Deaf Schools

EVERYTHING You Need to Know About Schooling For a Deaf or Hard of Hearing Child
As a parent, you want the best possible education for your child.

When your child is deaf or hard of hearing, you don’t just want an excellent academic environment, you also want a school where your child can thrive socially, gain confidence and feel a sense of belonging. You want them to enjoy a fulfilling school experience.

There are additional considerations when it comes to choosing the right school for a deaf or hard of hearing child.

And it’s also understandable to wonder whether a deaf student receives sufficient support to achieve their full potential in a mainstream classroom.
It’s also understandable to wonder whether attending deaf high schools prepares students for life post-graduation.
If you’re seeking information about schooling for deaf and hard of hearing children, this guide is for you.
We’ll cover EVERYTHING you need to know about schools for the deaf and hard of hearing, designed for children from birth to age 22.

In this article, you’ll discover:

  • Deaf vs Hearing Impaired: What’s the appropriate terminology?
  • Differences between a deaf school and a standard public school
  • Consideration for choosing the appropriate school for your deaf or hard of hearing child.
  • Enrolling your child in a school for the deaf or hard of hearing
  • Definition of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and why it matters
  • How deaf schools prepare children for later life
  • Expectations to have from a school for deaf children
  • Academics, programs and learning environment (including assistive technology)
  • Teaching methods
  • Inclusion of English and American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Day schools vs. Residential (boarding) schools
  • Extracurricular activities, including sports, music, arts and more
  • Typical school facilities, including technology, equipment and on-site security and medical support
  • Socializing, community development and integration
  • Health, safety, medical supervision and care
  • Available vocational training to prepare a child for the workforce
  • Full list of all schools for the deaf and hard of hearing in the USA
Let’s get started….


Students and Teachers Group
When you begin searching for the right school for your child, it’s important to remember that there are often significant differences between deaf schools.
Deaf schools offer different strategies for teaching deaf children along with different programs for specific needs of the student(s).
Schools also vary in terms of their services and resources, for example their level of deaf assistive technology, which should be a key consideration for any parent researching schools for their child.

There are options when it comes to schools for the deaf or hard of hearing:

1. Oral/Aural Program - Oral deaf schools focus exclusively on listening and spoken language. This means they do not offer classes in American Sign Language.

2. ASL/English Bilingual Program - Schools using this approach integrate American Sign Language and English. It’s important to confirm how English is incorporated into the curriculum, as some schools focus only on written English. Others include spoken and listening components.

Enrolling in a Deaf School
Parents have the right to request a comprehensive initial evaluation for their child to confirm their child’s need for special education beyond the standard vision and hearing screening in schools.
This is an important evaluation, and it must be conducted by appropriately-trained individuals who have experience working with deaf or hard of hearing students.

There are useful resources which can support you throughout the process of assessment and enrollment when it comes to education for deaf students.
You may wish to read this publication from the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, Inc, Optimizing Outcomes for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students.

The Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center has also compiled a valuable archive of resources for families who are new to deaf education. This includes information on legislation and policy.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a plan that takes into account the individual strengths and challenges of each student.
It’s used to ensure that the education they receive meets their specific needs. It identifies and outlines the areas that deaf children in school must focus on to succeed.
Regardless of the type of deaf school, each student will have an Individualized Education Plan. This Individualized Education Plan will be designed by teachers, health professionals, social workers and specialists, and it is critical to the student’s success.
IEP meetings are held annually between parents, special education teachers, and the IEP Team. These are held to discuss benchmarks and monitor student progress.
Day Schooling
What does a typical day look like in a deaf school?
In reality, it is quite similar to a day in a mainstream public school. Hours are likely to be the same, and the same core subjects are offered in alignment with national or state Common Core standards, which dictate the content of the curriculum across all schools.
However, deaf schools should also offer Individualized Education Plans for every student and make corresponding adjustments to the curriculum where needed.

Schools for deaf and hard of hearing children will usually offer special, creative subjects such as Art, Physical Education, and Robotics that are provided in mainstream education.
Schools will also usually offer support services during the transition between school and work or higher education. In these ways, a deaf school is very much like a public school.

There are differences when it comes to services however.
A school for the deaf has specially trained professionals who determine whether services such as audiology or physical therapy are best offered in the classroom or in a separate setting.

Another potential difference is that a school for the deaf is more likely to have a more concentrated focus on English and Language Arts. For some deaf students, English may not be their first language, which is why English for the deaf is emphasized.
Residential Schooling (On Campus Boarding)
A second schooling option is residential education, where students board and stay at school rather than returning home at the end of the school day.

With residential schools for the deaf, there are 5-day options -- where students return home to spend the weekend, or 7-day boarding options.

