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P reparing Deaf & Hard of Hearing Teens for the World of Work. C r e a t e d f o r Northeast Ohio High School Students Ages 14-22. Ready for the World of Work?. We are!. The Unit’s Mission. The Six Facets. The Method. The Outcomes. Deaf & Hard of Hearing Workers Finding Role Models.

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p reparing deaf hard of hearing teens for the world of work
PreparingDeaf&Hard of HearingTeensfor theWorldofWork

C r e a t e d f o r

Northeast Ohio

High School Students

Ages 14-22

Ready for the World of Work?

We are!

The Unit’s Mission

The Six Facets

The Method

The Outcomes

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Workers

Finding Role Models

Students at Risk

Summer Employment

Are your students’ ready?

Research & Studies

the unit s mission
The Unit’s Mission

In preparing deaf teens for the world of work-

Role models can help…

This unit was created in mind

for students ages 14-22 who are Deaf or hard of hearing and at

risk from dropping out of high school. The unit’s goal is to

invite local Deaf and hard of hearing workers/professionals

to volunteer as role models to address critical issues faced by young deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Role models can powerfully impact high-risk students to develop ‘enduring understanding’ by increasing their self-esteem, get their high school diploma and be better prepared for the world of work.

 Dispel myths (ex: “Deaf can’t learn or work.”)

 Demonstrate varied communication modes at work

Provide examples of accommodations needed at work

Emphasize ‘why’ education is important and think long term

(retaining students; preventing drop-out)

 Contradict existing “barriers” about “success”

 Establish peer support and accountability

 Understand rights and responsibilities

Enhance personal growth (ex: self-esteem, recognize skills)

 Provide resources (ex: careers/jobs, BVR, ADA)

How do we define students

at risk from dropping out

of high school?

The Method

The Six Facets

The Outcomes


how do we identify students at risk from dropping out of high school
How do we identify students at risk fromdropping out of high school?

The Unit’s Mission

The Six Facets

The Method


Here are a few of many possibilities as to why students drop out of high school:

 Deaf students of hearing families who struggle to understand or accept deafness, deaf culture or sign language.

Communication break-down in the home leads to poor outcome- linguistically, emotionally, socially, & educationally.

 Deaf students who do not have sufficient role models to help them prepare for the world of work.

Deaf students of families who are unable to help due to limited resources.

Deaf students of families and some teachers who unknowingly believe in myths and stereotypes about deafness

which hold them back from succeeding.

 Deaf students of families who never graduated from H.S.

Fourteen high-risk Deaf/hard of hearing students were placed in self-contained or main-streamed classrooms or both at a Northeastern Ohio inner-city high school during 2002-03.


Americans Hispanics Caucasians

Seniors5 2 3

Juniors 2

Sophomores 1 1

Graduated 4 2

Stayed in school2


drop out * 2 1

Dropped out**2 1

*Border-line Drop out = Students who have

missed many school days but eventually return

**Dropped out = Students who have completely dropped out

National Statisticsfor drop out rates

(Lane, Hoffmeister & Bahan, 1996)

29%Overall drop out rate of Deaf students

Residential schools

37% Deaf students in integrated setting in regular high school

54% Deaf students in self-contained classrooms only in a regular high school

57% Deaf students who has a learning or behavior disorder

or blindness

36% Deaf students who are hispanic

33% Deaf females students (no statistic available for male students)


the six facets
The Six Facets

The Unit’s Mission

The Method


See Facets 4-6

Of Understandings

-Facet 2 -


-Facet 1-


- Facet 3 -


“Students to describe

their plans to drop

out or graduate from

high school. Secondly,

students to describe

their vocational skills

or educational goals

they have or need in

order to work. Thirdly,

where would they like

to work?”

“Students to watch

videotape of Deaf

and hard of hearing


describing their work

experiences. After

viewing the tape, they

are to describe differ-

ent work situations

and the positive or

negative consequences

which have resulted.”

See Outcome

“To help students be

well prepared for

future job interviews-

students are to identify

or recognize their

positive attributes,

skills, and communi-

cation needs.”

See Outcome

See Outcome

the six facets5
The Six Facets

The Unit’s Mission

The Method


See Facets 1-3

Of Understandings

- Facet 6 -


-Facet 5 -


-Facet 4-


“Students to describe

the perspectives of a


and b) co-workers for

a series of appropriate

behaviors. Students

to identify misconcep-

tions, or misunder-

standings regarding

work rights & respon-

sibilities, and atti-

tudes or stereotypes.”

