Have a child who is deaf qualifies that child to have special accommodations in school under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), which was passed in 1975 and updated in 2004. The problem that often arises with children who are deaf is that providing these children with what is needed, such as translators, is costly and school districts will not want to pay for the personnel needed to provide these services. Getting help for your child will likely end in struggle between you and the administrators for the school. The school district will likely make claims that your child is very good at lip reading and therefore does not need someone to translate. They also may act like it’s acceptable for your child to only read at a third-grade level, acting as if this is acceptable and normal for people who are deaf.
The first thing you’ll want to do if you’re looking into what can be provided for your deaf child is to understand the laws that protect your child. This will mean getting a copy of the newest form of IDEA and going though it thoroughly. You’ll want to understand each point and how it applies to your children. You’ll also want to go over the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). When you meet with the administrators for your child’s school, you’ll need to be prepared with what services you’ll be requesting and what point of law backs up these requests. If you can afford it, you may want to hire a lawyer or find out if there are advocates in your area who are experts in this who will help you prepare what you will say.
One point you’ll want to remember is that when you request services, it’s what is needed for your child to have an “appropriate” education. This is how it’s stated in the law; it does not say “best” education and saying it’s needed for your child to have the best education will negate the request. Before the first IEP meeting, you should be able to see a draft of the IEP.
On the other hand, if you have the means to do so, you might want to skip the legal battle and look for other alternatives. Most parents do want the “best” education for their child, especially when the child has something to hold them back. You might want to explore a home schooling options, personal translators and tutors, or getting an online degree in education so that you might be the one to teach your child. This may seem like a more expensive route to public schools, but think about what lawyer fees might cost you and with a home schooling option you might be able to keep better track of how your child is progressing.