"How do we effectively work with teachers and support staff to help them understand and carry out their deaf and hard of hearing students' IEPs?" is one of the questions I and fellow Deaf and Hard of Hearing teachers frequently discuss.
It can be a challenge because of the limited amount of time we get to spend with each teacher. Currently, I work directly with at least sixty different teachers and support staff members associated with the deaf and hard of hearing students I serve. Indirectly, I deal with at least a fifty more different teachers and staff members to ensure deaf and hard of hearing students are getting the support they require at the schools they attend. There are so many people to educate, but so little time.
I think it really depends on the situation, the kind of student you have, the services and accommodations he or she requires, the relationship you have with the teacher or staff member, the school, the day and time, etc.
There are several ways I have been able to get some teachers and support staff members to understand and actually implement what is written in the IEP.
Usually, I try my best to keep in constant touch with the teachers in person and through emails (also known as consultative services). I always feel terrible when I am not able to keep in touch with teachers as much as I would like to due to schedule conflicts.
I always carry a copy of the student's IEP information or accommodations and services page for reference.
I try to get together as many teachers as possible at one school a few times a year for a quick tutorial on hearing loss, student information, IEPs, and to discuss any questions or concerns they may have.
Sometimes, if a teacher continues to not follow the IEP, I have to be assertive. I don't like doing this. It can be uncomfortable. But sometimes they need a stern reminder of what the students require in order for them to be successful in class and why.
I find that the most effective way is to educate the students about their IEPs and to teach them how to advocate for themselves. By the time they are in high school, I expect students to know and understand what is in their IEP. I encourage them to attend IEP meetings and to voice their concerns and ideas. I expect them to ask questions and to be curious about their IEPs. It is important for them to ask, "What is this? Why do I need this accommodation or service?" I usually write an objective in high school students' IEPs to meet with and discuss their accommodations and services with all of their teachers. Middle school students are expected to meet and talk with at least two teachers. It can be difficult to get the very shy students who rarely like to speak up in class to do this. But, once the student becomes more comfortable with advocating for him or herself, getting teachers to follow and implement their IEPs becomes easier. I find that the teachers pay more attention to what the student has to say than just speaking with me. What the student requires in order to be successful in their classroom becomes more apparent when they are getting the information and feedback directly from their student. Some teachers have told me that after they met with the deaf or hard of hearing student, it became clearer and makes them more aware of their students' needs and how they can accommodate them.
Educating others effectively is a tough job that no one can do by themselves. It helps a great deal when students work with their teachers and become more involved with themselves and their education.