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Jan 08
District hosts info sessions for families of deaf and hard of hearing students

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Surrey Schools is hosting three information sessions (Jan. 14, 16 & 20) for families of students who are deaf or hard of hearing. (Photo: iStock)


It's been a challenging year for all students, but hearing-impaired students face different challenges, which is why Surrey Schools is hosting a series of information sessions for families of students who are deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH).

Parents will have an opportunity to attend one of three sessions virtually over Zoom to learn about introducing American Sign Language (ASL), literacy, language and culture to D/HH children, whether their child already attends school or will begin kindergarten in September. They will also have the ability to provide input on the variety of options available to help their child's learning.

"Parents will be learning about what services and resources are available to them, and what programs will be offered from Provincial Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services and us in the winter and spring," said Erin Pranzl, a language acquisition support worker. "We wanted to take the opportunity to meet with families and listen to what they feel their children need from the school to accommodate their needs."

Growing up, Pranzl said she attended school with a speech therapist and an ASL interpreter, which normalized hearing impairment with other students, as well a math teacher who was deaf. However, she said D/HH students are very spread out in Surrey, and there are not enough interpreters or education assistants who know ASL to accommodate all of the students.

"Our goal is to try set up a program like I had growing up, and it would be an excellent way to provide all students with as much access as they can have," she said, noting Mary Jane Shannon Elementary is working to host a program like this for multiple D/HH students with speech therapists, interpreters, and teachers and EAs who understand sign language.

Pranzl said the switch to remote instruction last year brought unique challenges for D/HH students, which teachers and EAs have worked to overcome remotely and with the return to classrooms.

"Deaf and hard of hearing students are already isolated in their own classroom, even students who hear really well only get 50% of what their peers talk about in classroom," said Pranzl, adding that videos with captions, microphones for teachers and amplified hearing devices are just a few technologies that can help student learning in class and at home.

The information sessions will feature Pranzl as well as Student Support District Principal Diana DiCesare and a special guest from Provincial Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services. The dates and times are as follows:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 12, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 14, 8-9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Jan. 16, 10-11:30 a.m.


Each session will include a language interpreter and will be delivered online via Zoom, with the Zoom invite sent to parents with their registration confirmation. To register, families are required to email Pranzl at epranzl@surreyschools.ca with the following information to complete registration:

  1. Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s) full name;
  2. child's name and age, and;
  3. the family's preferred language at home.

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