See Outcome

“After viewing the

videotape or person-

ally meeting with Deaf

or hard of hearing

workers- students are

to identify obstacles,

challenges, or

emotions which are

found to be similiar

in their lives.

“Students to assess

their understanding &

knowledge of what

was learned from

the video tapes.”

See Outcome

-See Outcome-


The Unit’s Mission

The Method


for facets 1-3

- Facet 3 -


-Facet 2 -


-Facet 1-


Of the fourteen students, eight students plan to graduate. Two of these eight students desire to attend college. Six students are unsure (due to poor attendance & incomplete homework). Five of these six ‘unsure’ students believe they can find a good job without a high school diploma.

Thirteen of these fourteen students have some kind of voca-tional skill. Skills range from being an animal groomer to a mechanic. Nine students indicated they do have some ideas regarding their future. Seven students have ideas of where they would like to work.

Two days were set aside for the students to view the videotape. Forty-five minutes to one hour were set aside for lively discussions after viewing the tapes. At first, students were unsure how to engage in discussion however they eventually caught on. With the help of a facilitator, the students expressed their thoughts and opinions regarding negative and positive consequences. It was successful! Note:

All low to high-risk students watched this tape. The high-risk students’ re- sponses were not recorded.The three students who’d dropped out and the two students who were border-line in drop- ping out were not available for this activity.

All fourteen students were given personal lists of their positive attri- butes and skills written by other students and teachers. (These were individually created, printed on nice paper, inserted in plastic covers and given out at the end of the school year.) Some students were stunned when they’d received these. This activity helped them recognize or bring to remembrance of their strengths and skills through the eyes of their peers and teachers. It increased their self knowledge, self-esteem, as well as aid them to confidently prepare for job interviews when asked to describe their strengths and skills. Note: Students’ “communication needs” were not identified in this activity.

Deaf workers & professionals

used for this Unit


See assessment outcomes

See quizzes’ outcomes



The Unit’s Mission

The Method

for facets 4-6

-Facet 5 -


- Facet 6 -

Self Knowledge

-Facet 4-


Students engaged in lively dis-

cussions. One Deaf worker inter- viewed in the videotape shared with the students that she was told by her boss that she had an “attitude problem” and needed to change it. Students then dis- cussed ways to resolve attitude problems at work. We discussed ‘respect,’ ‘effective communica- tion,’ and rights & responsibili- ties. Hard of hearing persons may have higher chances of being labeled as having ‘attitude problems’ because their deafness is less obvious. Deaf students stated that they would be more open to explain their deafness with a future employer than their hard of hearing peers.

After viewing the videotapes, several students expressed that they shared similar experiences as the Deaf workers. Students were able to identify similar obstacles, challenges, and emotions.

Due to time constraints and difficulties in scheduling, students were not able to personally meet any Deaf or hard of hearing workers when this unit was first put into effect. Several students expressed their disappointments when Deaf/HH workers were not readily available to serve as role models. This proves that Deaf role models are important to students who lack role models in their own lives.

Quizzes and assessments were given to students to assess their understanding of Deaf workers interviewed in the videotapes.

Students made comments such as-

“I liked listening to other deaf people’s work experiences;”

“Really, I didn’t know that;”

and “It’s important to communicate.”

See assessment’s outcomes

Students were asked to answer

yes & no questions and true &

false statements.

See quizzes’ outcomes

Students’ comprehension were quizzed to determine what they understood after viewing the videotape.

the method
the Method
  • Preparation
  • Interview
  • Discussion
  • Home

Step 1

Chosen for this unit

Prepare & involve students to create questionnaires for Deaf or Hard of Hearing workers.

Examples of questions written by students:

“What is your position or job?”

“How did you get your job?”

“What are your skills?”

“How long does it take for a deaf person to

get a job?”

“Was your training supervisor hearing or deaf?”

“Is it difficult to work with hearing people?”

“How did you improve your attitude at work?”

“Do you have to wear nice clothes for work?”

“What benefits do you have?”

“How many sick days do you get?”

“Do you get raises?”

“Is it hard for hearing and deaf people to

communicate with each other?”

“If you miss work a lot- what would happen to you?”

