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Language Acquisition Video Series: Part 1

Laws for Minnesota’s Children who are Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing

8/17/2018 8:33:33 AM

ASL version

If you are DeafBlind or prefer to watch the video in a slow-paced, high contrast format, watch the DeafBlind friendlier ASL version instead.

English version

A four-part series about language acquisition, data collection, and kindergarten readiness: Part 1

Sometimes a community member asks MNCDHH if we can advocate for LEAD-K in Minnesota. We tell them that MNCDHH, parents, and advocates got LEAD-K laws passed back in 2007. It doesn’t have the name, LEAD-K. 

What is LEAD-K?

Maybe not everyone knows what LEAD-K is so let’s explain a little.  LEAD-K is short for Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids. It is a national coalition that advocates for states to pass laws to make sure that deaf, deafblind & hard of hearing kids from ages 0-5 have a good start to life. A good start to life includes language acquisition and kindergarten readiness. 

LEAD-K is about making sure that children are meeting milestones for one or both languages – ASL and English. It also requires that assessments and data reporting include language to make sure that children from ages 0-5 are meeting their language milestones. 

There are 6 parts of LEAD-K, which was described in a brilliant article in Gallaudet Odyssey (Spring 2016), “The Power and Promise of a Handshake: Milestones in Collaboration (PDF)”, written by Dr. Roz Rosen. Minnesota already has these 6 parts in our state laws. The parts are:

  • Establishing a clear goal – children will be ready for kindergarten
  • Agreeing on a principal – children have the right to language, ASL and/or English. Parents need language milestones starting at their child’s birth. The state, already mandated to provide early intervention programs, needs to be held accountable for outcomes.
  • Sharing important information – data sharing must be done so that legislators and stakeholders are fully aware of the needs and outcomes of children.
  • Ensuring that diverse stakeholders are at the table – different perspectives and experiences strengthen the outcomes. This is very, very important.
  • Collaborating between various organizations and legislative bodies can lead to positive results.  
  • Making sure that deaf leaders are involved and that goals and processes are deaf-centric. 

In Minnesota, our laws are the building blocks to ensuring that children who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing are successful. It is not perfect but we have a strong foundation to build upon. We are a great model for other states to follow.

To be continued

So, we have covered the national LEAD-K campaign and a little about the importance of working together. In the next video, we will focus on the language acquisition and tracking laws here in Minnesota. 

Additional information

  • Part 2 of this series will be released next week. Watch for it!
  • Special thanks to Danelle Gournaris and Jessi Aguilar from Lifetrack Resources Deaf Mentor Family Program (DMFP) for starring in the video series to share this important information.
  • For additional information on the laws and funding, please visit MNCDHH's Early Hearing Detection and Intervention page
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