One of the benefits of residential deaf schools is that children live in community with one another.
This is an advantage, for example, when it comes to learning American Sign Language. If students attend and live in a bilingual residential school, ASL is practiced constantly. They learn to communicate fluently this way.
Deaf residential schools have a range of after-school activities, including sports, which offer an excellent opportunity for socializing and creative development. Students are able to participate in fun and stimulating extracurriculars without experiencing the barrier of language accessibility.

What is the PACES Program?

The Positive Attitudes Concerning Education and Socialization (PACES) program is a day and residential treatment program at the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, Connecticut.
PACES specifically caters to deaf and hard of hearing children and youth whose emotional and/or behavioral challenges prevent them from being served in a traditional schooling environment.
PACES also caters to hearing non-verbal autistic students who would benefit from visual language and bilingual communication (ASL/English) in a culturally, linguistically and sensory accessible learning environment.
PACES is ideal for: 

  • Children aged 6-22.
  • Children or youth who are deaf or hard of hearing and non-verbal students on the autism spectrum with emotional and/or behavioral challenges.
  • Children requiring more time with special education teachers and qualified experts in the areas of Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS), and Physical/Psychological Management Training (PMT).
  • Children who could benefit from expressive therapies, including art and music, mindfulness activities such as groups to assist with the development of coping skills, Animal-Assisted Therapy (ART), and therapeutic yoga.
  • Parents or guardians who would like their child to be immersed in a positive environment that supports their learning and social development, full-time, with a variety of attendance options including commuter day and 5-and-7-day residential.


photo of the school library
0 – 3 Years:
Some schools for the deaf offer programs during the child’s early years, which are designed to ensure that children develop a strong language foundation from a young age.
Offerings can include audiology services, playgroups and ASL classes. These programs are popular with families whose children are deaf at birth, or hard of hearing.
This is a critical development stage, so supports and resources are provided to promote listening and spoken language skills.

The idea is that accurate and helpful information is given regarding potential pathways for a deaf child; hearing parents who are unfamiliar with the deaf education landscape often find these resources invaluable in navigating their options.

The aim of these programs is to prepare children with hearing loss so they are ready to begin school at the same age as their hearing peers, whether in mainstream deaf education or in a dedicated deaf school.
However, these programs should also treat each child as an individual, developing a personalized plan that meets their specific needs.

Many families enjoy the peer support they receive when they connect with other families of deaf children through early years programs. This is why group activities such as playgroups are facilitated by some deaf schools.


photo of a student holding an award
Elementary School:
At the elementary school level, the academic focus is on language, mathematics, and communication skills.
Students also begin to develop social and emotional awareness to self-regulate in the classroom and express their creativity.
In this, schools for deaf children have the same objectives as mainstream schools.
Middle School:
In middle school, students continue to develop in the Core standard areas that dictate the curriculum across mainstream and special education institutions.
Students are supported to become more independent learners. They theorize, plan, experiment, and evaluate their progress.
At this stage, students begin to develop their own interests as individuals, and schools encourage them to pursue these interests. In an ASL middle school, access to instruction in ASL provides children with the language access needed in this critical time.
High School:
When students reach high school, they are building the skills they’ll need post-graduation, whether they decide to pursue further education or to enter the workforce.
The curriculum includes preparation for college enrollment, vocational-technical education, and training that translates to the workplace.
This means that, no matter which path a deaf or hard of hearing student plans to take, there is appropriate academic support available.
How does a deaf or hard of hearing child’s learning develop year by year?
It’s a popular misconception that a deaf child develops at a different rate from their hearing peers.

All students have individual strengths and weaknesses, which would be identified in an Individualized Education Plan. However, developmental milestones remain the same whether a child is deaf or hearing.
School Accreditation:
Parents should check to see that a school for the deaf is accredited by a reputable accreditation agency.
For example, America’s first deaf school, American School for the Deaf is accredited by both the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools & Programs for the DEAF (CEASD) and the New England Association of School and Colleges (NEASC).

Elementary Program at the American School for the Deaf

The Elementary program offers day and residential program options at the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, Connecticut.
The Elementary program caters to deaf and hard of hearing children.
The Elementary day school and residential programs are ideal for: 
  • Children aged 3-11 in Pre-K – 5th Grade
  • Children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Children who could benefit from smaller class sizes and specialized services such as speech and language, audiology, and aural habilitation communication services.
  • Parents or guardians who would like their child to develop language, mathematics and communication skills, along with social/emotional awareness and creativity.


photo of students working on electronics
In deaf programs in public schools or in a school for deaf children, classroom layouts often differ from the typical mainstream classroom. Changes are made to promote inclusivity and communication accessibility.
A semi-circle desk configuration allows for clearer communication and students are able to see one another’s faces, for example. This enables students to focus more on the lesson and participate more actively.

