Math instruction for students who are hearing impaired or deaf can be complicated for a number of reasons; however, it is easy to modify and adapt due to the current trend of providing more visual representations of math in the elementary classroom.  Students who have a hearing impairment may need extra support learning basic math vocabulary and concepts to be able to participate fully in the classroom activities.  The teacher can provide support to the student in the following manner:

  • Provide a wide range of classroom experiences, with time for problem solving and exploration
  • Maintain contact with the parents to ensure math concepts are reinforced at home in real-world situations
  • Use more then one mode of presentation, combining
    • Visual
    • Verbal
    • Symbolic
    • Pictorial
  • Incorporate technology into lessons whenever possible, i.e. calculators or computer programs

One of the most difficult things teachers have found with teaching mathematics to students with hearing impairments is the vocabulary usage in math.  The students may have difficulty with the structure of language, which makes it difficult to construe meaning from a word problem.  This can be alleviated by presenting word problems as informal stories with math facts, then moving towards the presentation of the action of the story into a math sentence (Ray, 2001; Pagliaro, 1998).   Students should be engaged in the discussion of which parts of the math problem are most significant as well as establishing the appropriate sequence of steps to complete the problem.