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Total Communication

By | August 2010
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There are several educational choices for the deaf and hard of hearing children. One option is a state residential hearing impaired facility such as Michigan School for the deaf. Total communication is an important part of educating students in the public school system. Total communication is defined as using sign language, voice, finger-spelling, lip-reading, gestures, or visual images to communicate effectively with people who have hearing disabilities. Many parents of hearing impaired children prefer to place their child in public schools rather than a residential setting as long as there are available resources to help the child succeed.

Total communication in the public schools is an important part of educating deaf and hard of hearing students. Total communication is defined as using sign language, voice, fingerspelling, lipreading, gestures, or visual images to communicate effectively with people that have hearing disabilities. (1). Total communication is a valuable asset to students not only for language skills, but also for social acceptance in the hearing and deaf cultures.

There are several educational choices for students that have hearing disabilities. For the purpose of this paper we are going to focus on public schools that provide total communication as an option. Some parents like the idea of placing their child in a public school setting as long as there are available resources to help the student succeed. Mainstreaming is a placement option in which children go to regular classes and also attend special education classes. A valuable resource in the classroom is an interpreter. An interpreter uses sign language along with voicing, fingerspelling and lip-reading to provide understanding of what is being taught. Also the interpreter can facilitate deaf students participation in group activities. Interpreters are an extremely important part of Total Communication. It is their job to make sure the student has full understanding of the...

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