Class sizes are significantly smaller, allowing each student to receive a higher level of individual support from the teacher(s).
Technology to support visual learning when teaching deaf students may be used to a greater degree than in a mainstream setting.

Often, classrooms in deaf schools have enhanced assistive technology for deaf students, such as amplification technology installed for those who use hearing aids or cochlear implants. This technology automatically syncs with the students’ hearing aid as they enter the classroom.

Some schools offer technologically advanced spaces that allow for virtual webinars, two-way video programming, and acoustic technology which radiates throughout the space in order for deaf or hard of hearing students to feel sounds.

Supportive Learning Environment
Every teacher of the deaf has undergone specific training which enables them to create a supportive and inclusive learning environment.
  • They have specialized knowledge of the specific needs of deaf and hard of hearing children, and they know the various modifications and accommodations to make for deaf students in the classroom.
  • At school, deaf and hard of hearing children will be nurtured not only intellectually but also socially, physically, and emotionally. The experience of learning alongside other deaf and hard of hearing children can be very inspiring and motivating for students.
One advantage of deaf schools is that therapeutic services are not an add-on, as they are in mainstream education. Instead, they are integrated into the educational environment. This reduces stigma and increases accessibility for deaf kids.
Positive Reinforcement to Support Positive Behavior 
Although the approaches of different schools vary when it comes to teaching deaf children, one popular model for reinforcing positive behavior is based on the PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) framework.
This is a national framework which places positive reinforcement at its center. This model is based on universal interventions designed to proactively prevent problematic behavior.
Fostering positive relationships between teachers and students is key to the PBIS system; however, not all private or state schools for the deaf subscribe to this model.

At the most fundamental level, all students under the PBIS model enjoy school-wide systems of support which aim to strengthen and encourage positive behaviors.
Secondary interventions are then targeted at small groups of students who have proven themselves to be at risk of engaging in problematic behavior.
Lastly, tertiary interventions are implemented for individual students who struggle with severe self-regulation challenges and may display unacceptable behavior.
Emotional Support
An effective deaf school will consider the needs of every deaf or hard of hearing child in the classroom and use the information in their Individualized Education Plans to create learning environments that are nurturing and accessible.
Sensory considerations are taken into account to avoid unnecessarily triggering emotional experiences. Additional behavioral and clinical supports are usually available onsite also.

The PBIS model prioritizes developing strong teacher-student relationships that are supportive in the case of an emotional event.
A qualified teacher of the deaf -- one who has undergone PBIS training, for example -- will be experienced and knowledgeable in their work with students who have additional support needs.
Class sizes are small to ensure that every student receives individualized care and attention from staff.
American Sign Language (ASL)
Deaf or hard of hearing children’s communication preferences are personal. Children and their families choose the communication approach that works best for them, and in some cases this is American Sign Language.

Not all mainstream schools for the deaf or dedicated deaf schools use this visual language to the same extent.

Deaf students in public schools that prefer to use ASL may be paired with an interpreter. This can create a barrier since all information must be interpreted; communication is not direct.
Some public or mainstream schools have hearing assistive technology; however, not all teachers or staff may fully understand how to properly use this technology.
Because deafness is considered low-incidence in mainstream schools, equipment may become outdated as it is low priority to replace.

In a deaf classroom that uses an oral/aural program, the focus is on listening and spoken language. ASL is not offered in oral schools for the deaf, so this would not be an appropriate program for students who are visual language users.

In an ASL program school for deaf or deaf children, American Sign Language is used exclusively as the academic and social language.
Listening and spoken language is not included in the curriculum; therefore a deaf child who communicates through spoken language would not find this program suitable.

Some schools offer a bilingual program which includes both ASL and spoken English while teaching deaf or hard of hearing children. Many prefer this approach as it equips students to communicate in multiple ways without excluding anyone.

Private schools for the deaf may also offer ASL classes for the parents and families of students, which allow for greater communication within families at home.
Therapeutic Supported Learning
Students who experience behavioral or social difficulties can benefit from therapeutic supports in the learning environment. Therapeutic supports are usually found within behavioral programs; however, not all deaf education institutions offer this support.

For deaf children, education can be made more accessible through therapeutic supports.
Currently there are two schools in the USA that offer a behavior program especially for deaf and hard of hearing students. These programs are The Learning Center’s Walden School in Framingham, MA and the American School for the Deaf’s ‘PACES’ program.

The Walden School is a residential therapeutic and education program for deaf children and youth.

