New Laws Aimed At Supporting Kids With Hearing Loss

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New laws to support kids with hearing problems in school

The school year is now back in full swing, and kids of all ages are settled into classrooms learning and connecting with teachers and fellow students. School administrators and parents do everything they can to ensure that they have the supplies and support needed to excel, but what about hearing support?

While it’s not always as easy as parents and experts would like for kids with hearing loss to learn in a classroom environment, a new law is helping.

The facts about children with hearing loss

There’s no doubt that a child being able to hear in the classroom is crucial to academic success. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 14.9% of children ages 6 to 19 have a low- or high-frequency hearing loss of at least 16-decibel hearing level in one or both ears. It’s also not unusual for this hearing loss to go undetected and undiagnosed, written off as misbehavior or not listening.

Kids who are undiagnosed may:

  • Seem inattentive or disengaged in school
  • Misbehave during class
  • Experience delays in speech and language development

Without clear hearing, treatment and the support they need, children with hearing loss often fall behind classmates more and more as time goes on. But, even with a diagnosis, kids with hearing loss face challenges due to lack of support or understanding in school. It’s for this reason that New Jersey has recently enacted two new laws geared just toward this population.

Legal support for students and families

In recent months, New Jersey government took significant steps to improve education for students with hearing loss and support them and their families as they navigate the educational system.

  • Law 1 – This law created a Working Group on Deaf Education within the Department of Education (DOE) made up of 12 appointment members. The group will make recommendations for issues on early linguistic developments of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Also, under the law, the DOE is required to create a parent resource guide with information for families with deaf and hard of hearing kids between birth and age five.
  • Law 2 – This legislation has established a “Deaf Student’s Bill of Rights” requiring school districts to recognize the rights of students who are deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind. This includes individualized early intervention for language development, deaf, hard of hearing deaf-blind role model meeting opportunities and opportunities to meet with classmates in the classroom and during school-sponsored activities.

“To ensure that every deaf student in New Jersey acquires the same high quality education as other students, I am proudly signing these two bills today establishing a Deaf Student’s Bill of Rights along with other initiatives for research, advocacy, and parental guidance,” said Acting Governor Sheila Oliver.  “Governor Murphy and I believe that every child has the ability to excel, no matter what their challenges may be. We will work to help deaf students overcome their challenges by providing the resources and support they need to succeed in the classroom and in life.”

What you can do to support academic success

Help your child succeed in school by supporting their hearing health and education:

  • Schedule a hearing evaluation to determine if your child has hearing loss, and learn how to treat and manage it both inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Talk to your child’s teachers and school administrators if your child has a hearing loss to ensure that everyone is on the same page about his or her needs at school and in the classroom.
  • Take advantage of available resources such as assistive technology already available at the school to give your child the tools they need to succeed.

If you believe your child has a hearing loss or would like more information about resources available to children with hearing loss, contact our office for more details.

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