“You are successful when you start your job but

later you start to show a bad attitude. How do you

improve your attitude?”

“Is it important to talk with people face to face- like

good eye contacts?”

“What are your work rules and laws?”

“What kind of promotions does your job offer?”

The Unit’s MissionThe Six Facets

the method9
the Method


  • Interview
  • Discussion
  • Home

Step 2

Students or teachers to do interviews

 Be careful who you choose to interview. Screen and interview Deaf workers/professionals by eval-

uating their character and use of language. When you have decided on your choices, set up individ-

ual appointments with them. Discuss possible locations/backdrops to videotape the interviews

(at home or work). Give the list of questions (created by students) for the workers to review

before the interview. Set two hours aside for practice and doing the actual interview.

 IMPORTANT! Look for interpreters who would be willing to volunteer to voice for Deaf

workers. It’s preferable that an interpreter is NOT to be seen on video while voicing the

Interview. However each interview will be unique.

 Meet workers at appointed locations and videotape them. Try to avoid standing far away while video taping- it will be HARD to understand and read the signs. Workers can be interviewed by carrying a rapport with the interviewer or practice speaking beforehand and be videotaped solo. Workers are to introduce themselves, explain their jobs and feel free to choose from questionnaires created by students. Limit interviews between 5 to 15 minutes and offer opportunity for workers to view their own tapes for approval.

 Deaf workers will need to sign permission forms stating that

the video tape can be used for educational purposes only.

Examples of deaf workers/

professionals used for this unit.

the method10
the Method


  • Interview
  • Discussion


Step 3

Set up classroom to view & discuss videotapes

 Work with teachers/staff in setting up TV and VCR.

Invite all Deaf and hard of hearing students to view videotapes

of one or two interviews at a time.

Lively discussions are conducted with students after the viewings.

 Make sure interpreters are present to voice for hard of hearing

students in the classroom if needed.

Examples of questions for discussions after viewing the video tape :

“What do you think of this Deaf worker?” “What did you learn?” “Did you agree with that?”

“Do you think you need to save money for retirement?” “How are you supposed to dress for this job?” “What is ADA?” “Is graduating from high school important?” “Have you ever had a bad attitude like this deaf worker?” “How would you communicate with your boss?” “Is it okay to not call your boss if you are going to be late for work?” “Is it important to be on time for work?” “What kind of skills are needed for this job?” And many more…create your own!



deaf hard of hearing workers professionals
Deaf & Hard ofHearing Workers/ Professionals





Examples of Deaf and hard of hearing workers/professionals interviewed and videotaped for this unit:

-Be sure to interview both deaf and hard of hearing workers in order to meet the needs of all

students in the classroom.

A retired Deaf woman who worked for First Energy for 16 yrs. * (Discussed retirement/savings)

A Deaf man who works as a landscape designer for 15 yrs. * (Discussed school/job requirements)

 A deaf man who works as busboy after being laid off from a job of 13 yrs. * (Discussed school & ADA)

A Deaf woman who worked for Fifth-Third bank for 15 yrs. * (Discussed difficulties on job)

A Deaf woman working as a teacher’s aide. Two yrs of experience. **(Discussed job duties)

A retired Deaf woman who worked for Bayer Co. for 32 yrs. ** (Discuss job & taught ASL to workers)

 A Deaf factory worker. * (Discussed the importance of education)

 A hard of hearing professional with computer skills. * (Discussed computer work)

Most deaf workers sign PSE (*). Few are ASL (**). Most are of oral background. Most

did not have voice interpreting during the tapings due to lack of time or unavailability

of interpreters. Interpreters will need to be present to voice interpret when viewing the

tapes for hard of hearing students. Interview workers who have cochlear implants if possible.

Finding role models

in Northeastern OH

finding role models
Finding Role Models





Northeast Ohio Deaf Group Homepage (NODGH)

includes Deaf clubs, churches, social events


Other resources for role models



FREE loan captioned media programhttp://www.cfv.org

Nickerson, Jane F. “Deaf People at Work- What do you

want to be?”

Reisler, Jim. “Voices of the Oral Deaf: Fourteen Role

Models Speak Out.”

