Q. What will working with LEAD-K look like?
A. This collaborative work will evolve as we move forward. For now, we have agreed to collaborate on state-level legislation for those states desired by both organizations. As we move forward, we will look for other ways to work together. As part of this process, we request that everyone involved engage in fair and mutually respectful behavior while discussing differences, as well as look for mutually agreeable solutions when possible and agree to disagree when necessary.
In closing, AG Bell and LEAD-K as organizations represent different sides of a long-held argument about how children who are deaf or hard of hearing learn and live. With the advent of early hearing detection (through State Early Hearing Detection and Intervention [EHDI] programs), significant advances in hearing technology, and earlier access to professionals (e.g., audiologists, speech-language pathologists, educators who specialize in deafness, listening and spoken language specialists and other qualified professionals), AG Bell continues to focus on its mission “working globally to ensure that people who are deaf and hard of hearing can hear and talk.”
Children who are born with or acquire hearing loss have a greater opportunity today than at any other point in history to be identified early, fitted with technology (e.g., hearing aids and cochlear implants), and provided with early intervention and family support services that can help them to develop age-level and above age-level speech and language skills. However, for a variety of reasons, some children have not received this support and these services.
As an organizational member of the deaf and hard of hearing community, AG Bell believes that decisions related to language, communication, technology, and education are up to the parents of individual children. In recognition that “no one size fits all,” AG Bell also believes that an array of options, opportunities, and choices need to continue to be available. To this end, there is still much work to be done to ensure children and families have access to information about listening, speech and language development, the options that exist, and the services needed to achieve their goals for language and communication success.
AG Bell hopes that this modified LEAD-K legislation will help facilitate significant progress towards improved outcomes for larger numbers of children.
For questions and more information related to the agreement, please contact:
AG Bell Public Policy Consultant
AG Bell Chief Strategy Officer
Click below to view the amended model bill, AG Bell’s press release and statement.
Amended Model Bill
AG Bell Statement on LEAD-K Agreement
AG Bell and LEAD-K Press Release