Are virtual services right for your family, school or district?
   Hear Me Out Blog   

Justification for Teacher of the Deaf Services

As the school year winds down over the next few weeks, teams
will be thinking about services for next year. Whether services will stay the
same or change, it is valuable to have a conversation with the team regarding
teacher of the deaf support for the next school year. Because key players can change
– superintendents, special education directors, principals and special
education teachers – everyone must understand the role and importance of the
TOD in order to advocate for continued service when a new team member(s) takes

The first task is to explain the role of the teacher of the
deaf and how we work with SLPs, special education teachers, classroom teachers
and support staff, and other service providers on the student’s team. Teachers
of the deaf have an in depth understanding of hearing loss and its impact on academic,
social/emotional, literacy, and language development in an educational setting.
Teachers of the deaf are trained to adapt or modify curriculum to meet the specialized
needs of students with hearing loss. We target IEP goals and objectives with
the hearing loss in mind and are always thinking not only of what language
structures and skills the student needs now, but also what the student will
need in upcoming units so that we can pre-teach curriculum concepts and skills
for more independent learning. Additionally, we can anticipate what some of the
potential social/emotional and self-advocacy challenges may be for our students
and preemptively give them strategies to handle these potential difficulties with

When thinking about service hours for the upcoming year,

The student’s skills and challenges and the reason for the teacher of
the deaf service
(i.e. academic
support, transition to a mainstream program, social / emotional support and
self advocacy).
Are all areas being addressed within the current time allotted?

The current level of direct service. Is it enough? If the student
is not making the progress you would have expected, would more individual time
help? Is it too much? Is the student becoming dependent or resistant? If so, a
reduction in individual time may be appropriate.

Consult time with teachers and support staff. Is this currently
part of the student’s grid? If not, it should be added. (For a more detailed
argument for adding consult time to the students IEP grid, see my earlier post,
“Making the Most of Consult Time.”)

Classroom Observation Time. Again, if this is not part of the
student’s current grid, consider adding structured weekly or monthly classroom
observations. Earlier posts including, “Considering Captioned Media”, “Tracking
Auditory and Self-Advocacy Development” and “Maximize FM Use” provide topics
which justify time spent in the classroom by a teacher of the deaf who can help
implement and monitor these aspects of the student’s education.

The upcoming IEP goals and objectives. What amount of individual
pull-out vs. push-in time is needed in order to meet those goals?

This grid from Karen Anderson can be completed by the team to determine
the level of support needed in addition to observations and other formal and
informal evaluations.

Hear Me Out

The Hear Me Out blog provides unique resources for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. It's a forum for itinerant teachers of the deaf to share their experiences as they grow as professionals! It is produced by Clarke's Mainstream Services team as part of our mission to support children with hearing loss and the professionals who serve them.

View our comment and posting policy. 


About the Hear Me Out Blog

Itinerant teachers of the deaf (TOD) provide direct services to children with hearing loss in mainstream schools, consultation to their teachers, and professional development to school staff. Itinerant TODs travel to a child’s neighborhood school to provide one-on-one educational support, foster listening and spoken language development, and help children build social and self-advocacy skills. They also act as a liaison between the family and their mainstream school. Hear Me Out provides a unique forum for these special teachers to share their experiences as they grow as professionals.

Hear Me Out is produced by Mainstream Services at Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech as part of our mission to support children with hearing loss and the professionals who serve them.


Heather – great post! I am going to let people know about this. It does a great job of explaining what a ToD does – I think too often there is very little understanding from mainstream education of what role the ToD plays and in my opinion if you have a hearing loss you need a ToD – no questions asked. It doesn't matter how well the child is doing, having that extra support and understanding goes a long way

Heather Stinson

Thank you for your feedback! I completely agree- even with a strong team there is always room for further education and refinement.



As a person with hearing loss (bilateral CIs) and someone who works with children with hearing loss (DHH Specialist), I immediately get turned off when I see the acronym TOD. Since most of the children we work with, I assume, are hard of hearing or are functionally hard of hearing, why is the term "deaf" used to describe these kids? Though I have several students on my caseload who have cochlear implants and are therefore technically profoundly deaf, they do not function as if they were deaf. My caseload is comprised of children who have varying degrees of hearing loss but are certainly not deaf.

I would like folks to rethink, and hopefully rename, the term Teacher of the Deaf. It really does not describe who we work with…any ideas for a name change?? I kinda like TAH, Teachers of the Atypically Hearing. 🙂


Forestville, CA

Heather Stinson

Thank you for your comment. You bring up an interesting point and this is something that my colleagues and I have talked and thought about before. I am aware that there are many different titles out there to describe what we do across the states – I invite others to share their titles, comments and ideas as well.


We currently go by "Teacher for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing"


Teacher of the Acoustically Challenged or TAC
Denver, CO

Andrew Harley

Provide context and repetition, which is helpful not only to students with hearing loss, but to other students as well: announce what’s about to happen and recap what’s just taken place.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *

Hear Me Out Blog

About the Author

Heather Stinson (CAGS, MED, S/LP-A) received her master’s degree in Education of the Deaf from Smith College in 2006 and a graduate certificate in Children, Families, and Schools (with a concentration in research methodology) from the University of Massachusetts in 2012. In addition to her many years of experience working with children with hearing loss who communicate using listening and spoken language, Heather has also worked as a preschool classroom teacher.

Heather has presented both locally and nationally on issues related to mainstreaming students with hearing loss and is a contributing author to Odyssey magazine. Heather currently works as an itinerant teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing at Clarke Mainstream Services, a program of Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech.

Our professionals are here to help.

Please contact any of our locations to learn more about Clarke’s broad array of programs and services.