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PROGRAMS FOR DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING STUDENTS

Mission Statement

 

SVUSD ACE Program

Achieving Communication Equity for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

Communication access is a fundamental human right. The Simi Valley Unified School District (SVUSD) is committed to all Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) students having full access to their educational environment. This will facilitate the development of the necessary language, literacy, academic, and technological skills required to become engaged learners, confident self-advocates, and active participants in their schools and communities. Through collaboration, all staff empower the diverse DHH student community from birth - 22 years old with varying hearing levels that range from mild to profound, unilateral and bilateral, conductive and sensorineural hearing impacts, as well as students with additional disabilities.  Our students utilize a range of hearing technology and communication modalities. We have an inclusive communication philosophy based on student needs and informed parent preferences.  In partnership with other agencies, we foster the empowerment of the family support system through family education.  We encourage parents to be active language models for their children.


 

We support and to the best of our ability implement the California Deaf Child’s Bill of Rights:

 

Whatever the mode of communication being used by a deaf or hard of hearing child, it must be respected.  Deaf and hard of hearing children have a right to have teachers, psychologists, assessment staff, and other professionals who are fluent in the language being used by the student. It is also important that deaf and hard of hearing students are educated with a sufficient number of other deaf and hard of hearing classmates to allow free, open, and spontaneous communication. Every child who is deaf or hard of hearing has the right to have full access to all educational services and school-sponsored activities.  

 

Vision Statement - From Here to Anywhere 

Our highly qualified team is dedicated to developing students’ intellectual, social, and emotional potential to the fullest, creating a foundation for students to grow into productive contributing members of today’s society. SVUSD is dedicated to educating and servicing students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing with the development of their language abilities (ASL and English) to use content knowledge and problem-solving skills at the highest levels possible. 

In order to access their education and be self-sufficient adults, students need to know how to self-advocate.  DHH students will learn about the hearing mechanism, how to read and interpret their audiograms, listening and communication repair strategies, develop self-advocacy skills, how to effectively utilize and troubleshoot their hearing technology, and how to effectively work with an interpreter.  If additional language/vocabulary support is needed, goals will be developed to address student need.

 

SVUSD DHH ACE PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Accessing Communication Equity

 

ACE-EI  Accessing Communication Equity - Early Intervention Services, Birth-Three

The Simi Valley Early Start Regional Infant Program provides individualized intervention to families and their Deaf and Hard of Hearing babies.  Early intervention services build upon and provide supports and resources to assist family members and caregivers to understand the potential implications of their child’s hearing level and their access to develop spoken language.  Our Early Intervention Teachers provide information, skill development, and resources to assist parents to enhance their baby’s language development and learning through everyday learning opportunities.  

Our mission is to educate parents to make informed choices about their child’s language development and chosen communication modality.  We educate parents on the benefits of learning American Sign Language as well as utilizing different strategies to promote their baby’s listening and spoken language skills.  We believe in providing information about all options and that learning ASL AND developing listening and spoken language skills are not mutually exclusive, but complimentary and inclusive.  We respect and support parents’ decisions for their child.  

Our services are provided individually in home-based, community-based, or district-site settings as well as play group activities.  Our Early Start Infant Program team includes Teachers of the Deaf educated in Bilingual/Bimodal (ASL/English) and Listening and Spoken Language practices, Speech Pathologists, Early Intervention providers, and Occupational and Physical Therapists, as needed. Our team members collaborate with families and each other to provide integrated and cohesive services in the child’s natural environment. 

Our Regional Infant program serves families with Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing babies who live in the Eastern Ventura County area.  

 

The ACE Preschool/TK Program at Justin Early Learners Academy

 

The ACE Preschool and Transitional Kindergarten program is a play-based language rich environment serving children 3-5 years old who are Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing.   All areas of development are addressed including language, communication, social, behavior, pre-academic, and motor skills through developmentally appropriate activities and structured play.  

 

The ACE Preschool class is a mix of hearing and DHH students with varying hearing levels.  Our highly qualified Deaf Education Specialists are co-teaching in the PK/TK class daily providing small group focused ASL and/or listening and spoken language activities.  Preschool/TK students are supported in spoken English and ASL through support of a ASL fluent paraprofessionals.

Elementary School Level

 

The ACE Resource Program at Mountain View Elementary

Mountain View Elementary School hosts SVUSD’s DHH Resource Classroom.  Our highly qualified DHH Education Specialist is on-site 5 mornings a week, working with students individually, in small groups, and pushing-in to support in the general education classrooms, as determined by each students’ individual IEPS.  A weekly DHH Social Group is held to teach American Sign Language, communication repair strategies, self-advocacy, and Deaf Community/Culture awareness.  Additionally, the DHH Education Specialist consults with the general education teachers ongoingly to support the students’ unique needs. Mountain View Elementary School’s administrator and staff have experience effectively integrating students with varying hearing levels and communication modes.  American Sign Language is accessible for all daily morning school assemblies as well as any other school events. A Sign Language club/class will be offered to students after school.  Speech and Language services are provided with consultation from or in collaboration with the Education Specialist of DHH Students, Listening and Spoken Language Specialist, Educational Audiologist, and/or the student’s signing support staff, as determined by their IEP teams.

 

Other Elementary School Sites:  DHH students attending a different elementary school receive Itinerant DHH Education Specialist, ASL Interpreter, and/or signing paraeducator services as determined by their IEP teams.

Secondary Schools*

 

Middle Schools: DHH students attending any of the 3 District Middle Schools receive Itinerant DHH Education Specialist, ASL Interpreter, and/or signing paraeducator services as determined by their IEP teams. 

 

Royal High School ACE Resource Program  

Royal High School houses SVUSD’s DHH Resource Program at the High School level.  Our highly qualified DHH Education Specialist is on-site 4 afternoons a week. The DHH Education Specialist provides consultation and collaboration to the SAI and General Education teachers and staff, including lesson planning and co-teaching with SAI English for specific grade levels.  Students are supported by ASL Interpreters or signing paraeducator services as determined by their IEP teams.  American Sign Language I and II are offered as electives and meet the World Language requirements.

 

  • A twice monthly DHH Community Group is held to teach communication repair strategies, self-advocacy, and Deaf Community/Culture awareness, and information about agencies that can support students post-graduation.

  • Moderate-Severe Functional Skills Special Day Class: The focus of this class is to meet the educational, behavioral, social-emotional needs of our students with moderate-severe disabilities. The DHH Education Specialist provides consultation and collaboration to the teacher and staff, including lesson planning and co-teaching self-advocacy.  Additionally, the program currently has an ASL interpreter, and signing paraprofessionals to provide language access to students of varying cognitive abilities.  

Other High Schools: DHH students attending a different high school receive Itinerant DHH Education Specialist, ASL Interpreter, and/or signing paraeducator services as determined by their IEP teams. 

 

*Students may have the opportunity to attend the California School for the Deaf, Riverside in order to receive direct instruction in American Sign Language, and be with a critical mass of DHH signing peers and adults.  For more information, contact Laine Podell, Program Specialist at the SVUSD District Office.

Our Team

Kimberly Mayalall - Secondary Programs

Zoe Harmala - Elementary Programs

Catherine Rodrigues - Infant and Preschool Programs

Ricki Bernardo - Infant and Preschool Programs,

and LSL Intervention ages 0-22

Laine Podell - Program Specialist

Melissa Garafalo-Culmer, Educational Audiologist, VCOE

And a number of dedicated ASL Interpreters and Signing Paraprofessionals