Family Needs Assessment


Section 5

School-Age Years

The School Years 

Once the child turns 3 years old, educational services are provided under Part B of IDEA with the development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which serves as the foundation of a child's access to the general curriculum under special education. The IEP is focused on the needs of the child.

Satisfaction with preschool placement options showed the most polarized responses on the survey. Over 30 percent of respondents strongly disagreed with the statement "The public school system fully offered the preschool placement that my family desired for my child."

Although elementary school placement options were rated higher, over 20 percent of respondents strongly disagreed that "The public school system fully offered the elementary school placement that my family desired for my child."

Geography and local support availability are important drivers of parents' experience.

Public School Provision of Desired Placement Option


Families noted these most common challenges with IEP development:

  • A perception of a lack of flexibility from the school district on an appropriate IEP
  • A sense of not having appropriate support from experts on the IEP team
  • A need to justify an IEP when a child is performing at grade level in mainstream classes

In terms of the types of supports provided for school-age children, more than 90% of respondents indicated that their children were in schools that supplied assistive listening devices, such as FM systems or FM soundfield systems. Preferential seating and acoustically friendly classrooms were rated the second and third most available, with 64 percent and 40.7 percent respectively.

Which Educational Support Services Did the Local Public School Make Available? 

Support % of respondents
Auditory Listening Device, such as FM System or FMSoundField 90.4%
Preferential seating 64.0%
Acoustically friendly classroom(s) 40.7%
Captioning on videos 16.0%
Sign language Interpreter 11.0%
Notetaker 4.2%
Cued Speech Transliterator 3.9%
Oral interpreter 2.8%
CART 0.8%

Note: Parents were asked to check all that apply.

Self-Advocacy and Transitions 

Self-advocacy skills in children with hearing loss are essential. Self-advocacy is the ability of the child to describe his or her own skills and needs for communication, for parents and children to set goals and develop a plan to reach them, and advocacy for legal and legislative rights and accommodations for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

While self-advocacy was rated as necessary at all age levels, the transition points to elementary, middle and high school represented a jump in the need for these skills. While extremely necessary in middle school, training to support these skills is very important to instill in elementary school. 

Parents noted the need, particularly in younger children, to develop these skills for activities outside of school, where the structure and experience of teachers and therapists cannot be relied upon.