182201-1:n:02/15/2017:KMS/tgw LRS2017-463




HB253
By Representative Wilcox
RFD Education Policy
Rd 1 16-FEB-17


SYNOPSIS:This bill would require the State Department of Education and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services in consultation with the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind to jointly select language developmental milestones from existing standardized norms for purposes of developing a resource for use by parents to monitor and track deaf and hard-of-hearing children's expressive and receptive language acquisition and developmental stages toward English literacy.
 This bill would establish and provide for the membership of an advisory committee.
 This bill would require the departments to select existing tools or assessments for educators to use in assessing the language and literacy development of deaf and hard-of-hearing children.
 This bill would also require the departments to jointly produce a report that is specific to language and literacy development of deaf and hard-of-hearing children from birth to five years of age, inclusive, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing and have other disabilities, relative to their peers who are not deaf or hard of hearing.

A BILL
TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT

Relating to deaf and hard-of-hearing children; to require the State Department of Education and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services in consultation with the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind to jointly select language developmental milestones to monitor and track expressive and receptive language acquisition and developmental stages toward English literacy; to establish and provide for the membership of an advisory committee; to require the departments to select existing tools or assessments for educators to use; and to require the departments to annually and jointly produce a report.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:

Section 1. For the purpose of this act, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(1) ENGLISH. Includes spoken English, written English, or English with the use of visual supplements.

(2) LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES. Milestones of development aligned with the existing state instrument used to meet the requirements of federal law for the assessment of children from birth to five years of age, inclusive.

Section 2. The State Department of Education and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, in consultation with the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, shall jointly select language developmental milestones from existing standardized norms, pursuant to the process specified in Section 5, for purposes of developing a resource for use by parents to monitor and track deaf and hard-of-hearing children's expressive and receptive language acquisition and developmental stages toward English literacy. This parent resource shall satisfy all of the following:

(1) Include the language developmental milestones selected pursuant to the process specified in Section 5.

(2) Be appropriate for use, in both content and administration, with deaf and hard-of-hearing children from birth to five years of age, inclusive, who use both or one of the languages of American Sign Language (ASL) and English.

(3) Present the developmental milestones in terms of typical development of all children, by age range.

(4) Be written for clarity and ease of use by parents.

(5) Be aligned to the existing infant, toddler, and preschool guidelines, the existing instrument used to assess the development of children with disabilities pursuant to federal law and state standards in English language arts utilized by the departments.

(6) Make clear that the parent resource is not a formal assessment of language and literacy development, and that the observations of a parent of his or her children may differ from formal assessment data presented at an individualized family service plan (IFSP) or individualized education program (IEP) meeting.

(7) Make clear that a parent may bring the parent resource to an IFSP or IEP meeting for purposes of sharing his or her observations about the development of his or her child.

Section 3. (a) The departments shall also select existing tools or assessments for educators that may be used to assess the language and literacy development of deaf and hard-of-hearing children. These educator tools or assessments shall be all of the following:

(1) In a format that shows stages of language development.

(2) Selected for use by educators to track the development of deaf and hard-of-hearing children's expressive and receptive language acquisition and developmental stages toward English literacy.

(3) Selected from existing instruments or assessments used to assess the development of all children from birth to five years of age, inclusive.

(4) Appropriate, in both content and administration, for use with deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

(b) In addition to subsection (a), the educator tools and assessments may be used, in addition to the assessment required by federal law, by the child's IFSP or IEP team, as applicable, to track deaf and hard-of-hearing children's progress, and to establish or modify IFSP or IEP plans, and may reflect the recommendations of the advisory committee established pursuant to Section 6.

Section 4. (a) The departments shall disseminate the parent resource developed pursuant to Section 2 to parents and guardians of deaf and hard-of-hearing children and, pursuant to federal law, shall disseminate the educator tools and assessments selected pursuant to Section 3 to local educational agencies for use in the development and modification of IFSP and IEP plans, and shall provide materials and training on its use, to assist deaf and hard-of-hearing children in becoming linguistically ready for kindergarten using both or one of the languages of ASL and English.