American School for the Deaf’s program, PACES, which stands for Positive Attitudes Concerning Education and Socialization, includes a suite of services: trauma-informed care, family supports, and a range of therapeutic supports which include art therapy, music therapy, and animal-assisted therapy.
The program was designed to promote the inclusion of deaf students in the classroom who’d otherwise find this environment complex to navigate or unsuitable for their needs.

Click here to find out more about the PACES program.


photo of students in a common area
The facilities available in deaf schools in the USA differ from school to school.

Deaf schools in United States: Facilities available could include...
  • Enhanced security features, for example on-campus CCTV cameras.

  • A children’s library to promote literacy and socialization.

  • Spaces devoted to the arts, for example a music and drama room.

  • A sensory room for students with additional support needs to calm and focus.

  • A gym for physical education activities.

  • Rooms for the delivery of specific therapeutic supports, although some schools offer these services in-class.

  • A visual emergency alert system so students receive visual cues; for example, strobes, during emergency situations.

  • A visual communications center which facilitates virtual classrooms and musical broadcasts that can be felt by deaf or hard of hearing students.
Assistive Learning Devices
Enhanced accessibility technology should be considered when choosing a school for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Assistive learning devices amplify certain sounds over background noise; for example, making it easier for students to hear the teacher in class.

There are different approaches to deafness in schools. Many schools offer amplification technology, which benefits students who use hearing aids and cochlear implants; however, they do so to varying degrees.

If this technology is present in every classroom and common area, it means student’s hearing aids can automatically sync as students enter, meaning they enjoy consistently improved listening.


photo of a student and teacher celebrating
The characteristics of deaf students differ, from age to academic development and personality.
When considering a potential school, it’s important to ensure that the specific support your child needs is available.
Supportive strategies for deaf or hard of hearing students that may be offered (if required based on Individualized Educational Plan) include:
Speech - Language Pathology - this can be used to treat communication difficulties.
Audiology - audiological support can be useful for students with hearing, balance, and other special needs.
Counseling - this can be beneficial for students in developing self-esteem, coping skills, and emotional resilience.

Literacy Support - students who face additional difficulties in reading and writing can be supported through this service.
Educational Technology Support - this integrates technology into the classroom setting to improve the learning environment for students with complex needs.

Occupational Therapy - students are supported to develop, recover, or maintain their ability to perform meaningful everyday tasks.
Physical Therapy - students receive this to ease pain and help them function and move more easily.
Tutoring – Small Group or 1:1
Should students require one on one tutoring, this is usually available in private schools for the deaf or hard of hearing.
This service is included in tuition in some schools, and in others there is an additional charge for it.
Whether this service is offered or not depends on the Individualized Education Plan, and this applies if the school is public or private.
Safe/Secure Learning Environment
To ensure a safe learning environment, staff who apply to work in deaf schools in the United States should be subject to background checks.
Schools also benefit from 24/7 security and they’re staffed sufficiently to provide individualized attention to each student.

On-campus, there will be a health center with nurses on-duty at all times. In a day school for the deaf, nurses will be available whenever students are in the building.
Any residential school will have received the appropriate State licensing to prove they’re legally able to operate and have met State standards.

Deaf students in regular classrooms may not register the typical audible alarm sound that indicates an emergency.
Deaf schools should have a visual emergency alert system so students receive visual notifications in the event of an emergency.

In the event of abuse, neglect, bullying, or other inappropriate behavior, there should be channels that allow for anonymous reporting and transparent procedures for the investigation and disciplinary process.

Parents investigating potential schools for their children should confirm that schools have implemented the above security measures and so are able to provide a safe environment for their students.

Middle School at the American School for the Deaf

The Middle School program offers day and residential program options at the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, Connecticut.
The Middle School program caters to children that are deaf or hard of hearing.
The Middle School program is ideal for:
  • Children aged 12-14 in Grades 6-8
  • Children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Children who could benefit from smaller class sizes and specialized services such as speech and language, audiology, and aural habilitation communication services.
  • Children who could benefit from a program based on the integration of content areas, continued development in the core standard areas and designed to encourage each student’s interest and abilities.
  • Parents or guardians who would like their child to develop language and progress toward the pursuit of independence and planning for the future.


photo of students playing on a jungle gym
One of the great advantages to studying in a deaf school is that students often enjoy a greater sense of community. This is because, at a school for the deaf, a child is not defined by their level of hearing.

Deaf students in public schools may be the only hard of hearing student in a classroom, which can be a lonely experience. In a deaf school, peers have a first-hand understanding of their experiences.
This means that children are able to access peer-to-peer support and avoid experiencing stigma and discrimination. Accommodations for deaf students are included as standard; they don’t have to be specifically requested.

Some deaf schools have a strong alumni community. This can be of huge benefit to current students as they’re able to find deaf role models and mentors.
Career Days are more relevant and inspiring for students when they feature deaf role models that students can relate to. For example; a student who wants to enter education could meet and learn from a deaf and hard of hearing teacher.

