful hints for the classroom that will ensure clear communication between you and the student:

  • Make sure lighting in the classroom is adequate. Inform the interpreter ahead of time when audiovisual materials are to be used so that he/she can bring an interpreter’s light.
  • Stand in a position so that your face is clearly visible; some students will be lipreading you.
  • Maintain a normal rate of speech; the interpreter will be able to keep pace.
  • Talk directly to the student when responding to or asking a question. Most times, the interpreter will translate simultaneously. Note the difference between: “Will you ask John if he knows what the topic of his term paper is?” and “John, what is the topic for your term paper?”
  • Repeat questions when asked by members of the class during lecture or discussion for the benefit of students who are lipreading and/or listening to you.

If you have any questions on how to make your class more accessible for your deaf and hard of hearing students, please call 860-738-6397. The main CEDHH office is located on the first floor of Founders Hall Rm 102.

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