Strategies and Resources to Assist Teachers of Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH)

I have created this wiki so that we can learn together about creating courses and teaching in ways that are fully inclusive of and accessible to students who are deaf and hard of hearing. Of course making these accommodations also makes our classes more accessible to all students (principles of Universal Design of Instruction) -- so it really is a win-win for all.
I welcome any suggestions and advice anyone has to offer here! Many thanks:)
Helen Mongan-Rallis (University of MN Education-Endazhi-gikinoo'amaading Department).


  1. You Tube is not close captioned and thus not accessible. I am seeking ways in which I can still use these and make these accessible. I can manually transcribe these, but the problem with doing that is that the students can either look at the transcription or watch the video, but not both (as is the case if the video is close-captioned). Ideas/suggestions anyone?
  2. Lighting: make sure that the interpreter and deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) student can see you and each other clearly. This means DO NOT turn off the lights when you want to show a movie, web page etc.
  3. Stand where the student who is DHH can see your face clearly: Whether or not the student who is DHH can lip-read, it is still helpful if they can see your face to watch your expression and your lips as you speak. Thus make sure that you are always facing them when you speak.
  4. Speak to and look at the student who is DHH , not to and at the interpreter. Also make sure that the student who is DHH is looking at you before you begin talking.
  5. Provide a transcript of any audio (and, ideally, anything else that you can provide such as lesson overview, lecture notes) to the student ahead of time.
  6. Make sure that the interpreter can stand somewhere close to the student who is DHH and where s/he can see them easily.
  7. If the class is longer than an hour, both the interpreter and the student who is DHH should have a short break (shouldn't we all! :)
  8. Add the interpreters to your class email alias and course management system (e.g. Moodle, WebVista) so that they know what is going on this the class and can prepare ahead of time so as to provide the best possible support for the student who is DHH.
  9. Make sure only one person talks at a time: Especially if you are having a whole class or small group discussion, facilitate this carefully so that students do not all talk at once (as this makes it impossible for the interpreter to keep up).
  10. Pacing: Speak slow enough so the interpreters can keep up.
  11. Write instructions (don't just say them): When you give instructions for an in-class or out-of-class task (such as having students work in groups to respond to a question or to perform some task), make sure to have these instructions written where the student who is DHH (and all students) can see this. You can write this on the board during class, or have these directions written out ahead of time such as on a poster, on a PowerPoint Slide, on your web page.
  12. Deaf culture: being DHH is not merely about not being being able to hear. It is so much more -- a whole culture. There is a very rich deaf culture.


  1. UMD Disability Resources:
  2. Strategies for teaching students who are deaf or hard of hearing:
  3. Tip Sheet by National Technical Institute for the Deaf: quick reference source for teachers/students or anyone who works with or supports people who are deaf or hard of hearing
  4. Deaf Culture:
  5. Tips for working with interpreters: Tips to maximize the effectiveness when working with an interpreter


  1. I would like to place the interpreters in my Moodle, but is this a FERPA issue seeing that the interpreter isn't actually enrolled? Answer from Helen: I called our UMD Access right away to ask this and was told that as far as they know this isn't an issue (interpreters are held to a very high code of ethics about data privacy), but they will call the Twin Cities just to verify. I will update this wiki as soon as I hear further on this.