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Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K): State Legislation

Summary: The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) strongly supports ensuring young children who are deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH) have a strong language foundation for kindergarten readiness and academic success. ASHA also supports a family’s right to decide the most appropriate language(s) (e.g., American Sign Language, spoken language, or both), communication mode(s) (e.g., augmentative and alternative communication), and education plan for their child. ASHA affirms the decision-making authority of the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) and Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Talking Points 
Member advocacy outreach and talking points.

Issue Brief [PDF]
ASHA's position and advocacy strategy with decision makers.


Sample Opinion Editorial (Op-Ed) for ASHA members to submit to their local newspaper or other publication opposing LEAD-K legislation introduced in the states.

Hands & Voices FL3: Support and resources for families with deaf or hard of hearing children

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Hearing Loss in Children 

Sample Bill

South Carolina S.B. 280
Requires the development of a parent resource and the creation of a costly 13 member committee to select communication milestones, assessments, and advocates for parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The committee consists primarily of proponents of American Sign Language (ASL) and would duplicate the role of the Individual Family Services Plan (IFSP) team.

ASHA's Model Bill [PDF] (Modified from LEAD-K/A.G.Bell Model Bill)      
ASHA's model language, which emphasize a parent’s right to choose the appropriate language/communication modality for their child and family, requires the State Department of Education or Department of Health ("lead agency") to develop a comprehensive and unbiased parent resource that includes developmental milestones, appropriate assessments, and other information to assist families. The model language also requires the lead agency to distribute the resource to parents, resource centers, health centers, and education agencies, and recommends that the lead agency utilize experts in the state to help develop the resource.

ASHA Corporate Partners