(b) If a deaf or hard-of-hearing child does not demonstrate progress in expressive and receptive language skills, as measured by one of the educator tools or assessments selected pursuant to Section 3, or by the existing instrument used to assess the development of children with disabilities pursuant to federal law, the child's IFSP or IEP team, as applicable, as part of the process required by federal law, shall explain in detail the reasons why the child is not meeting the language developmental milestones or progressing towards them, and shall recommend specific strategies, services, and programs that shall be provided to assist the child's success toward English literacy.

Section 5. (a) On or before March 1, 2018, the departments shall jointly provide the advisory committee established pursuant to Section 6 with a list of existing language developmental milestones from existing standardized norms, along with any relevant information held by each department regarding those language developmental milestones for possible inclusion in the parent resource developed pursuant to Section 2. These language developmental milestones shall be aligned to the existing infant, toddler, and preschool guidelines, the existing instrument used to assess the development of children with disabilities pursuant to federal law, and the state standards in English language arts utilized by the departments.

(b) On or before June 1, 2018, the advisory committee shall recommend language developmental milestones for selection pursuant to Section 2.

(c) On or before June 30, 2018, the departments shall jointly inform the advisory committee of which language developmental milestones were selected.

Section 6. (a) The State Suerintendent of Education shall establish an ad hoc advisory committee for purposes of soliciting input from experts on the selection of language developmental milestones for children who are deaf or hard of hearing that are equivalent to those for children who are not deaf or hard of hearing, for inclusion in the parent resource developed pursuant to Section 2. The advisory committee may also make recommendations on the selection and administration of the educator tools or assessments selected pursuant to Section 3.

(b) The advisory committee shall consist of 13 volunteers, the majority of whom shall be deaf or hard of hearing, and all of whom shall be within the field of education for the deaf and hard of hearing. The advisory committee shall include all of the following:

(1) One parent of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing who uses the dual languages of ASL and English.

(2) One parent of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing who uses only spoken English, with or without visual supplements.

(3) One credentialed teacher of deaf and hard-of-hearing students who use the dual languages of ASL and English.

(4) One credentialed teacher of deaf and hard-of-hearing students from a nonpublic school located in the state.

(5) One expert who researches language outcomes for deaf and hard-of-hearing children using ASL and English.

(6) One expert who researches language outcomes for deaf and hard-of-hearing children using spoken English, with or without visual supplements.

(7) One credentialed teacher of deaf and hard-of-hearing students whose expertise is in curriculum and instruction in ASL and English.

(8) One credentialed teacher of deaf and hard-of-hearing pupils whose expertise is in curriculum and instruction in spoken English, with or without visual supplements.

(9) One advocate for the teaching and use of the dual languages of ASL and English.

(10) One advocate for the teaching and use of spoken English, with or without visual supplements.

(11) One early intervention specialist who works with deaf and hard-of-hearing infants and toddlers using the dual languages of ASL and English.

(12) One credentialed teacher of deaf and hard-of-hearing students whose expertise is in ASL and English language assessment.

(13) One speech pathologist from spoken English, with or without the use of visual supplements.

Section 7. The advisory committee established pursuant to Section 6 may also advise the departments on the content and administration of the existing instrument used to assess the development of children with disabilities pursuant to federal law, as used to assess deaf and hard-of-hearing children's language and literacy development to ensure the appropriate use of that instrument with those children, and may make recommendations regarding future research to improve the measurement of progress of deaf and hard-of-hearing children in language and literacy.

Section 8. Commencing on or before July 31, 2018, and on or before each July 31 thereafter, the departments shall annually jointly produce a report, using existing data reported in compliance with the federally required state performance plan on students with disabilities, that is specific to language and literacy development of deaf and hard-of-hearing children from birth to five years of age, inclusive, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing and have other disabilities, relative to their peers who are not deaf or hard of hearing. The departments shall each make this report available on their websites.

Section 9. All activities of the departments in implementing this act shall be consistent with federal law regarding the education of children with disabilities and state and federal law regarding the privacy of student information.

Section 10. This act shall apply only to children from birth to five years of age, inclusive.

Section 11. This act shall become effective on the first day of the third month following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.


Education
Education Department
Rehabilitation Services Department
Institute for Deaf and Blind
Deaf Persons
Children
Infants