Frequently Asked Questions

Early Childhood Center

1. How is my child developing as compared to a hearing child of the same age?

The answer varies with the each individual child. However, most of the children at RSD will become bilingual (some will develop the languages of ASL and English to higher degrees of proficiency than others) and most often more time is needed than with hearing children to develop higher level language skills so it may seem to some that our children are "behind" even though they are not.

Being able to function in two or more languages in today's society is an advantage. For many deaf students, their knowledge of a subject area exceeds their ability to express their understanding in English. Because of this, one needs to separate skill with English from understanding of concepts. By assessing concepts and skills by using ASL, a better picture of actual abilities can be determined.

If deafness is the only challenge the child faces with regard to literacy, then the child will most likely function at a level comparable to a hearing child of the same age.

2. Will learning ASL confuse a child from a hearing family who has been surrounded by only English? Shouldn't one language at a time be used? Will using ASL impede growth in English?

The key in this case is: Is communication more than a specific language? If communication in the home is free flowing and abundant, then the child is destined to succeed in one or more languages. Presenting more than one language will only enhance the child's language development.

School Programs

1. How can we determine if our child should attend RSD?

Your child can be referred to RSD from the following sources:
  • Early Intervention Services, a division of the Department of Social Services
  • Your local school district’s Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) or Committee on Special Education (CSE)
2. Can my child live on campus because we live too far to commute to school each day?

Any student between 5 to 21 years of age within the catchment area who live too far to commute can live in our safe and comfortable residential living facility on campus from Sunday evening through end of classes on Friday. Nearly 30% of our students live on campus during the week. (See Residential Living in the school section of this website.)

3. Can my child receive a Regents Diploma from RSD?

Yes, RSD provides a Regents learning program and other programs designed to support the learning needs of a diverse group of students.


1. What will be the focus for my child in Speech/Communication?

The Speech/Communication focus for each student is highly individualized and dependent upon each student's needs. For example, for some students there would be a focus on the development of listening, speaking, and speech reading skills along with language development. For other students there may be a heavier focus upon language development and some speech reading skills with a lesser focus on actual development of speech, since a student may not display a desire/ability in the area of spoken language. Each child is assessed and observed in an ongoing way and goals for that student are determined on a very individualized basis.

2. Do I, as a parent, or my son or daughter, have a say in what is worked on during Speech/Communication?

We here at RSD welcome input from parents and students on what they would like to improve upon during Speech/Communication.

3. Does RSD service students with cochlear implants well?

RSD has a number of students with cochlear implants and, besides the excellent traditional Speech/Communication program, additional innovations are put in place to help that student develop listening, speaking, and English language skills to their highest potential. It is felt that RSD provides the broadest of possibilities for these students by having the ultimate goals of fluency in spoken language as well as sign language.


1. If my son/daughter should lose their hearing aid or their aid needs repair, can you provide the use of an aid for them until a new one is purchased or repaired?

Yes. We routinely provide what we refer to as "loaner" hearing aids to students in situations such as these.

2. What are the advantages of a digital hearing aid over other aids and could my son/daughter try these to see if they would be beneficial?

Digital technology in general provides for the ability to gather more and smaller, specific bits of information. The technology that digital hearing aids offer include an increased ability to analyze incoming sound and then based on that information, assign appropriate gain across frequencies. This, therefore, provides for a more personalized aid setting for a student's individual hearing loss. RSD does have a variety of digital hearing aids that are available for what we refer to as "trials" where the student has the ability to use a set of digital aids for several weeks to see how they benefit from them. Throughout these weeks and at the end of the trials students (and teachers and parents as well) report on experience with the aids and audiological testing occurs so that subjective and objective input is gathered to determine benefit.
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