Other role model ideas…

 Contact former Deaf & h/h high school students

 Meet Deaf or hard of hearing students through a student’s disability office or deaf education program of local colleges/universities

 CODA- Children of Deaf Adults

  • Deaf and hard of hearing workers or professionals
  • can be located at the following places:
  • Communication Services for the Deaf (CSD) at

Cleveland Hearing and Speech Ctr- www.chsc.org

Greenleaf Family Ctr (Akron)- www.greenleafctr.org

Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation, Akron and Cleve.

Kent State University, Kent, pluft@kent.edu

Center for Independent Living, Cleveland

Ohio School for the Deaf Alumni Assn. osdaa@aol.com

  • Visit and talk with Deaf or hard of hearing
  • members of these organizations:

N.E. Ohio Senior Citizens of the Deaf, Clev.- 216.851.5642

Society for the Deaf

SHHH- Fairview Park and Canton- http://www.shhh.org

The Association of Late-Deafened Adults- 216.226.0458 v/tty

The Deaf & Deaf-Blind Committee on Human Rights-


Deafness Advisory Committee- 440.277.4602 v/tty


The Unit’s Mission

The Six Facets

The Method


Facet 6: Self Knowledge

Outcomes from video tape/discussion assessment:

Ten students completed the true/false assessment (signed):

9 out of 10 indicated ‘false’-“Deaf people are never frustrated at work.”

9 out of 10 indicated ‘false’-“Deaf and hearing workers cannot get along.”

8 out of 10 indicated ‘true’-“We (deaf) show more nonverbal communication than verbal communication.”

8 out of 10 indicated ‘true’-“If you talk back at your boss, you can be fired.”

8 out of 10 indicated ‘false’-“If you are running late for work, you don’t need to call your boss.”

7 out of 10 indicated ‘false’-“It’s very easy to find jobs without a high school diploma.”

9 out of 10 indicated ‘false’-“Deaf people need to depend on hearing people all the time for help.”

7 out of 10 indicated ‘true’-“Deaf people can take care of themselves and be responsible adults like hearing people.”

6 out of 10 indicated ‘true’-“If you do not show respect to your teachers, it is possible that you will not show respect to your boss.”

Nine students completed the yes/no assessment (signed):

All nine students indicated that they liked watching the video tape of deaf workers.

Four out of nine indicated they would like to watch more video tapes of other deaf workers.

All nine students indicated that it was important to communicate well at work.

Eight out of nine students indicated that it was important to know how many sick days when starting a new job.

All nine students indicated that they would like to be promoted in their future jobs.

All nine students indicated that getting a high school diploma was important.

See Quizzes’


summer employment
Summer Employment

The Six Facets

The Method


Research & Studies

Are your students prepared?

After the Unit’s

completion and assessments, a

local employment program pro- vided nine of the 30 Deaf and hard of hearing students part-time work opportunities at a local V.A. hospital during the summer of 2003. This enables students to apply what they’ve learned.

See students’ comments on right.

“It was a very good work experience.”

“I tried to teach co-workers sign language.”

“I would like to develop other work experiences other than filing.”

“I would like to improve my filing speed and gain some computer experiences.”

“I would like more warehouse/mailroom experiences; change my physical workout; socialize more; and strive to create a good personality with people.”

“I desire to gain different kinds of experiences and socialize with

workers more.”

“I would like to develop professional ‘business-like’ manners and business skills.

“I would also like to be more independent and responsible.”

Two Deaf high school graduates visited the working students & offered the following advice:

Locate questionnaires for employers

regarding their deaf employees and for

Deaf students regarding their hearing

Employers in Lotts, V., Easterbrooks, S., Heller, K., and O’Rourke, C. (2001).

Work Attitudes of Students Who Are Deaf and Their Potential Employers.

“Go to school, get a job,

graduate, and stay focused.”

“Don’t play around. Don’t be late

for work. Don’t call off work.”

-A 2002 graduate employed at

the InterContinential Hotel-

-A 2001 graduate employed as a

assistant manager at Wendy’s-

are your students prepared for the world of work
Are your students prepared for the world of work?

The Six Facets

The Method


Research & Studies


s u g g e s t s


problems may stem

from two factors-

a lack o f preparation

for thework role

& an unrealistic positive assessment

ofp e r s o n a l


Capella, Roessler, and Hemmerla (2002) indicated in their

research that youths with disabilities are not prepared for the world of

work. These youths are unemployed or underemployed due to defici-

encies in interpersonal skills such as inappropriate work habits and

attitudes, and poor social communication skills.

