One of the services provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is early intervention. Early intervention aims to provide support and services to children with disabilities before they reach school age.
In addition to preparing children for school, early intervention services can also assist in a variety of other ways, as they support all aspects of development. One facet of early intervention services includes services for children who are hard of hearing, and a new plan regarding these services in Los Angeles caused quite a stir for families.
New plan makes a big impact on children who are deaf
The Los Angeles Unified School Board recently voted to pass rules to alter education services for students who are hard of hearing. There are two critical parts to this new rule:
- It would create a new department dedicated to the education of students who are deaf.
- It would make it standard for students in early intervention who are deaf to receive bilingual education services (in both English and American Sign Language).
According to The Los Angeles Times, this new plan has been met with a bit of controversy. Those in favor are pleased to see language education services being expanded for students who are deaf. However, those opposed to the plan worry that it impedes parents’ choices and right to consent to services.
This plan only applies to Los Angeles districts; however, it is helpful for parents to remain aware of any and all new developments in the area of special education.
So, what options are offered in early intervention?
Regardless of one’s opinion on the new plan for Los Angeles districts, there is no denying that children who are deaf can face language barriers in school and/or daily life. Addressing and eliminating these barriers is critical to support students as they develop.
Early Start (California’s early intervention services program) provides services including:
- Audiological services
- Sign language education
These services are not necessarily the standard offered for children who are deaf; however, they are available options.
It is important to remember that parental consent is essential at every step, from early intervention services to special education services after your child begins school. Therefore, it is beneficial to parents to understand the options and supports open to their children. Additionally, it is always important to consider your child’s perspective, as acting in their best interests is key.