Urgent: Deaf/Hard of hearing language acquisition bill

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Dirk Hillard, Carly Armour, Robert Vizzini, and Vania Kassouf advocate for legislation designed to help Deaf and hard of hearing children be better prepared for kindergarten. -promoted by desmoinesdem Did you know there are 28 million Americans and approximately 430,000 individuals in the state of Iowa who are Deaf or hard of hearing? Did you know that Iowa’s Deaf and hard of hearing children ages 0-5 are not showing up as kindergarten ready due to lack of language acquisition? The Language Equality & Acquisition for Deaf Kids to be kindergarten ready (LEAD-K) bill is needed because a majority of Deaf and hard of hearing children are academically very far behind when compared with their peers. This is a serious national education concern, which some states are beginning to address. Iowa’s children are no exception, but the State Department of Education has a long way to go to make changes. Senator Rob Hogg introduced Senate File 2076, and State Representative Art Staed introduced the companion bill, House File 2140. We are writing to correct some misperceptions about this bill, which have been brought to our attention. Myth #1 – This bill is a mandate for American Sign Language. Truth #1 – The LEAD-K bill does not require American Sign Language. The bill provides for language milestone information and assessments for kids who use one or both of the languages of American Sign Language (ASL) and English. For purposes of the bill, “English” includes spoken English, written English, or English with the use of visual supplements. Myth #2 – The LEAD-K bill asks for Deaf and hard of hearing children to be prioritized over children with other disabilities. Truth #2 – The LEAD-K bill focuses on Deaf and hard of hearing kids because it is the only group that has limited

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