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E-Michigan Deaf and Hard of Hearing People.
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This section provides information regarding the wide range of educational programs and services available for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in the state of Michigan. Our goal is to offer a resource packed with news you can use.

Topics Include:

Continuum of Educational Programs

School districts in Michigan offer a range of educational programs for students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. These programs include:

Early Intervention

Educational opportunities start with early intervention programs for infants. Most hospitals throughout the state of Michigan routinely evaluate newborns to determine if they experience hearing difficulties (Click here for more on Early Hearing Detection).

When parents learn that their child experiences hearing difficulties, they are encouraged to contact the special education director in their local school district or the Early Intervention Program in the local Intermediate School District. (ISD). Parents and school staff will then meet to review the child’s eligibility for special education services (MET certification process, IEPT meeting).

The Michigan Department of Education maintains a list of all of Michigan’s ISD’s and Regional Education Service Areas (RESA or RESD). Click here to see the list.

For the E–Michigan information and resources on Early Intervention Click Here.

Early On Michigan coordinates early intervention and other services for families with children (ages 0–3) who have special needs, including hearing loss.

K–12 Education Programs

The MI School Directory has listings of public and charter schools in Michigan.

Students with disabilities are offered a range of educational options within the Michigan public school system. Choice of program is ideally guided by the student’s unique learning needs. Not all Intermediate School Districts (ISD) have the resources to fully implement each option. Parents who understand the options available will be in the best position to advocate for their child.
See the E–Michigan Parent section for more.

Regular Education with support services
Students attend academic general education classes and elective classes (gym, art, etc.) with support services as determined by the IEP team (i.e. speech and language, oral interpreter, sign language interpreter, etc.).

Part–time regular education with Resource Room services
Students attend general education classes for all or most academics (in addition to elective classes). The schedule includes time in a Resource Room for additional academic support for specific subjects that present the most difficulty for the student.

Self–contained special education classes in regular education buildings
Students attend special education classes for academic instruction with the option of attending select academic classes within a general education classroom. Students also have the option of attending electives classes.

Day School Programs in separate buildings
Students attend special education classes within a building that does not provide general education instruction.

Residential School
Traditionally, residential schools have played an important role in the Deaf community. Besides providing specialized services and supports for deaf and hard of hearing students, they also provide a unique social environment including the full range of extra curricular activities. Many Deaf adults are committed to supporting residential school students and are involved as teachers, staff, role models, and mentors. Michigan’s residential program is the Michigan School for the Deaf.


Post–secondary education is an important choice for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. These programs include community colleges, universities, and technological institutes throughout Michigan. Deaf and Hard of Hearing post–secondary students are more likely to succeed where accommodations are available such as: sign language interpreters, oral interpreters, real–time captioning, and note–takers.

For further information about post–secondary educational opportunities, contact the community college, university, or technological institute of interest. Ask to speak with the office that specifically addresses accommodations and services for students with disabilities.

The State of Michigan Higher Education page includes a listing of Michigan’s Colleges, information on financial aid, and more….

The Michigan Career and Technical Institute [,1607,7-122-1681_2913---,00.html] offers career orientated training programs. The school is a program of Michigan Rehabilitation Services.

In the E–Michigan Youth area, we have included information about Post–Secondary programs with a mission to serve deaf and hard of hearing students.

Educational Services

Parents take part in determining what is appropriate for their child or children. To obtain information and educational services for your child, first contact the special education director of your local school district or your Intermediate School District. When your local school district learns of your request for educational services, the following events will generally occur:

  • Parents and school staff will meet to determine your child’s eligibility for special education services. As a team, you will complete a Multi–Disciplinary Evaluation (MET) that includes medical reports that confirm your child’s hearing loss (audiological and otological reports). Click here to view a list and description of potential MET team members and other supporters.

  • After completing the MET, you and school staff will meet for an Individualized Educational Planning Team meeting (IEPT). During the IEPT, the team will list the student’s individual strengths and needs, establish educational goals and objectives, determine appropriate services, and identify the most appropriate educational placement.

  • This educational team (parents and school staff) will meet once a year, or sooner by request, to review the IEPT goals, objectives, services, and placement to meet the changing needs of the student.

Educational programs may include a variety of communication modes such as:

  • American Sign Language
  • Manually coded English
  • Auditory Oral
  • Visual Oral (Cued Speech)
  • Visual (Real–Time Captioning)

Visit our Parents page for a description of these communication approaches.

Support services (also called Ancillary Services) may include:

  • Audiology
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Teacher consultant
  • School social worker
  • School psychologist

Additional support services that may be part of the student’s program include:

  • American Sign Language instruction
  • Interpreting services (oral interpreters, sign language interpreters, real–time captioning, cued speech)
  • Note–taking services
  • Auditory training
  • Assistive listening equipment
  • Captioned video materials
  • Telecommunications / computer
  • Other services the IEPT determines necessary to meet the individual student’s needs (i.e. occupational therapy, physical therapy, transportation)

Educational Rights

Educational rights are protected by federal and state law. Federal Law PL 105–17; otherwise known as the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act (IDEA) mandates a free and appropriate public education for all students with a disability. IDEA also mandates that educational programming be provided in the student’s least restrictive environment. Michigan Public Law 291 of 1995, the Mandatory Special Education Act; requires special education programming designed to develop the maximum potential of all eligible students from birth through age 25. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires a barrier–free environment. For more information regarding these rules, contact your local school district or the Michigan Department of Education.

The Michigan Division on Deaf and Hard of Hearing website includes information on deaf children’s education rights.

The following links provide in–depth information about these laws:

Click here for a list of agencies and organizations that provide information and/or advocacy related to special education services.

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