Friday, May 14, 2010

Support Ca bill AB2072 to inform parents of ALL options for deaf and hard of hearing

Support Ca bill AB2072 to inform parents of ALL options for deaf and hard of hearing

AB2072 provides that parents of an infant diagnosed with hearing loss shall be provided with written or electronic information on American Sign Language (ASL), Total Communication, Cued Speech, and Listening and Spoken Language. This bill also clarifies that parents should be provided information about deaf and hard-of-hearing organizations, agencies and early intervention centers, and educational programs.

AB 2072 specifies that this information is to be provided at two specific times. 1) At the follow-up appointment with an audiologist or related professional after a diagnosis with hearing loss. 2) By a local early start provider upon initial contact with the parents of an infant newly diagnosed with a hearing loss.

Background:
The Education of children who are deaf presents unique challenges because deafness is a low-incidence disability significantly impacting the child’s ability to access communication at home, at school, and in the community. Over the past fifty years, there have been numerous advances in technology as well as a growing awareness about the importance of delivering services to children in a variety of communication modalities to support their early development and ensure continued access to communication.

It is critical to create the coordination of educational services and support for children who are deaf or hearing impaired and to promote the development of communication-rich learning environments for these children. It is vital that parents of all newborns and infants diagnosed with a hearing loss be provided with current, information on all options and modalities, as well as the community resources and services available to families.
Currently in California, parents of newborns diagnosed with hearing loss are not provided with information on all options and modalities for treatment and education of their children. This bill would assure parents are given unbiased information and resources so that they can determine the most appropriate treatment for their child. Appropriate resources are currently developed and available free of charge to California for immediate distribution.

Why AB 2072 Is Needed
Parents of infants who are diagnosed with hearing loss are often unfamiliar with the resources and options that are available to them. This bill clarifies that parents will be provided information at two specific times. This will result in better information sharing and less confusion about the availability of resources. This will help ensure that parents understand the rights and resources that they have available for their children.

Related Legislation

AB 2555 (Torrico) – Statutes of 2008:
This bill required that the copy of the notice of parent rights include information regarding the state special schools for pupils who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind.

Support of Bill
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCE)
The California Coalition (sponsor)
California Academy of Audiology
California Association of Private Special Education School (CAPSES)
Maura Martindale, Director CA. Lutheran Univ.
Individuals (107)

Opposition to Bill
Deaf Bilingual Coalition
Parent Links
Special Education Local Plan Area Administrators
Rachel Friedman, Professor CSU Northridge
Nor-Cal
Independently Merging Parents Assoc. of California (IMPACT)
ASL Presents LLC
Individuals (4)

Personally, I think this bill should be passed because it allows parents to learn what options are available to them so they can make informed decisions. It is not designed to promote one educational decision over another. What I find upsetting is the fact that the California SELPA (Special Education Local Plan Associates) also know by lay people as "school districts". Why would all California special education school district administrators want top keep parents uninformed and limit deaf children's ability to learn? Didn't they get into this business to help children?

Current Statistics

• English-Language Arts: 92% of deaf students and 85% of hard of hearing students are functioning below grade level
•Mathematics: 90% of deaf students and 82% of hard of hearing students functioning below grade level.

We can do better for these kids.