Social-Emotional Learning is also used in deaf classes as it is in mainstream schools: to reinforce social connections and support students in regulating their emotions for everyday life.
Communication and Socializing
Within a deaf school, students enjoy extra-curricular activities which foster friendship and promote social interaction.
Because all students are deaf or hard of hearing, they’re able to communicate directly without an interpreter, which can be an obstacle for deaf students in hearing schools when they try to form relationships.

Students should also receive transition and post-secondary services from their school, which provide strategies for deaf students to navigate life post-graduation. These include communication skills and learning how to independently advocate for resources.
This support is valuable for students whether they choose to enter the workplace or institutions of higher learning.
After-School Extracurricular Activities
Naturally, parents of deaf and hard of hearing children want a school that nurtures its students beyond academic excellence.
Schools for the deaf offer a variety of extra-curricular activities for deaf children.
These offer the opportunity for students to express themselves creatively, develop athletically, and form strong friendships with other students.
There are usually clubs and community collaborations organized too, and these are designed to foster a sense of belonging while supporting students to pursue their individual interests.


photo of the front of the school
To receive a license to operate, all deaf schools must meet State standards which require a certain level of health, safety and compliance. For example, all direct service staff should be trained in emergency situations.

Schools for the hard of hearing should have a visual alarm system which permits all students to be alerted in the event of an emergency.
Systems are specifically designed around deafness in the classroom. Schools should also hold regular drills so students can practice safely responding in an emergency.

Schools for deaf children are more likely to have additional health services, such as occupational therapy, present on a permanent basis on-campus. This means students can access services easily, without necessarily missing class time to do so.
It also means that students with additional needs beyond their hearing level can be appropriately supported to participate in class.

Deaf schools usually have a student health center on campus with appropriate staffing to handle emergencies. In residential schools for the deaf, this will be a 24 hour service.
Medical Supervision And Care (24/7) Medical services vary by school; however, if your child requires medication, it should always be by a qualified professional.
Many schools have health centers on campus to meet the diverse medical needs of deaf and hard of hearing children.
Most schools have a nurse on duty at all times, and others have regular visits from doctors who perform checkups on students.
There may also be specialist medical services, such as speech therapy for deaf and hard of hearing children, available on campus.
Physical Activity For Health And Well-Being
Deaf schools, like mainstream schools, appreciate the importance of physical activity for health and wellbeing. That’s why physical education classes are usually offered as part of the curriculum for all grades.
Students may be able to participate in field trips, as well as deaf camps, which involve a range of physical activities, mental/emotional and social activities.

In addition to this, deaf schools in America should offer an extra-curricular program which includes sport and other active recreational activities.
Some schools have dedicated teams -- for example, in football, basketball, or cheerleading -- which train regularly and compete in leagues.

High School at the American School for the Deaf

The High School program offers day and residential program options at the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, Connecticut.
The High School program caters to children and youth that are deaf or hard of hearing.
The High School program is ideal for:
  • Children and youth aged 15-21in Grades 9-12
  • Children and youth who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Children who could benefit from smaller class sizes and specialized services such as speech and language, audiology, and aural habilitation communication services.
  • Children and youth who could benefit from challenging academic courses, advanced technical training, or more functional academics.
  • Parents or guardians who would like their child to develop language and progress toward the pursuit of independence and planning for the future.
  • Children and youth in high school who would benefit from Transition Planning & Services
  • Children and you ages 18-21 (or 22 depending on your state) who could benefit from:
    • T-Hub, an independent work experience program building on functional academic skills, independent living skills, and community / work-based learning experiences; and
    • The Bridge Program, a 5th year program consisting of college classes and community / work-based experiences


photo of students at graduation
A common worry expressed by parents is whether their child will be self-sufficient enough after completing a deaf education program to participate in mainstream society.
This is why, alongside a comprehensive education program, deaf schools also offer transition services to prepare students for the specific challenges of life after graduation.
Resources are provided which connect students with relevant programs and services.
There are adult services for deaf people which usually have connections to deaf schools, so referrals can be made and information can be given directly from schools.
Like in mainstream schools, deaf schools in the United States have career services which help students explore their options when it comes to work and further education.
One method schools often use is the 5th year plan, in which students take a bridge year to gain hands-on career training or intensive college preparation courses.
Advocacy training may also be provided, with the objective that deaf students will be able to promote and be a champion for their own needs in any future environment they enter.
Higher Education Preparation
Many deaf or hard of hearing students choose to pursue further education when they leave school.
The support available for students in higher education institutions can vary, especially when it comes to technology for deaf students.
However, a deaf school has all the information and resources to support parents and students to discover and navigate their options post-graduation.

