Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Overview

The SASED Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program serves students with identified hearing losses from the 92 member school districts of DuPage/West Cook Regional Association.  The Early Childhood through 8th grade classrooms are located in several schools throughout the SASED member districts in DuPage County. Using a Total Communication philosophy, traditional and modified academic content is taught with an emphasis on language development.  A wide variety of communication methods are utilized. Oral communication or speech, written communication and manual communication through the use of conceptually accurate signed English, are all used to assist students as they fill in the language and vocabulary gaps caused by their hearing loss.


Students are determined to be eligible for the SASED Deaf and Hard of Hearing program through the IEP process in their home districts.  SASED programs are just one option in the continuum of supports, services and placements available to meet a student’s needs.

Curriculum and Instruction

Students who are deaf or hard of hearing from preschool through junior high are learning to “see sounds” in words with the use of visual phonics. All SASED DHH staff are now certified to use a system called See the Sound: Visual Phonics. It is a system of handshapes and written symbols that represent the sounds in English.  It is not a communication system like cued speech.  Instead it complements the teaching of phonics and phonemic awareness for students who cannot hear all or some of the sounds in words.  The system was developed by a mother with a deaf son.

The teachers, speech therapists, and students are all excited with the implementation of Visual Phonics. Teachers have embraced this tool for teaching spelling rules, pronunciation of new vocabulary, and decoding unfamiliar words in reading.  Speech therapists have found it helps students with articulation and speech reading lessons since the handshapes mimic the tongue or mouth shape for each sound.  Students have found that letter combinations have rules and are not just a random sequence of symbols. Finally, they have a way of figuring out the subtle differences between similar looking words! Parents are curious about this new approach and have been eager to learn it too.


The SASED Diagnostic services team made more information and resources available to community members, families, district representatives and professional staff.  Guests and families can access information through the Parent Resources link at the top of this page.  DuPage/West Cook and SASED district administrators and professional staff can access referral forms and information through the MySASED portal at the top of the page.  

Contact Information

For additional information about Deaf and Hard of Hearing, please contact: