Students with Cochlear Implants: Guidelines for Educational Planning

This comprehensive set of guidelines is a tool designed to facilitate planning discussions surrounding the educational supports and services essential for each student using cochlear implant technology. This product reflects the collaborative work between the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program of Boston Children's Hospital. Download the guidelines below. If you would like to order a print copy of the guidelines contact us at:

Students with Cochlear Implants: Guidelines for Educational Planning  Download the complete guidelines (PDF)

Students with Cochlear Implants

The document includes three sections of the main body of the Guidelines as well as seven appendices. For more specific information regarding what is included in each component, please see the descriptions below; specific sections can be downloaded from this list.

Section 1: Student Background Summary (PDF)

Section 1, the Student Background Summary, is a form to document important background information about the student that is essential to planning. This includes information about the student in four areas: pre-cochlear implantation, home communication, post-cochlear implantation, and documented disabilities or medical concerns

Section 2: School-Based Language Competency Checklists (PDF)

Section 2 contains three School-Based Language Competency Checklists plus an Individual Summary form. The checklists are designed to record observations of members of the Guidelines planning team related to a student's receptive, expressive, and pragmatic language abilities. The Individual Summary form is a place for each team member to document his or her perspective on a student's ability to access the educational environment. This form not only reflects the student's language competencies but also other impacting factors which may be of note (e.g., social-emotional considerations, self-advocacy, consistent functioning and use of cochlear implant technology).

Section 3: Team Discussion Tool and Team Summary Sheet (PDF)

The Team Discussion Tool and Team Summary Sheet are forms available to reflect the collective thoughts of the Guidelines planning team. These forms summarize the team's recommendations regarding the current educational program as well as any recommendations for changes that may need to be considered for this student. The Team Discussion Tool can be completed to reflect either the student's current educational setting or an alternate setting being considered. When all information has been gathered and taken into consideration, the Team Summary Sheet provides a place to consolidate this information and recommendations.


The seven appendices contained within the Guidelines include information designed to be supportive to the educational planning process. These appendices can also be used independently as handouts for professionals and families.

Appendix A - Accommodations: Auditory (PDF) highlights issues associated with the challenges students with cochlear implants may face when listening in a noisy classroom. Discussed is the importance of designing an acoustic environment to minimize auditory overload and maximize access to auditory learning.

Appendix B - Accommodations: Visual (PDF) highlights many considerations for visually enhancing an educational environment for a student with a cochlear implant so he or she can best access the curriculum and language of the educational setting.

Appendix C - Educational Access (PDF) provides strategies to facilitate a student's access to the curriculum to achieve academically within any educational setting. Strategies are provided in eight areas (e.g., providing annual in-service training to the teaching team, performing classroom observations, communication strategies to improve access to learning).

Appendix D - Strategies for Effective Cochlear Implant Use (PDF) provides information essential to keeping a student's cochlear implant technology and other assistive listening devices functioning and consistently used.

Appendix E - Self-Advocacy Skills (PDF) provides general information about self-advocacy as it relates to students with cochlear implants. Included is a self-advocacy checklist to document a student's skills in understanding and advocating for his or her own needs associated with the functioning of his or her technology, application of his or her accommodations, accessing of communication in his or her environment, and understanding his or her rights as a person who is deaf or hard of hearing.

Appendix F - Glossary (PDF) is a document that contains definitions of terms and concepts used in the Guidelines related to educational planning, hearing, listening technologies, language and communication approaches, and possible accommodations.

Appendix G - Authors and Product Evolution (PDF) includes information integral to the development of the Guidelines, including a list of the authors and a description of how the Guidelines evolved from an earlier document, Children with Cochlear Implants Who Sign: Guidelines for Transitioning to Oral Education or a Mainstream Setting.

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