Parents know that students’ learning often goes beyond the classroom. To support the development of specific skills that are not taught in the classroom or require direct teaching, the Iowa Department of Education created a document called the Expanded Core Curriculum for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (ECC-DHH). The document was designed as a resource for educational teams working on educational plans for students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH).

The ECC-DHH is an important tool to become familiar with as you support your child’s development. Areas of the ECC-DHH that are relevant to families are listed below:


Students are empowered when they understand their own hearing loss, including the anatomy of the ear, cause of hearing loss, diagnostic tests and what they mean, and interpreting tests of hearing ability.

Career Education

Students who are DHH need opportunities for career education, including academic instruction, developing daily living skills, being active in their community, and gaining vocational experience.


All children have the right to an effective and efficient communication system. For students who are DHH, these communication systems include nonverbal, oral, or sign systems. A solid communication base leads to language development.

Functional Skills for Educational Success

The ability to access and learn new information, and then apply that knowledge with problem-solving skills, is crucial for success in school and life. Parents and educators can help students with specific studying and organizational skills that will set them up for success.

Self-Determination and Advocacy

Students who are preparing to transition to the workforce need to gain awareness of their unique hearing and communication needs and learn how to manage those needs. Self-determination and advocacy skills help prepare youth for this transition.

Social-Emotional Skills

Social and emotional skills are generally learned through listening, communicating and interacting with others. Students who are DHH often lack ease of communication and need opportunities for social interaction that are important for developing a positive self-concept. They also need opportunities for learning via informal communication and interaction with others.


Through technology, students can gain access to all areas of their lives. To fully understand the technology they use, students need to learn about various types of technology as well as how to properly obtain, maintain, and troubleshoot their devices.