They will help students research and access available resources about colleges of interest, and they have the experience to help secure scholarships for deaf students.
They may also offer specific courses which prepare students for the higher education environment.
Workforce Preparation
Deaf schools will support students to find their passion in life and pursue this through their work.
Work is one way for students to become self-sufficient, so it’s imperative that deaf schools prepare students for the workplace through specific training and activities for deaf and hard of hearing students.

Deaf schools offer transition programs, which will usually offer a career-readiness component. This could include internship and work opportunities, career fairs, job shadowing, and access to mentors in fields of interest.
Deaf programs with a strong and active alumni community are especially equipped to offer this type of support.

Deaf Schools FAQs:

photo of inside the school library
How many deaf schools are in the USA?
Some parents are surprised when they realize how many deaf schools in America there are.

Currently, 49 residential schools are in operation, catering to different age groups from pre-K all the way to 12th grade. There are 47 day schools. (see our full list below)

How do deaf schools work?
Deaf schools work by providing an accessible learning environment for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

They use innovative teaching methods and technology that support the participation and inclusion of deaf or hard of hearing students.

They also provide a community for children who are able to connect with peers without experiencing obstacles to communication.

Where can I find reliable deaf children facts and information?
The National Association of the Deaf has advice for parents of newly identified deaf or hard of hearing children.
Doctors and specialists can also be reliable resources for facts and information related to deafness in childhood.

Deaf schools not only provide education for children; they can also connect the families of deaf children to useful organizations and community groups. For example, if you need a licensed hearing aid dispenser, schools can refer you to nearby services.

From what age can a deaf child sign?
This depends on the individual child; however, research shows that many deaf children begin communicating with gestures during the 6-12 month period. In the first year of life, a deaf child could learn up to 10 or more signs.

What is the history of deaf schools?
The first deaf school in the world was established in Paris in 1760. Now, there are deaf schools around the world, with 49 residential schools and 47 day schools located in the United States.

The first to write about deaf education in America were Laurent Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, the two founders of the American School for the Deaf.

What is the oldest deaf school in the USA?
The American School for the Deaf was the first school for deaf students to be established in the USA in 1817. It continues to operate today, and is one of the most well-known deaf education institutions in the world.
What is the best deaf school in USA?
The best school depends on the specific needs of the student. There is a range of facilities and methodologies to be found across different schools for deaf and hard of hearing children.

As mentioned, the longest running educational institution for deaf children is the American School for the Deaf in Connecticut.

Are there any specific apps for deaf children?
Popular apps for deaf children include GetTalking, Hear Coach, Little Ears, My Smart Hands, and iMouf.
(Note: Listing of these apps is not an endorsement in any way)

Are there schools for autistic children that are deaf or hard of hearing?
Some deaf schools may offer specific programs for autistic children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

One example is the PACES program at the American School for the Deaf which addresses the unique needs of deaf children with additional emotional or behavioral needs.

What if there are no deaf and hard of hearing schools near me?
This may be a reason to consider a residential deaf school where your child can live in community with other deaf students.

What are the residential school for the deaf pros and cons?
Parents are the best experts on whether a residential school experience is right for their child.

Some of the advantages to consider are that students can participate in accessible extracurricular activities and they live in community with other deaf children, communicating using their chosen method at all times.

How do teachers adapt lesson plans for deaf students?
Often there is greater emphasis on visual learning, and technology is used to make lessons more accessible for deaf students.

Classroom layout is designed to facilitate communication and encourage participation.

Which are the most famous deaf schools?
In the USA, one of the most famous deaf schools is the American School for the Deaf in Connecticut, because this was the first deaf school established in the country and it is still in operation today.

When it comes to higher education, Gallaudet University in Washington is well known internationally.

How can I find a regional school for the deaf?
Having read all of this information, you’re probably wondering “are there schools for deaf children near me?” Below there is a list of all deaf schools in the USA which will help you to find a local school.
How do I choose the best option from deaf schools near me?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the deaf school for your child.

Some aspects you should take into account include the school’s facilities, the faculty’s experience in deaf education, access to required specialists, parental support systems, and behavior policy.

Final Thoughts

photo of the front of the school entrance
For deaf children, school selection is especially important. It’s crucial that students are placed in the school that is best able to meet their individual needs.

Parents, as the experts on their child, should be allowed the right to choose a school that best fits their child’s needs; however, this is a choice that continues to be made by school districts in many states

Any child who is referred for Special Education must have an Initial Evaluation completed. This evaluation is very important as it determines which education options will be made available to the child.

