My last letter to the Indiana Senate before they discuss and vote on HB 1367. To see the enGROSSed bill go to http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2012/EH/EH1367.1.html
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
Greetings Dear Senator:
I write you yet again in the hopes that you will stop the unjust HB 1367 bill from passing and tainting your legacy. While I commend the Senate appropriation committee for trying to improve the flawed HB 1367 bill and while I know they did not have much to work with given that the original bill was biased beyond compare, the amended HB 1367 is still riddled with wrongs. The band aids can not cover up the bias. The original HB 1367 was originated and backed by Oral ONLY organizations and/or representatives that adhere to audism. Audism is attitudes and practices based on the assumption that behaving in the ways of those who speak and hear is desired and best. It produces a system of privilege, thus resulting in stigma, bias, discrimination, and prejudice—in overt or covert ways—against Deaf culture, American Sign Language, and Deaf people of all walks of life.
Added to the bill is the statement: Sec. 3. (a) The center for deaf and hard of hearing education is established.
(b) The purpose of this article is to support parental choice under the Constitution of the State of Indiana, including the full continuum of communication options
The amended legislation does not specify which part of the Indiana Constitution applies to parental choice. Perhaps you are referring to:
Article 9 Section 1. It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to provide, by law, for the support of institutions for the education of the deaf, the mute, and the blind; and for the treatment of the insane.
(History: As Amended November 6, 1984).
If so, this is an indicator that the state of Indiana should be empowering and investing the Indiana School for the Deaf with implementing the Intervention part of EHDI and the First Step program not an indicator that such services should be removed to a NOT YET created new “unbiased” center when there is no proven need for such.
There is nothing in the Indiana School for the Deaf (ISD) Outreach Center current practices that denies parental choice. Furthermore, ISD Outreach Center already provides strong and effective intervention for Deaf infants and families. There has been no evaluation or independent assessment to indicated that ISD Outreach Center is not providing these services well. Nor is there any proof warranting the disbanding of the ISD Outreach Center and the removal of these services from ISD. The Office of Management and Budget’s December 2011 review of ISD actually harshly criticized the State of Indiana’s EHDI and First Step routing system. The OMB’s report says the scattered systems and services prior to the state referring families to ISD Outreach Center is flawed and results in Deaf infants and children falling through the cracks. This report actually offers more justification for the legislature to adhere to its own state constitution and perform “the duty of the General Assembly to provide, by law, for the support of institutions for the education of the deaf” not to withdraw its support.
It is also noteworthy that in the latest version of HB 1367 the omission of any bilingual (ASL+English) adults specified in the listing of whom “The office of management and budget shall develop the transition plan in consultation with.” Oral adults are specified but no equal notation of ASL +English Deaf adults are noted. How can the new center be unbiased when the bill itself is not?
American Sign Language is mentioned only once in the entire legislation. There is no mention of a bilingual and/or ASL specialist while speech therapists and audiologists are mentioned several times.
While we understand that there is an inordinate amount of pressure on parents to choose an exclusionary and antiquated method of educating their Deaf child under the falsehood that being Oral ONLY will ensure that their child never experience discrimination and will be “successful,” four major international documents have declared that it is unjust and wrong to deprive a Deaf infant and child from a fully natural and accessible language of which Hearing children are automatically afforded regardless of their nationality, race and ethnicity, or sociology-economic background.
No child should have to work for their words all their waking hours. While parents may choose private programs to pursue such a regime, state legislature’s should not sanction, support, and legitimize such practices. See:
From INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON THE EDUCATION OF THE DEAF (ICED) 2010 NEW ERA AGREEMENT
From Statement of Principles:
Reject all resolutions passed at the ICED Milan Congress in 1880 that denied the inclusion of sign language from educational programs for Deaf students
From Accord for the Future:
Call upon all the Nations to involve their Deaf citizens to assist parents of Deaf infants, children and youth in their support services for both Deaf and hearing family members
Call upon all Nations to refer all identified Deaf infants to regional and national organizations of the Deaf, schools and programs for the Deaf for support with early intervention
From WORLD FEDERATION OF THE DEAF POLICY – EDUCATION RIGHTS FOR DEAF CHILDREN
To ensure that the educational rights of Deaf learners are fulfilled, WFD therefore:
• Reaffirms its position that all Deaf people, including Deaf children, have the right to full access to quality education through visual modes, including indigenous sign languages. This position is supported by several international conventions of the UN.
• Supports early identification of Deaf infants and youth, followed promptly with sign language environments and educational intervention strategies and programmes, in partnerships between families, Deaf adults and professionals.
• Calls upon governments to ensure full and equal access to and educational success for Deaf learners based on regular education goals, standards and curricula.
• States, furthermore, that such curricula should provide the opportunity for students to learn in and study both their local/national sign language and the local (written) language as academic subjects.
From UN CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
States Parties shall enable persons with disabilities to learn life and social development skills to facilitate their full and equal participation in education and as members of the community. To this end, States Parties shall take appropriate measures, including:
b. Facilitating the learning of sign language and the promotion of the linguistic identity of the deaf community
From World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank – WORLD REPORT ON DISABILITY
Promote Deaf children’s right to education by recognizing linguistic rights. Deaf children should have early exposure to sign language and be educated as multilinguals in reading and writing. Train teachers in sign language and provide accessible educational material.
I have tried to keep an open mind that the Indiana legislature has simply been misinformed and misguided by some of their very own employees who have been pushing forward this legislation; however, to see the latest version of the bill cite your OWN state Constitution without specifying which provision endorsed and justified the government financing an exclusionary practice of Oral ONLY education – especially in light of Indiana being the first state to unconstitutionally legislate eugenics and having engaged in genocide – if HB 1367 passes the Indiana Senate, I will have to conclude that your state Constitution and our national one – most especially the 14th amendment – mean little to nothing and Deaf infants and children as well as adults mean even less to you.
I truly hope I will not have to reach such a conclusion.
“Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto and VL2’s research into bilingualism and the early visual language shows that there are specific advantages, namely:
–increased visual sensory experience can alter the human brain in ways that afford higher cognitive advantages, and this is especially true of early signers.
–infants exposed to signed languages attend to adults’ use of sign language and eye gaze; this ability to track an adult’s eye gaze is vital to early vocabulary, language, and literacy in English.
–language development milestones for ASL happen at the same rate as spoken language development milestones.
–early exposure to a signed language affords surprising cognitive, linguistic, and reading advantages over age-matched monolingual children and adults.” (See gallaudet . edu / news. php?id=207)
Furthermore, while over 86% of Deaf children and youth spend most if not all of their school day in mainstream settings and there has been a huge increase in implanting Deaf children, the literacy scores are not indicating a marked gain.
There is no proven harm in providing Deaf children with a fully accessible language in addition to clinical services of audition and speech therapy. There is a wealth of evidence that prohibiting a Deaf child from using ASL is harmful (cognitively, emotionally, and socially) – for congressional studies see Babbidge report and the COED report. If you truly want to be unbiased, you can not pass this legislation that is backed by exclusionary promoters.
Please stop putting band aids on a biased bill and don’t allow Indiana’s Constitution and legislature to be marred by its earlier history of perpetuating injustices. This bill will be costly in more ways than one.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.