Florida Senate - 2013                                     SB 150
       By Senator Altman
       16-00145-13                                            2013150__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to deaf and hard-of-hearing children;
    3         providing a short title; providing legislative
    4         findings and purpose; encouraging certain state
    5         agencies, institutions, and political subdivisions to
    6         develop recommendations ensuring that the language and
    7         communication needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing
    8         children are addressed; requiring the purposes of the
    9         act to be expeditiously implemented; requiring the
   10         Department of Education to develop a communication
   11         model addressing communication considerations to be
   12         included in the individual education plan for deaf and
   13         hard-of-hearing students; requiring the department to
   14         disseminate the model to each school district and
   15         provide training as it determines necessary; providing
   16         an effective date.
   18  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   20         Section 1. (1) SHORT TITLE.—This act may be cited as the
   21  “Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children’s Educational Bill of
   22  Rights.”
   24         (a) The Legislature finds that:
   25         1. Hearing loss affects basic human needs, which are
   26  language and communication. Without language and quality
   27  communication, a child is isolated from other human beings and
   28  from the exchange of knowledge essential for educational growth
   29  and, therefore, cannot develop the skills required to become a
   30  productive, capable adult and a full participant of society.
   31         2. Children who have a hearing loss possess the same innate
   32  capabilities to acquire language as any other children. They
   33  communicate through a visual language/American Sign Language or
   34  a spoken-written language/English. Manual systems, which do not
   35  include American Sign Language, are not languages and shall be
   36  used only as a tool to teach spoken English, not as a language
   37  model in the classroom. American Sign Language is a formal
   38  language as well as the preferred language of the signing Deaf
   39  community as spoken English is the preferred language of the
   40  oral deaf community.
   41         3. It is this state’s policy to ensure that:
   42         a. Deaf and hard-of-hearing children, like all children,
   43  have quality, ongoing, and accessible communication in their
   44  preferred language, both in and out of the classroom.
   45         b. Deaf and hard-of-hearing children be placed in the least
   46  restrictive educational environment that is appropriate for
   47  their language needs and receive services based on their unique
   48  communication, language, and educational needs, consistent with
   49  20 U.S.C. s. 1414(d)(3)(B)(iv) of the Individuals with
   50  Disabilities Education Act.
   51         c. Deaf and hard-of-hearing children be given an education
   52  in which teachers, related service providers, and assessors
   53  understand the unique nature of deafness; are specifically
   54  trained to work with deaf and hard-of-hearing students; and can
   55  communicate spontaneously and fluidly with these children in a
   56  spoken-written language/English, listening and spoken
   57  language/auditory-oral, or a visual language/American Sign
   58  Language, which are accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing
   59  children.
   60         d. Deaf and hard-of-hearing children, like all children,
   61  have the benefit of an education in which there is a sufficient
   62  number of age-appropriate peers and adults with whom they can
   63  interact and communicate in a spontaneous and fluid way.
   64         e. Deaf and hard-of-hearing children receive an education
   65  in which they are exposed to deaf and hard-of-hearing role
   66  models in their preferred language.
   67         f. Deaf and hard-of-hearing children, like all children,
   68  have direct and appropriate access to all components of the
   69  educational process, including recess, lunch, and
   70  extracurricular, social, and athletic activities.
   71         g. Deaf and hard-of-hearing children, like all children, be
   72  provided with programs in which transition planning, as required
   73  under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, focuses
   74  on their unique vocational needs.
   75         h. Families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing
   76  receive accurate, balanced, and complete information regarding
   77  their children’s educational, language, and communication needs
   78  and the available programmatic, placement, and resource options,
   79  as well as access to support services and advocacy resources
   80  from public and private agencies, departments, and all other
   81  institutions and resources knowledgeable about hearing loss and
   82  the needs of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
   83         (b) Given the central importance of communication to all
   84  human beings, the purpose of this act is to encourage the
   85  development of an educational delivery system, which is
   86  language-driven and communication-driven, for children who are
   87  deaf or hard of hearing in the state.
   90         (a) The Legislature recognizes the unique language and
   91  communication needs of children who are deaf or hard of hearing
   92  and encourages the development of specific recommendations by
   93  all state agencies, institutions, and political subdivisions
   94  concerned with the early intervention, early childhood, and the
   95  education of deaf and hard-of-hearing students who are in
   96  kindergarten through grade 12, including the Department of
   97  Education, the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, and
   98  the Department of Health, to ensure that:
   99         1. These children have access to the same educational
  100  environment that other children have in which their language and
  101  communication needs are fully addressed and developed and in
  102  which they have early, ongoing, and quality access to planned
  103  and incidental communication opportunities.
  104         2. The purposes of this act are expeditiously implemented.
  105         (b) Pursuant to 20 U.S.C. s. 1414(d)(3)(B)(iv) of the
  106  Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which requires that
  107  the individual education plan team consider the unique
  108  communication needs of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing
  109  and the preferred language of the child, the Department of
  110  Education shall develop a model addressing communication
  111  considerations for students who are deaf or hard of hearing as
  112  part of the individual education plan process. The department
  113  shall also disseminate the model to each school district and
  114  provide training as it determines necessary.
  115         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2013.