According to employers- employment survival skills

involve the following:

A) Safe work behavior and safety awareness

B) Attendance and punctuality

C) Dependability, reliability, and ability to work unsupervised

Correct image of self as a worker:

A) Understand what his/her strengths are so that they can

Maximize the match between personal abilities and job demands

B) Understand what their limitations are so that they can make

changes in personal characteristics to enhance their employability.

Capella, M., Roessler, R., Hemmerla, K. (2002), Work-related skills awareness in

high school students with disabilities, Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling.

research studies

The Unit’s Mission

The Six Facets

The Method


Part 1


t op r o v i d e




. . . in thelives of Deaf and hard of hearing students who are considered high-risk. The one way to really touch their lives is- by locating Deaf or hard of hearing workers/professionals to come in and talk with them.Why does this work? For the same reason why black role models work for black persons. Young Deaf people can identify and learn from older and experienced deaf workers in explain- ng the importance of graduating and preparing for the world of work.

Videotaping or invitingDeaf or hard of hearing workers or

professionals to be role models or mentors can create ‘endure understanding’ in Deaf or hard of hearing students who are at high-risk from dropping out of school. By utilizing role models consistently through out the school year, the students’ chances of graduating from high school can increase when their self-esteem increases. According to a study by Bat-Chava (2001), she stated that deaf individuals with bi-cultural identities appear to have the most positive attitude towards deaf people. Students with bi-cultural identities would probably benefit from identifying and learning from Deaf and hard of hearing workers or professionals in the world of work. It’s interesting to note that Bat-Chava also stated that those with cultural-deaf identity feel neither positive or negative towards deaf people. Further research is needed

to explore the effectiveness of role models in the lives of deaf and hard of hearing individuals from all walks of life in preparing for the world of work.

Lotts, V., Easterbrooks, S., Heller, K., and O’Rourke, C. (2001).

Work Attitudes of Students Who Are Deaf and Their Potential Employers.

Bat-Chava (year). Diversity of Deaf Identities. American

Annals of the Deaf, JADARA, Vol. 34, No. 2.



& Studies

Part 2

research studies17

The Unit’s Mission

The Six Facets

The Method


Part 2

It's imperative that we correct students misinfor- mation about hearing people's attitudes or assumptions about individuals who are deaf as well as zero in on the beliefs and mindset held by em-ployers regarding deafness(Lotts, Easter- brooks, Heller, O'Rourke, 2001).

Farrugia (1982) researched that deaf high school students had

similar socioeconomic status aspirations as their hearing peers however they tend to aspire to lower levels of career and skill development. This is due to the fact that many deaf students shy away from certain vocational setting due to their perception that a hearing employer may not like or understand people who are deaf. Based on wrong assumptions- some deaf students may avoid certain vocational or job experiences and fall into the trap of unemployment and underachievement. Some students who lack communication skills or strategies also assume that employers may NOT see communication as a problem. However, resolving communication dilemmas between hearing employer-deaf employee can be resolved in a

straight-forward manner.


passages of

civil rightsand

special education


deaf individuals


p r o b l e m s






& Studies

Part 1Part 3

research studies18

The Unit’s Mission

The Six Facets

The Method


Part 3



they want to do -believein themselves

-or - havehigher self-

esteemthan those students who don’t know

what to do.

When seeking out Deaf/hard of hearing workers or professionals,

be sure to locate interested inter-ested, caring, reliable, and reputable individuals with similar or different backgrounds as the students. For example, local, reputable Deaf/hard

of hearing automobile mechanics

can be invited to speak with students interested in the same line of work.

Tips which may impact Learning-

High-risk students are en- couraged to discussed their

skills and possible career or work goals on videotape at the start of the school year. Also, on their first tapings, students are encouraged to set attainable goals of how to develop their skills or gain work experiences during that school year. If a student

has a difficult year, s/he may review the videotape as a way to positively remind him/her of the goals expressed. At the end of the year, students are to review their earlier tapings to see if their goals or plans have been followed through. Students may revised their goals if their original goals were not realistic or the right fit. Students are to videotape again at the end of the year to discuss their learning experiences/growths/ changes during the past year.

More study is needed to determine student drop out at this north- eastern high school. This Unit was not put in effect until the

spring of 2003 when three students had already dropped

out. The unit would need to be implemented at the

start of the school year to determine its




& Studies

Part 1Part 3