What do you mean by Hearing Impairment?

A student with a hearing impairment is one who has a lack of or reduction in the ability to hear clearly. The problem may occur in the outer, middle, or inner ear or along the pathway to the brain. The degree of hearing loss may range from mild to profound.

When might I suspect that my child has a hearing problem?

Because a hearing impairment is unseen and may go undetected, it is often called the "invisible" disability. When a child has any of the following characteristics, the parent should consult with a doctor who specializes in hearing disorders.

  • Lack of or limited response to sound or speech

  • Lack of or delayed speech and language skills

  • Frequent ear infections

If I have a concern, what should I do?

  1. Share your observations and concerns with:

    1. Your pediatrician or ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT)
    2. Your child’s teacher, speech-language clinician, or the guidance counselor
  2. Follow-up with any recommended medical management procedures or medications prescribed by your doctor or ENT. If an audiological evaluation is recommended, this can be completed through the Orange County Audiology Department or your private audiologist. To schedule an appointment with the Orange County Audiology Department, call 407-897-6421.

  3. Share all new information with school personnel. Ask what educational services area available to help your child.

  4. If your child is age 0 to 5, please contact PDIS at

  5. 5-21 your school's staffing specialist or child's teacher.

What services are available through the schools?

The Orange County Public School System has a continuum of services for students with hearing impairments from birth through age 22. These services range from consultation to placement in a self-contained program. Classes are located on regular school campuses, and the amount of time the student spends in an exceptional education class is determined by individual student need.

 Instruction is provided using several communication modes. Total communication and an auditory approach are available at elementary school and supported throughout high school.

Early communication skills are facilitated in the Parent/Infant Toddler program.

Service Delivery Models

Consultation - Student is a member of a regular or Exceptional Student Education classroom. The itinerant teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing consults with the child’s classroom teacher(s).

Itinerant/Resource Services - Students receive instruction in specialized auditory training, language, literacy, and self-advocacy skills for part of the school day on an identified schedule. These services may be provided in the child’s classroom or in a separate room on the school campus.

Students spend almost all of their instructional day with a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing. This class is usually smaller than a regular education class. There may be more than one grade level in the class. The curriculum is adapted or modified to meet the individual needs of the student.

How will the program benefit my child?

Once in the program the emphasis is on individualized instruction that develops language, literacy, academic and self-advocacy skills. Each year an annual review meeting is held with the parents, the teacher and other professionals who work with your child. Together, the committee will develop an individual educational plan (IEP) to meet the needs of your child.

The Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Program will provide the appropriate educational setting and degree of specialized services and accommodations to assist the student in meeting classroom demands. Proper placement and support will provide a foundation for your child to function successfully at school, within the family structure and as a contributing member of society.

How can I help?

Parents are encouraged to:

  • Be a team member, become involved

  • Follow audiological recommendations

  • Keep ear molds and hearing aids in good working condition

  • Reinforce language

  • Read to your child at home

  • Help your child develop a healthy self-concept

  • Encourage independence

  • Seek counseling, if necessary

What if my child does not meet eligibility?

If your child is evaluated and does not meet eligibility for the program, you may want to meet with personnel from your child’s school to discuss other options for providing appropriate accommodations. To learn more about 504's, click here.

What is the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB)?

The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is located in St. Augustine, FL. Residential and day programs are provided for eligible students Prekindergarten through 12th grade. Information on the school and enrollment criteria is available at

Contact Information

Orange County Public Schools
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Program
(407) 317-3437

Preschool Diagnostic Intervention Services (PDIS)
(407) 317-3503

Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources Systems (FDLRS)
(407) 317-3660

Orange County Public Schools
Audiology Department
(407) 897-6421 ext. 1

Hearing Screening Program
(407) 897-6422