Teacher of Deaf

Hamilton Township School District

Mays Landing, NJ 08330


2018-2019 School Year 

~ Ms. Gina DeBerardinis ~

Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing for Hamilton Township Schools
Special Education Teacher - Grade 4 Math

Contact Information

e-mail:  deberardinisg@hamiltonschools.org (preferred)

phone:  (609) 625-6600 ext. 2040



Deaf/Hard of Hearing Education

Definitions ~

Hearing impairment is defined by IDEA as “an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s education performance”

Deafness is defined as “a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification”

Technology ~

  • Hearing Aids

  • Cochlear Implants

  • Telecommunication Devices

  • Assistive Listening Devices (personal FM System, Sound Field System)

  • Captioning Services

  • Videophone Products

  • Visual & Tactile Alert Products

Modes of Communication ~

  • Aural/Oral Communication (lip reading/speechreading, auditory training, articulation ability)

  • Sign Language (American Sign Language, fingerspelling, body language, classifiers, facial expression)

  • PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System)

  • Interactive Writing (paper/pen, iPad, computer)

 Important Tips for All Teachers ~

  • Most hearing-impaired students focus on visual (sight), tactile (touch), and kinesthetic (movement) learning

  • Show, don’t just tell (use pictures, flashcards, diagrams, maps, charts, hands-on demonstrations)

  • Write homework assignments, instructions, schedules, and important due dates on the blackboard, ELMO, or big chart paper

  • Keep background noise to a minimum if possible

  • Preferential seating

  • Speak clearly

  • Maintain eye contact

  • Always face hearing-impaired students when speaking as they rely on lip reading

  • During class or small group discussions, make sure hearing-impaired students can see the other students (arrange desks in a circle or have students sit in a circle on carpet)

  • Repeat or model directions for assignments

  • Repeat what other students say

  • Have the hearing-impaired students be responsible for transporting the FM System to other classes when needed (Related Arts, assemblies, switching classes for ELA and Math)

  • Do not forget to put your microphone on mute when having a private conversation….or going to the bathroom!

  • Use of visual cues or gestures

  • Provide class notes and study guides

Helping to Ensure Communication with Young Children ~

*** To get and keep a young child's attention:

  • use facial expressions and body language to appear interesting to the child

  • use hand and body movements within their line of sight (to break their gaze)

  • tap the child's shoulder or arm gently to interrupt other behaviors

  • point to interesting things (and look at them yourself)

*** To facilitate communication:

  • point to things and then sign or say what they are (and perhaps point again)

  • wait until the child is looking before communicating

  • slow down the rate of communication

  • don't make the child continually have to shift attention away from something interesting

  • use short utterances

  • position yourself and objects within the child's visual field

  • ensure that your hands (if signing) or face (if speaking) is in the child's visual field

  • put important information (e.g., the topic) at the beginning and the end of utterances

  • when referring to things, make signs or gestures with the hands on or near the objects

  • exaggerate, repeat, and prolong signs to make sure they are seen and recognized

  • allow more time for children to understand messages

Albertini, J. A., Lang, H. G., & Marschark, M. (2002). Education deaf students: From research to practice. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Helpful Internet Resources ~

Recommended Apps ~

  • Spread The Sign - The Sign Language Dictionary

  • Signing Savvy Member App

  • ASL Coach  - 'American Sign Language'

  • ASL Learning - How to Sign Language Learn

  • PCS Sign Language Flash Cards Free

  • Marlee Signs

  • Baby Sign Animal Fun Time

  • ASL Animals - Free

  • Baby Sign and Learn

  • Baby Sign and Sing - ASL Nursery Rhymes

  • ASL Kids - Sign Language

  • Hear Coach

  • Sound Uncovered

Great news! Check out this article ~

“Sign language approved as a foreign language in N.J. high schools”


What is Hearing Loss?

“When describing hearing loss, we generally look at three categories: type of hearing lossdegree of hearing loss, and configuration of hearing loss. With children, it is especially important to diagnose and treat a hearing loss as early as possible. This limits its potential impact on learning and development. Hearing loss can greatly affect the quality of life for adults as well. Unmanaged hearing loss can have an impact on employment, education, and general well-being” (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 1997-2015).


