In addition to the obvious benefits of accessible education, residential schools
offer a wealth of social, linguistic, and cultural opportunities that are
otherwise hard to come by for K-12 deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) students born
to hearing families and then "mainstreamed" into a public (hearing)
Over the years, we have met many, many students and adults who attend or have
attended residential or other schools designed specifically for educating deaf
and hard-of hearing students. Each of these students or former students
expresses delight about the experience (the education; cultural and
extra-curricular activities) and the fond memories and lasting relationships
forged during important formative years. Of those we have spoken with, not
one has expressed dissatisfaction - each feels that their families made the
right choice in allowing them to attend a school designed to accommodate their
language and cultural needs.
While our reports are anecdotal in nature (admittedly not
scientific), we believe they speak well for the experience and advantages
available to DHH students in a residential or day-school setting.
For a listing of U.S. schools for DHH students, click here.
For information about a particular school, contact the school directly.
TAKE A TOUR:
If you and your child are considering the choice of attending
a residential school, contact one or more schools to request a visit and tour
the campus. Meet the staff, see the campus, explore the textbooks, lesson
plans, extra-curricular activities, academic resources, music, art, and sports
offerings. Ask to speak with (interview) current students and their
families. Most schools for the deaf are only too happy to welcome you,
your child, and your family to their campus, and are pleased and proud to show
you what they offer.
For information about visits and tours, contact one or
more schools directly.
Of course, a primary benefit of attending a school for the
deaf is the availability of and complete access to a solid, comprehensive
The perpetual exposure to language role-models and
full-language access is arguably one of the greatest benefits of attending a
school for the deaf. Students are taught, tutored, and carefully
supervised and nurtured by a variety of caring and responsible teachers and
administrators who come from a variety of linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
Typically, the teachers, administrators and staff are themselves deaf or hard-of
hearing and native- or expert-signers. Among deaf and hard-of-hearing
teachers, administrators, and staff; some use traditional or conductive hearing
aids, some have cochlear implants (CIs), and some were raised in the oral
tradition with a focus on spoken communication. Residential schools and
day-schools for the deaf are a truly rich and varied language resource -- one
not to be missed!
Peers interaction, friendships, and the opportunity to
participate in clubs and extra-curricular activities abound at schools for the
deaf. Who does not know first-hand the benefits of friendships, shared
activities and interests? Clearly, residential and day-school settings
offer life-enrichments that may not be so easily accessible to children who are
deaf or hard-of-hearing.
For information about these and other benefits, contact
one or more schools directly.
Families who do not live near a residential school may feel
challenged by the idea of a child's weekly absence. Sometimes, a family
will resist allowing a child to attend a residential school because they wish to
avoid being parted for several days at a time. Some families relocate to
live closer to a residential school; others do not. Some families agree to
"try it out" for a semester or a school-year, to "see how it
goes." Typically, students return home for weekends, holidays, and
summers. Whether a family is able to relocate or not, parents will know
they have made the right choice when their child comes home smiling, happy, and
full of stories about what they learned, the friends they made, and activities
in which they participated that week.
Some families allow their cultural background to effect their
decision. Their particular culture may have taught them that "sending
your child away" demonstrates weak or failed parenting; that parents must
"raise their own children" no matter the cost to the child.
When parents are deeply embedded in such a culture, their children often pay a
heavy price for the adults' need to comply with cultural dictates. This is
a difficult challenge that prevents many thousands of children each year from
access to the broad and deep benefits of learning at a school designed at its
very core to provide and support optimal learning and information access for a
child who is deaf or hard-of-hearing.
For information about other families have managed actual or
perceived challenges, contact one or more schools directly.
The student body at residential schools includes students who
range from profoundly deaf to hard-of-hearing, aided or implanted (users of
hearing aides or users of cochlear implants), aged 5 or 6 through 12th grade,
DOD or DOH (deaf-of-deaf families or deaf-of-hearing families),
African-American, Latino, Caucasian, and members of many other cultural and
As is the case at public (hearing) schools, most students are
able to perform academically at grade-level; some are not. Like public
schools, some students have additional challenges; some students may use a
wheelchair or other transportation device; some may have emotional challenges.
The student body is broad and varied. For enrollment
information and statistics specific to a particular residential setting, contact
the school directly.