For this reason, parents must ensure that the evaluation is conducted by professionals who are trained to work with deaf and hard of hearing students. This is a request that parents are entitled to insist upon.
What Program Is Right For My Child?

The Positive Attitudes Concerning Education and Socialization (PACES) Residential Treatment Program at the American School for the Deaf addresses the unique needs of deaf and hard of hearing children and youth, whose emotional (or) and behavioral challenges prevent them from being served in more traditional settings. PACES has an integrated model, which reinforces positive, individualized interventions, that are a part of each student's Individual Treatment Plan, and include:
  • An Individual Treatment/Behavior Intervention Plan;
  • Individual, structured, positive behavioral interventions, developed to meet each student's unique needs;
  • 12-week collaborative treatment planning meetings;
  • Therapeutic interventions such as the Expressive Therapies, including Art and Music, mindfulness activities such as groups to assist with the development of coping skills, Animal-Assisted Therapy (ART), and Therapeutic Yoga.
The Elementary School houses programs designed to serve our students' diverse needs and abilities:
  • Preschool
  • Elementary School for students in Grades K-5
  • Pre-Vocational Education Program
  • Art classes
  • Speech, Aural Habilitation and Audiological Support
  • Physical Education classes
  • Library Services

The Middle School, comprised of grades 6 through 8, offers a program based on the integration of content areas and the continued development in Core standard areas. Middle School students are encouraged to explore their interests and abilities as they progress towards independence and plan for their futures. Activities are designed to encourage students to:
  • Take risks
  • Learn from trial and error
  • Develop circumventive strategies to pursue their goals and achieve success
The High School is comprised of grades 9 through 12. After grade 12, students also have the opportunity to continue skill development as a part of their Transition plans in grade “12 +” (up to age 21). The High School offers a wide variety of programmatic options to help students fulfill their town requirements and achieve the goals and expectations reflected in their Individualized Education Plans.
The focus for the High School programs is:
  • Academic curriculum and preparation for college program enrollment
  • Vocational-Technical Education and preparation for post-secondary program enrollment
  • Preparation and training for direct entry into the workforce


List of Deaf Schools USA:

photo of a common area inside the school
Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind
205 South Street E, Talladega, Alabama
American School for the Deaf
39 N Main St, West Hartford, Connecticut
Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind
1200 W Speedway Blvd, Tucson, Arizona
Arkansas School for the Deaf
2400 W Markham St, Little Rock, Arkansas
Alexander Graham Bell Montessori School
9300 Capitol Dr, Wheeling, Illinois
Archbishop Ryan School for the Deaf
4251 L. Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Atlanta Area School for the Deaf
890 N Indian Creek Dr, Clarkston, Georgia
Beverly School for the Deaf
6 Echo Ave, Beverly, Massachusetts
Blossom Montessori School for the Deaf
14088 Icot Blvd, Clearwater, Florida
Bruce Street School for the Deaf
333 Clinton Pl, Newark, New Jersey
California School for the Deaf, Fremont
39350 Gallaudet Dr, Fremont, California
California School for the Deaf, Riverside
3044 Horace St, Riverside, California
Central Institute for the Deaf
825 S Taylor Ave, St. Louis, Missouri
Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech - Northampton
45 Round Hill Road, Northampton, Massachusetts
Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech - Boston
1 Whitman Road, Canton, Massachusetts
Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech - Jacksonville
9803 Old St. Augustine Rd., Suite 7, Jacksonville, Florida
Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech - New York
80 East End Avenue, New York City, New York
Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech - Philadelphia
2 Penn Blvd., Suite 220, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cleary School for the Deaf
301 Smithtown Blvd, Nesconset, New York
Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind
33 N Institute St, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Delaware School for the Deaf
630 E Chestnut Hill Rd, Newark, Delaware
Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf
1311 US-301, Wilson, North Carolina
Echo Horizon School
3430 McManus Ave, Culver City, California
EDCO Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
457 Walnut St, Newton, Massachusetts
Florida School for the Deaf and Blind
207 San Marco Ave, St. Augustine, Florida
Georgia School for the Deaf
232 Perry Farm Rd SW, Cave Spring, Georgia
Governor Baxter School for the Deaf
Andrews Ave, Falmouth, Maine
Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind
3440 Leahi Ave, Honolulu, Hawaii
Harvest Christian Academy for the Deaf
1314 Old Three Notch Rd, Ringgold, Georgia
Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
40 Armington St, Allston, Massachusetts
Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind
1450 Main St, Gooding, Idaho
Illinois School for the Deaf
125 S Webster Ave, Jacksonville, Illinois
Indiana School for the Deaf
1200 E 42nd St, Indianapolis, Indiana
Iowa School for the Deaf
3501 Harry Langdon Blvd, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Jean Massieu Academy
823 N Center St, Arlington, Texas
Jean Massieu School of the Deaf
1655 E 3300 S, Salt Lake City, Utah
John Powers Center
201 W Hawthorn Pkwy, Vernon Hills, Illinois
John Tracy Center
2160 West Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, California
Kansas State School for the Deaf
450 E Park St, Olathe, Kansas
Kentucky School for the Deaf
303 S 2nd St, Danville, Kentucky
Kendall Demonstration Elementary School
800 Florida Ave NE, Washington, District of Columbia
Louisiana School for the Deaf
2888 Brightside Dr, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Lake Drive Program
10 Lake Dr, Mountain Lakes, New Jersey
Lexington School and Center for the Deaf
25-26 75th St, East Elmhurst, New York
Magnolia Speech School
733 N Flag Chapel Rd, Jackson, Mississippi
Marlton School
4000 Santo Tomas Dr, Los Angeles, California
Maryland School for the Deaf (Columbia Campus)
8169 Old Montgomery Rd, Ellicott City, Maryland
Maryland School for the Deaf (Frederick Campus)
101 Clarke Pl, Frederick, Maryland
Memphis Oral School for the Deaf
7901 Poplar Ave, Germantown, Tennessee
Metro Deaf School
1125 Energy Park Dr, St. Paul, Minnesota
Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf
40 Frost Mill Rd, Mill Neck, New York
Moog Center for Deaf Education
12300 S Forty Dr, St. Louis, Missouri
Michigan School for the Deaf
1235 W Court St, Flint, Michigan
Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf
 615 Olof Hanson Dr, Faribault, Minnesota
Mississippi School for the Deaf
1253 Eastover Dr, Jackson, Mississippi
Missouri School for the Deaf
505 E 5th St, Fulton, Missouri
Model Secondary School for the Deaf
800 Florida Ave NE, Washington, District of Columbia
Montana School for the Deaf and Blind
3911 Central Ave, Great Falls, Montana
New Jersey School for the Deaf
PO Box 500, Trenton, New Jersey
New Mexico School for the Deaf
1060 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, New Mexico
New York State School for the Deaf
401 Turin St, Rome, New York
North Carolina School for the Deaf
517 W Fleming Dr, Morganton, North Carolina
New York School for the Deaf
555 Knollwood Rd, White Plains, New York
North Dakota School for the Deaf
1401 College Dr N, Devils Lake, North Dakota
Northwest School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
15303 Westminster Way N, Shoreline, Washington
Ohio School for the Deaf
500 Morse Rd, Columbus, Ohio
Oklahoma School for the Deaf
1100 E Oklahoma Ave, Sulphur, Oklahoma
Oregon School for the Deaf
999 Locust St NE, Salem, Oregon
Pennsylvania School for the Deaf
100 W School House Ln, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Phoenix Day School for the Deaf
7654 N 19th Ave, Phoenix, Arizona
Rochester School for the Deaf
1545 St Paul St, Rochester, New York
Rhode Island School for the Deaf
1 Corliss Park, Providence, Rhode Island
Rocky Mountain Deaf School
10300 W Nassau Ave, Denver, Colorado
Scranton State School for the Deaf
 537 Venard Rd, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania
South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind
355 Cedar Springs Rd, Spartanburg, South Carolina
St. Mary's School for the Deaf
2253 Main St, Buffalo, New York
Sequoia School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
1460 S Horne, Mesa, Arizona
St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf
260 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, New York
St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf
1314 Strassner Dr, Brentwood, Missouri
St. Joseph's School for the Deaf
1000 Hutchinson River Pkwy, The Bronx, New York
St. Rita School for the Deaf
720 Glendale Milford Rd, Cincinnati, Ohio
Summit Speech School
705 Central Ave # 1, New Providence, New Jersey
Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children
603 E Hildebrand Ave, San Antonio, Texas
Tennessee School for the Deaf
2725 Island Home Blvd, Knoxville, Tennessee
Texas School for the Deaf
1102 S Congress Ave, Austin, Texas
Tucker Maxon School
2860 SE Holgate Blvd, Portland, Oregon
The Learning Center for the Deaf
848 Central St, Framingham, Massachusetts
Utah School for the Deaf and Blind
742 S Harrison Blvd, Ogden, Utah
Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind
104 VSDB Dr, Staunton, Virginia
Washington School for the Deaf
611 Grand Blvd, Vancouver, Washington
West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind
301 E Main St, Romney, West Virginia
Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf
300 E Swissvale Ave, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
West Tennessee School for the Deaf
100 Berryhill Dr, Jackson, Tennessee
Willie Ross School for the Deaf
32 Norway St, Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Wisconsin School for the Deaf
309 W Walworth Ave, Delavan, Wisconsin

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