Your browser does not support JavaScript!
Skip to main content

Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) Connections program provides quality education for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) students in grades seven through twelve, and Adult Transition students, residing in Orange and surrounding counties.

The Connections DHH instructional program focuses on the skills necessary to meet the proficiency and graduation requirements. Diplomas are awarded to students meeting these regular or differential standards as indicated in a student's Individualized Education Program (IEP).  In addition to the basic academic program, students receive career and vocational preparation. Services to attain these goals are provided by specialized personnel trained in instruction, guidance/behavioral counseling, speech and language therapy, career planning, sign language interpreting, audiological services, and adapted physical education.  All program staff are fluent in sign language and are trained and experienced in the field of Deaf Education.

Total Communication

is the adopted philosophy of the OCDE Regional DHH Program. Conceptually Accurate Signed English (C.A.S.E) is the main signing system used by staff and students with the support of American Sign Language and English based sign systems. The program is individualized and designed to maximize interaction with hearing peers and all school personnel.


to facilitate this process, sign language courses are offered to hearing students as an elective and to all interested general education staff. A tutoring period (DHH Lab) is available for all DHH students in need of support to ensure their success in the general education classroom setting.


Students may elect to enroll in a lab period for tutorial assistance. Students included in academic subjects utilize this period to clarify concepts and build vocabulary essential to successful integration in the general education classroom.

Special Day Classes

The OCDE Regional DHH Program is focused on literacy development and the acquisition of language. Core curriculum subjects paralleling the academic state guidelines are offered in the special day class setting. Teachers certificated in Deaf Education and fluent in expressive and receptive sign language skills instruct these classes. Specially trained instructional assistants, also fluent in sign language, work side by side with the teacher in the special day classroom.

Sign Language Interpreting

Educational interpreters facilitate communication in all academic and nonacademic classes. Through interpreting services, students have equal access to all activities, information and materials therefore, maximizing interaction with all school personnel and hearing peers.

Guidance/Behavioral Counseling

Guidance and counseling services are provided by school psychologists/counselors who work with the DHH student population and are fluent in sign language. Student appointments are scheduled for individual and group sessions to address guidance and behavioral issues. Drop-in counseling is available as needed. Testing services include individual psychological assessments, academic achievement evaluations, proficiency testing and college entrance examinations.

Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and language therapists provide direct services to students through individual and group therapy sessions as well as collaborating with classroom teachers to implement language IEP goals. Formal assessments are administered triennially and are used to project goals and objectives for each student's IEP.

Audiological Services

Students receive daily monitoring of amplification, annual electracoustic analysis and otologic referrals as needed. The audiologist conducts comprehensive three-year audiological and hearing aid evaluations in an on-site sound-treated booth.  Auditory Comprehension is included in the evaluation. The IEP recommendations are made based on test results. In addition, the audiologist consults with classroom and general education teachers to provide hearing loss awareness education.

Vocational/Career Education

A full time Career Education Specialist coordinates vocational training and career preparation. Regional Occupational Program courses both on and off campus offer the high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to develop pre-employment and employment skills in a myriad of careers. Every student is encouraged to learn the job search process and to work part-time. To facilitate this process, the services of job coaches and job developers are provided through special grant funded programs sponsored by the Irvine Unified School District. An in-depth vocational evaluation assesses students' career interests, aptitudes and values. This information is used to assist in developing career plans and goals for each student.
DHH students have access to all campus extra curricular activities. Interpreters are provided to facilitate and encourage communication. Each year high school students have the opportunity to earn a trip to Washington, D.C. as part of the Close-Up Program. 
OCDE students are invited to participate in all school sponsored clubs and sports as well as DHH activities to develop leadership skills and promote Deaf Community and Cultural awareness. A strong cooperative union between home, school and community is an on-going objective of the OCDE Regional DHH Program. The DHH parent support group is composed of parents and staff who are responsible for identifying pertinent topics and planning educational and social programs. In addition, parents are directly involved in their child's educational program planning at the annual IEP and ITP meetings. Parents are also encouraged to participate in the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) and School Improvement Program (SIP).

Individualized Transition Process

The Individualized Transition Plan (ITP) is initiated as part of the student's sophomore conference or when the student reaches his/her sixteenth birthday. Goals and objectives address the transition issues critical to developing student independence and promoting success as an adult in the community. The ITP is reviewed and updated annually. As seniors, parents and students meet with Department of Rehabilitation Counselors and other community service providers to confirm the network that will ensure a supportive transition from the OCDE Connections Regional DHH Program to employment, college or career techincal education (CTE) and vocational training.

Textbooks and Instructional Materials

When appropriate, teachers may provide instruction utilizing a modified curriculum aligned to the California State standards. Teachers may also utilize the SEACO Access Guide for Students designed to support the development of IEP goals aligned to the State standards.