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Donna O’Neill

Florida School for the Deaf and Blind
Special Needs Middle School

Advice for future teachers of deaf students with additional disabilities:
Take advantage of all of your available resources; fellow teachers, conferences, internet etc.
Forget the “labels” put on your kids
Have nothing but high expectations
don’t ever forget the importance of patience and flexibility
Teacher’s aids play key roles in the special education classrooms for both instructional and behavioral management purposes.
Body language and the sheer use of presence is an excellent tool for additional behavioral management.
The use of scaffolding in lessons is very beneficial for deaf students with additional disabilities, especially those with language related disabilities.
The use of visuals, manipulatives and hands-on activates are beneficial tools for any lesson.
The biggest struggle for all deaf students (with or without addition disabilities) is the acquisition and mastery of language.
Background knowledge and exposure are key elements to building language skills.
While a self-contained classroom can be beneficial for instruction purposes, exposure to general education settings promote social experiences and personal growth.

Advice for parents of deaf students with additional disabilities:
Patience, patience, patience!
Take advantage of any teachable moment at home
Learn sign language as early as possible not only to help build your child’s language skills, but to keep a close relationship with your child.

*Interview by Jennifer S. Lang, UNF