In 2007 and 2008, a group of educational audiologists and teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing met to make changes in eligibility requirements that would increase the number of children able to receive services. MNCDHH was asked to help advocate for these changes and mobilized teachers, parents and members of the deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing community to testify in person and in writing to the Administrative Law Judge Nielsen, who was making the decisions about the rules. Judge Nielsen determined that a separate rule-making process was needed to accept these changes.
MNCDHH continues to advocate for adoption of the eligibility requirements in Minnesota. Now that we have mandatory hearing screening at birth, and greatly improved eligibility requirements for infants and toddlers, we need to make sure that the eligibility requirements for service from three to twenty-one are solid.
If incorporated, the recommended changes would result in:
pre-kindergarten children over the age of three with a hearing loss, who do not have a measurable delay, would continue to be eligible for special education services
terminology in the Rules conforming with language that is in state statute
eligibility criteria applied more uniformly across districts
a more cost effective but evidence based practice added as an option/alternative to a procedure that is currently mandated
teachers of deaf and hard of hearing becoming part of the team that determines eligibility
The current eligibility requirements are outlined in Minnesota Rules Chapter 3525.1331 Deaf and Hard of Hearing (external link).