“It shouldn’t matter how slow some children learn as long as we are encouraging them not to stop.” – Robert John Meehan
Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind is a unique and special school where all students who are enrolled are dependent on their Special Education Individualized Education Program (IEP) and its placement. Students at HSDB are either Deaf or Hard of Hearing and users (or potential users) of American Sign Language (ASL). Within this population, there are many students who have additional challenges – such as language delays, cognitive delays, vision loss, behavior difficulties, attention problems, Autistic Spectrum disorder, and other challenges. Over 50% of HSDB’s students have additional challenges. Where possible, all students are included with their peers and as needed, with staff support.
When a student’s additional challenges are too much for them to function in a classroom with their peers (even with support), a separate Special Needs classroom is provided. Less than 4% of HSDB students are served in the Special Needs classroom. The Special Needs class provides students who need such support an environment in which their IEP goals and objectives can be implemented and practiced. This classroom incorporates class routines and structure that provide consistency to students with additional special needs. It also includes consistent and spiraled communication, language exposure and lessons. Where possible, it includes academic subjects (such as math, science, English textual language). Additionally, it incorporates components of Community-Based Instruction (CBI) to help expose the students to their natural environment and interact in it.
Like other classes at HSDB, Special Needs students are taught HSDB’s moral code – C.A.R.E.S.
Respect and Responsibility
Our goal in Special Needs is to provide an environment where our students who have additional challenges develop communication skills, academic skills, and positive social skills, where they are able to interact with peers and adults and where they become successful in their life’s pursuits.