MDUSD Deaf and
Hard of Hearing Program
The Mt. Diablo School District Program for students whose primary disability is deafness or
mild-to-moderate hearing loss, has an approximate population of ninety-seven students.
The infant program serves students ages zero to three, and students who reside in Mt. Diablo
boundaries. The Pre-School to Transition programs serve students from San Ramon SELPA,
and Contra Costa SELPA. A Memorandum of Understanding between SELPAS outlines services
and agreements and is renewed yearly.
The program uses Signing Exact English as well as oral modes of communication, based on
students’ Individualized Educational Programs. The teachers in the program are credentialed and
proficient in sign language. The maximum number of students allowed in a specific class is nine.
Each class has an assistant also proficient in sign language. An audiologist provides hearing tests,
consults with staff, and assists with purchasing and maintaining the assistive listening devices. The
audiologist also facilitates working with outside agencies and hospitals concerning students with
Some students are served in the Special Day Class setting and some students are fully
mainstreamed. There are two itinerant teachers who support the students in the mainstream
classes. The students are pre-taught, tutored and monitored by these teachers and other staff. One
teacher works with elementary and middle school students, and another works at the high school
and post-secondary level.
The students, who are mainstreamed full-time or part-time, have Educational Interpreters in the
regular setting. These interpreters are fully certified in sign language and are the communication
link between students, staff and the school community.
The program has been at the same school sites for almost thirty years. The challenges are that
many students have secondary disabilities, such as autism, learning disabilities, or emotional
disturbances. As a result, the staff needs additional training and support to meet the needs of these
students. In addition, many of the students come into the program from countries which do not
have programs for the Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing. They also come from families which speak a variety
of other languages (see the listing of all the native languages). These children must learn English
and Sign Language, while experiencing another language or form of communication at home.
Some students attend the California School for the Deaf, in Fremont. These students, as well as all
staff members, communicate in American Sign Language.
The curriculum is based on CA State Standards. Both alternate and graduation programs exist for
the students. The program is well-respected in the Deaf community as well among the Hearing
community. Many students attend college, while some continue in our transition programs. A
yearly, much anticipated, DHH picnic brings together present as well as graduate students, along
with staff, families and friends.
Communication is the key for student success and acceptance of the challenges of dealing with a
hearing loss. The school communities have engaged in learning sign language. Assemblies, sports
activities and other extra-curricular events display the richness of the sign language programs and