Types of Hearing Loss

“Hearing loss can be categorized by which part of the auditory system is damaged. There are three basic types of hearing loss: conductive hearing losssensorineural hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss” (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 1997-2015).


“Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not conducted efficiently through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the tiny bones (ossicles) of the middle ear. Conductive hearing loss usually involves a reduction in sound level or the ability to hear faint sounds. This type of hearing loss can often be corrected medically or surgically” (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 1997-2015).


“Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea), or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Most of the time, SNHL cannot be medically or surgically corrected. This is the most common type of permanent hearing loss.”

“SNHL reduces the ability to hear faint sounds. Even when speech is loud enough to hear, it may still be unclear or sound muffled” (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 1997-2015).


“Sometimes a conductive hearing loss occurs in combination with a sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). In other words, there may be damage in the outer or middle ear and in the inner ear (cochlea) or auditory nerve. When this occurs, the hearing loss is referred to as a mixed hearing loss” (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 1997-2015).


Causes of Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss at Birth (Congenital Hearing Loss)

Hearing Loss After Birth (Acquired Hearing Loss)

Ear Infections (Otitis Media)


Ototoxic Medications (Medication Effects)

Chemical Exposure Effects of Hearing and Balance

(American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 1997-2015)


Effects of Hearing Loss on Development

“It is well recognized that hearing is critical to speech and language development, communication, and learning. Children with listening difficulties due to hearing loss or auditory processing problems continue to be an underidentified and underserved population. The earlier hearing loss occurs in a child's life, the more serious the effects on the child's development. Similarly, the earlier the problem is identified and intervention begun, the less serious the ultimate impact.”

“There are four major ways in which hearing loss affects children:

1.      It causes delay in the development of receptive and expressive communication skills (speech and language).

2.      The language deficit causes learning problems that result in reduced academic achievement.

3.      Communication difficulties often lead to social isolation and poor self-concept.

4.      It may have an impact on vocational choices.”

(American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 1997-2015)


Auditory Processing Disorder

“Auditory processing disorder (APD) is often described as greater than expected difficulty hearing and understanding speech even though no measureable hearing loss exists. Individuals with auditory processing disorders may act as though a hearing loss is present when in fact, hearing sensitivity is often within normal limits. APD is often confused with other disorders such as ADHD, language impairment, learning disabilities, social and emotional delays or cognitive deficits. It is important to take a multidisciplinary approach for accurate diagnosis of this disorder. Members of the team may include the speech-language pathologist, psychologist, classroom teacher, physician, parent and the audiologist. If screening results are consistent with APD, the audiologist will complete a comprehensive battery of tests that are chosen based on the person’s age, auditory problems, language and cognitive abilities” (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 1997-2015).



“Tinnitus refers to "ringing in the ears" when no other sound is present. Tinnitus can sound like hissing, roaring, pulsing, whooshing, chirping, whistling, or clicking” (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 1997-2015).


Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants and Assistive Technology


Cochlear Implants

“A cochlear implant is a device that provides direct electrical stimulation to the auditory (hearing) nerve in the inner ear. Children and adults with a severe to profound hearing loss who cannot be helped with hearing aids may be helped with cochlear implants” (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 1997-2015).


Hearing Assistive Technology

FM Systems

Infrared Systems

Induction Loop Systems

One-to-One Communicators


Other Hearing Assistive Technology Systems Solutions

  • Telephone amplifying devices for cordless, cell, digital, and wired phones
  • Amplified answering machines
  • Amplified telephones with different frequency responses
  • Loud doorbells
  • Computers
  • Wake-up alarms (loud bell or vibrating clock)


Hearing Aids

“Hearing aids differ in design, size, the amount of amplification, ease of handling, volume control, and availability of special features. However, they do have similar components that include the following:

  • Microphone to pick up sound
  • Amplifier circuitry to make the sound louder
  • Receiver (miniature loudspeaker) to deliver the amplified sound into the ear
  • On/off switch and batteries to power the electronic parts”

“Some hearing aids also have earmolds (earpieces) to direct the flow of sound into the ear and enhance sound quality. In the case of children, the earmold will need to be replaced fairly often as the ear grows” (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 1997-2015).




American Sign Language:  Number Chart (1-10)



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