HB 1385

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to deaf and hard-of-hearing children;
3creating the "Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children's
4Educational Bill of Rights"; providing findings and
5purpose; recognizing the unique communication needs of
6deaf and hard-of-hearing children and encouraging the
7development of a communication-driven and language-driven
8educational delivery system in the state; requiring the
9Department of Education to develop a communication model
10to become part of the individual education plan process
11for deaf and hard-of-hearing students; providing an
12effective date.
14Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
16     Section 1.  (1)  SHORT TITLE.-This act may be cited as the
17"Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children's Educational Bill of
20     (a)  The Legislature finds that:
21     1.  Hearing loss affects the most basic human need,
22communication. Without quality communication a child is isolated
23from other human beings and from the exchange of knowledge
24essential for educational growth and, therefore, cannot develop
25the skills required to become a productive, capable adult and a
26fully participatory member of society.
27     2.  Children with hearing loss have the same innate
28capabilities as any other children. They communicate in a wide
29variety of manual and spoken modes, languages, and systems. Some
30use aural/oral modes of communication, while others use a
31combination of aural/oral and manual communication. Many use
32American Sign Language, which is a formal language, as well as
33the preferred everyday language of the deaf community.
34     3.  It is critical that all citizens in the state work
35toward ensuring that:
36     a.  Deaf and hard-of-hearing children, like all children,
37have quality, ongoing, and fluid communication, both in and out
38of the classroom.
39     b.  Deaf and hard-of-hearing children be placed in the
40least restrictive educational environment and receive services
41based on their unique communication, language, and educational
42needs, consistent with 20 U.S.C. s. 1414(d)(3)(B)(iv) of the
43Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
44     c.  Deaf and hard-of-hearing children be given an education
45in which teachers, related service providers, and assessors
46understand the unique nature of deafness, are specifically
47trained to work with hard-of-hearing and deaf students, and can
48communicate spontaneously and fluidly with these children.
49     d.  Deaf and hard-of-hearing children, like all children,
50have the benefit of an education in which there is a sufficient
51number of age-appropriate peers and adults with whom they can
52interact and communicate in a spontaneous and fluid way.
53     e.  Deaf and hard-of-hearing children receive an education
54in which they are exposed to deaf and hard-of-hearing role
56     f.  Deaf and hard-of-hearing children, like all children,
57have direct and appropriate access to all components of the
58educational process, including recess, lunch, and
59extracurricular, social, and athletic activities.
60     g.  Deaf and hard-of-hearing children, like all children,
61be provided with programs in which transition planning, as
62required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,
63focuses on their unique vocational needs.
64     h.  Families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing
65receive accurate, balanced, and complete information regarding
66their child's educational and communication needs and the
67available programmatic, placement, and resource options, as well
68as access to support services and advocacy resources from public
69and private agencies, departments, and all other institutions
70and resources knowledgeable about hearing loss and the needs
71of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
72     (b)  Given the central importance of communication to all
73human beings, the purpose of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing
74Children's Educational Bill of Rights is to encourage the
75development of a communication-driven and language-driven
76educational delivery system in the state for children who are
77deaf or hard of hearing.
80     (a)  The Legislature recognizes the unique communication
81needs of children who are deaf or hard of hearing and encourages
82the development of specific recommendations by all state
83agencies, institutions, and political subdivisions concerned
84with the early intervention, early childhood, and kindergarten
85through grade 12 education of students who are deaf or hard of
86hearing, including the Department of Education, the Florida
87School for the Deaf and the Blind, and the Department of Health,
88to ensure that:
89     1.  These children have what every other child takes for
90granted, including an educational environment in which their
91language and communication needs are fully addressed and
92developed and in which they have early, ongoing, and quality
93access to planned and incidental communication opportunities.
94     2.  The methods for carrying out the purposes of the Deaf
95and Hard-of-Hearing Children's Educational Bill of Rights are
96expeditiously implemented.
97     (b)  Because 20 U.S.C. s. 1414(d)(3)(B)(iv) of the
98Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that the
99individual education plan team consider the unique communication
100needs of children who are deaf or hard of hearing, the
101Department of Education shall develop a model "communication
102considerations for students who are deaf or hard of hearing" to
103become part of the individual education plan process. The model
104shall be disseminated to all school districts with training to
105be provided as determined by the department.
106     Section 2.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2011.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.