When a child is born or diagnosed with deafness or hearing impairment, both medical responses and educational interventions are available. But how are parents to make informed choices? That’s the subject of a bitter debate right now in Sacramento.
All of this debate is focused on a bill that mainly sets out to create an informational brochure intended to give parents of hearing-impaired infants a roster of resources they can explore. The brochure is to be created by a panel of 15 people knowledgeable about this issue, but even that has become a point of contention. Jim Brune, Executive Director of the Deaf Counseling Advocacy and Referral Agency, Director of charges that the panel will not be representative, but Assemblyman Tony Mendoza says that's not accurate, as the most recent changes in the panel will make it more inclusive.
Perhaps the most vehement opponents of AB 2072 is the The California Deaf Newborn Identification & Advocacy Stakeholder Coalition, a lengthy list of organizations who have mounted a web-based campaign against the bill that includes this list of arguments against it.
They also strongly support early access to American Sign Language. Sheri Farinha, CEO of Deaf Newborn Intervention and Advocacy, says that past failures to do this are now being reflected in the academic performance of students whose exposure to language was delayed past their earliest formative years.
You can read the full text of Assemblyman Mendoza's AB 2072, including the most recent amendments made last Aug. 2o, here.