S 2045: Establishes Working Group on Deaf Education and directs DOE to develop parent resource guide and select early intervention assessments for use in identifying language delays in deaf and hard of hearing children.

S 2045

Establishes Working Group on Deaf Education and directs DOE to develop parent resource guide and select early intervention assessments for use in identifying language delays in deaf and hard of hearing children.

NJEA supports S-2045 (Turner, Diegnan.)  This bill creates a working group on deaf education, comprised of individuals who use two common modalities in deaf education, American Sign Language (ASL) and spoken English.  The working group shall make recommendations on issues related to the early linguistic development of children to the Department of Education.  The Department is tasked with using the working group’s input to write a parent resource guide on language acquisition and to choose an early intervention assessment to assess the language and literacy development of deaf and hard of hearing children.

Many deaf students today do not live up to their innate potential, for delays in developing and using English often hinder them throughout their entire school career.  In fact, 50% of deaf and hard-of-hearing students graduating high school in the US read at or below a fourth-grade level.*

Early intervention for deaf children is critical; consensus in the field is that regardless of what method of communications is used, language must be developed before age 2 if normal language development is to occur.**  This is easily achieved when a deaf child is born to deaf adults, for then the family communicates in ASL.  However, when a deaf child is born to hearing adults who are not fluent in ASL, this early language acquisition can be extremely limited or even non-existent.

The working group in this bill is balanced between different modalities of teaching deaf children.  Its recommendations in a parent resource guide will help parents be aware of their child’s language acquisition and help them ensure that their children are developing adequate language skills, regardless of whether they choose to use ASL or spoken English.  Furthermore, the selection of an assessment will ensure that parents and schools can appropriately assess the language and literacy development of deaf children.

NJEA asks that you support this bill.

Text of bill

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