A Family Guide to the Arkansas School for the Deaf
What kind of communication do students use?
Our school is centered around communication and language acquisition. Students with all communication methods, abilities, and devices are welcome at Arkansas School for the Deaf! Our students vary in their hearing levels.
Cochlear implants and brightly colored hearing aids are everywhere on campus. Some students choose not to use any amplification device.
Visitors are sometimes surprised to learn that ASD is not a quiet place! We have a team of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists who strategize with students to maintain and improve their speech, listening, and communication skills.
American Sign Language is used by everyone on campus. This means our students can communicate with everyone at ASD, from their friends to their teachers to our nursing staff.
Each student's communication needs are individually addressed through a team meeting between academic staff, speech-language pathologists, ASD's Audiologists, and the student's family. We meet every year to assess the student's progress and to set new goals as the student grows and learns.
What kinds of classes do you offer?
ASD follows the Arkansas Curriculum Frameworks. This means that our students are studying the same things as students in other public schools, in addition to specialized courses only offered at ASD.
All of our courses are presented with our students' needs in mind:
- All courses are presented in a highly visual manner
- Barrier-free communication helps maximize each student’s progress
- Low teacher-to-student ratio
- Specialized Reading and Language programs based on research with deaf children
- Coursework meets Arkansas graduation requirements
ASD also offers other specialized programming developed with the unique need of deaf students in mind, including:
- Beyond ASD is an exciting program for young adults aged 18-21. This program helps students in their journey to independently transition from school into post-secondary education or the workplace.
- ASD’s Early Childhood Center is focused on early intervention and language development for deaf and hard of hearing children ages 2 – 5. It includes preschool and pre-kindergarten programs designed to develop
social, emotional, and language skills, and also special Parent and Child classes for 2-year-old children to foster crucial communication and language skills.
- Our Early LEAP program provides statewide services to deaf children from birth through age three. Early LEAP provides resources, services, and connections to families in their hometowns throughout the state.
What is it like for students to live on campus during the week?
ASD is a busy place! Our students can participate in dozens of activities that provide countless opportunities to develop leadership skills, self-esteem, and socialization. Our students make great friends and great memories!
- Special Olympics
ASD provides students a safe and educational "home away from home" environment after school, too. Our dorm rooms are cozy and filled with friends. We are well-staffed with dedicated, nurturing houseparents experienced in working with deaf children. Health care is provided by a fully licensed nursing staff.
The goal of the Campus Life Program is to provide students the opportunity to grow into mature, independent young adults with the ability to manage decision-making situations and to assume leadership roles. Our Campus Life activities develop their collaborative abilities and strengthen their social skills based on the individual's needs and interests. Students have access to a broad range of after-school programs and activities, including athletics, clubs, and field trips. We also maintain a tutoring center to provide that extra help that is sometimes needed.
Stay In Touch
How involved can our family be with our child during the week?
Families play an important role in each student's development, and we encourage family involvement. Families are welcome to call or visit the campus anytime. We have videophones across campus that students can use to talk to their friends and family at home. Many of our students have their own cell phones, and we encourage parents and students to text each other often to stay in touch. Some older students check-in daily just to update Mom or Dad on the latest events.
Families are encouraged to attend meetings, special programs, athletic events and other activities in which their child is involved. Parents are welcome to stop by, eat dinner in the dining room with your child, and maybe even attend a Leopard Basketball game afterward.
The staff at ASD strives to be a wonderful supplement to a student's family, but not a substitute. We always welcome input and support from our students' families.
How is transportation provided to students who live outside of Central Arkansas?
Every Friday afternoon, students board charter buses provided by Arrow Coach Lines. These buses are outfitted with entertainment systems and restroom facilities and staffed by houseparents and supervisors. Buses deliver students to their hometowns each weekend. On Sunday afternoons, buses return students back to ASD for another great week of learning. Like other services at ASD, transportation is provided at no cost.
Does my child have to live on campus?
No. Many of our students from the Central Arkansas area ride district-provided buses to and from school every day. All of our academic and extracurricular programs are available to all students, regardless of whether or not they choose to live in the dorms during the week.
How much does it cost to attend ASD?
There is no cost to attend the Arkansas School for the Deaf. All meals, transportation, speech, language, and audiology services, tutoring, physical and occupational therapy, and on-campus health services are provided at NO COST to families of our students.
Families of our students need only provide basic school supplies and spending money on activities.
Top Ten Reasons for ASD
- Everyone can communicate.
We encourage all forms of communication. All ASD staff can communicate with students, regardless of their chosen means of communication.
- Our classes are small.
A low student-to-teacher ratio means that each student receives individual attention. Most classes have less than 8 students.
- Language is everywhere!
Specialized language and literacy programs are used at every level. We love learning a language! Even in our subject area classes, we incorporate reading and language skills.
- Our staff is Specialists in the field of Deaf Education.
Deaf children are our Business! Our staff is made up of Highly Qualified Teachers. Most teachers on campus hold a Master's degree or higher and have worked with children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing for many years. We have specialized Audiologists and Speech Pathologists available daily for our students.
- We have state-of-the-art Technology.
ASD is a leader in educational technology in the state of Arkansas. Every classroom is equipped with a SMART Board, iPads, a document camera, and a Visual Communication System to stream daily video messages and emergency communications. Our schools and dorms are all networked to provide easy access during work time or study time. And beginning in 2016, we will launch a 1:1 program to provide Macbooks or iPads for each of our High School and Middle School students!
- We are all on the same team.
Parents, teachers, administrators, houseparents, and other school staff have frequent communication to discuss student needs and progress.
- ASD is tuition-free.
Families do not pay tuition or costs for boarding, transportation, or educational services such as speech therapy, audiology services, tutoring, physical and occupational therapy, or on-campus Health services. ASD is financed through state and federal funds.
- There is so much to do!
ASD offers rich cultural and social experiences that aren't available anyplace else! Every student is encouraged to participate in activities outside of school. At ASD, students can play on the football team, be a cheerleader, or be on the Homecoming Court. They can be in the school play, in a performing group, or Student Body President. The choices are endless!
- We will help you get ready to graduate.
Transition planning for each student begins in Middle School and continues until graduation and beyond. Our Beyond ASD young adults live on campus independently and gain real-world work and life experiences as they plan their journey to the world outside of ASD. Our focus is to help you plan for college or to get ready to enter the workforce.
- Students make friends - and memories - that last a lifetime.
At ASD, friends interact directly with each other - no interpreter is needed! They are surrounded by deaf role models and mentors, and by a loving, professional staff. Regardless of hearing levels or communication methods, we are all friends at ASD.