I explore.


What is Signing Exact English and how is it different from American Sign Language?

Signing Exact English (S.E.E.) is an educational tool, used to teach English to deaf and hard-of-hearing students. It is a visual representation of spoken English that includes important grammatical markers of English (-ly, -ing, -ed, -tion, -ment, -ness) that are used by all students (hearing and deaf) to become good readers. English is the language used by S.E.E. signers. American Sign Language is a visual language with its own grammar and syntax. It is an authentic language indigenous to the American Deaf community and is unrelated to any spoken language, including English. ASL does not have a written form.

Why is Signing Exact English helpful in teaching deaf and hard-of-hearing children to read and write in English?

Signing Exact English is an essential tool in helping deaf and hard-of-hearing children learn to read and write because it gives a visual representation of the spoken language they are already acquiring using their residual hearing and amplification. The use of S.E.E. assists children in filling in the blanks for English words or sounds they are missing by just using their hearing alone, and gives them complete access to spoken English.

Where does my family have to live in order for my child to attend NWSDHH?

We contract with many school districts in the Greater Puget Sound Region. Fill out an application. We’ll help you through the process!

How much do I have to pay for my student to attend NWSDHH?

Through contracts with local public school districts and the support of our donor community, the majority of our students attend NWSDHH at no cost to their family. In cases where a school district is unable to contract with us, scholarships and financial assistance may be available.

What is the class size?

Classes are usually six students, with a Teacher of the Deaf and a classroom assistant/interpreter, both of whom use Signing Exact English and strategies for developing listening skills and spoken language. Students also attend a nearby elementary school for mainstreaming with hearing peers, usually accompanied by an interpreter. Here they can meet and make friends with hearing children in their own age group.

What specialized staff do you have at your school?

All of our teachers hold Washington State teaching certifications and are Teachers of the Deaf. All of our teaching staff are trained in using Signing Exact English, and many of our teachers/interpreters have Educational Sign Skills Evaluation (E.S.S.E.) interpreting certification from the SEE Center. We have an Aural Habilitation therapist / Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) on staff. Students who need occupational or physical therapy (OT/PT) services receive them from contracting districts, either onsite at NWSDHH or in their home district.

Do you teach ASL?

Yes! Our middle school students receive regular ASL instruction from a member of the Deaf community. The goals of the class are to broaden students’ ASL conversational skills and to learn about the contributions of the Deaf Community.

What about extra-curricular activities?

Our students usually participate in neighborhood sports and extracurricular activities close to their homes. NWSDHH Parents’ Club sponsors picnics, bowling parties, and movie nights where deaf children and their families can have fun and connect in a supportive environment.

How can I learn how to help my child at home?

NWSDHH Parents’ Club also sponsors Parent Education Events (usually in conjunction with Movie Night for the kids) where parents and family members can learn about an array of topics related to supporting a child with hearing loss. Previous topics have included:

  • Alumni Panel with NWSDHH graduates ranging in age from high school to late thirties, reporting on life after NWSDHH.
  • Jacqui Metzger, M.S.W. a local psychotherapist with a cochlear implant sharing ideas about “Coping and Communicating” issues for families with children who have hearing loss.
  • Assistive devices and technology related to deafness and hearing loss.

Do you have a high school? What will my child do after NWSDHH?

No, we do not have a high school. Some of our students attend their home schools for high school. Some choose to attend area public high schools with large D/HH programs, like Edmonds-Woodway High School, Roosevelt High School or Mt. Tahoma High School which provide access to Teachers of the Deaf, interpreters, and support for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

How do parents/guardians get involved?

All parents/guardians of NWSDHH students are members of the NWSDHH Parents’ Club. Friends, neighbors, family members, caregivers, and even bus drivers can participate by volunteering at the school, acting as a room parent, helping serve Friday Pizza Lunches or being a member of the Parents’ Club Board that helps to provide field trips, family events and assemblies for our school community.