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     13-33B-1.   Programs for deaf and hard-of-hearing children. The Department of Education may establish a program and policy to be disseminated to all school districts and other local educational agencies which promote the education of deaf and hard-of-hearing children and which recognizes the following:
             (1)      That deafness involves the most basic of human needs, the ability to communicate with other human beings. Many deaf and hard-of-hearing children use, as their primary communication mode, American sign language, while others express and receive language through English-based sign language, or orally and aurally, with or without visual signs or cues. Still others, typically young deaf and hard-of-hearing children, lack any significant language skills. Deaf and hard-of-hearing children require educational programs that provide appropriate, ongoing, and communicationally accessible educational opportunities. For the purposes of this chapter, communication mode and language refer to the individual child's communication mode or language, whether oral, manual, or a combination of oral and manual. The purpose of this chapter is to promote understanding of communication needs and not to favor any one particular communication mode or language over another;
             (2)      That deaf and hard-of-hearing children shall have an education in which their unique communication mode is respected, utilized, and developed to an appropriate level of proficiency;
             (3)      That deaf and hard-of-hearing children have an education in which special education teachers, psychologists, speech therapists, assessors, administrators, interpreters, and other personnel understand the unique nature of deafness and are specifically trained to work with deaf and hard-of-hearing children and in which their special education teachers and interpreters are proficient in the primary language mode of those children;
             (4)      That deaf and hard-of-hearing children have an education with a sufficient number of language mode peers who are of the same or approximately the same age and ability level and with whom the children can communicate directly, or as appropriate through the use of qualified interpreters;
             (5)      That parents of deaf and hard-of-hearing children, deaf and hard-of- hearing people, teachers, and professionals trained in the area of education of the deaf assist in determining the extent, content, and purpose of this program;
             (6)      That deaf and hard-of-hearing children have direct and appropriate access to all components of the educational process, including recess, lunch, and extracurricular social and athletic activities;
             (7)      That deaf and hard-of-hearing children have programs in which their unique vocational needs are provided for, including appropriate research, curricula, programs, staff, and outreach;
             (8)      That a determination of the least restrictive environment as used in state and federal law takes into consideration the unique communication needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing children as described in this chapter;
             (9)      The Department of Education shall take such steps as are necessary to implement this section, including, but not limited to, the development of written and other materials, the dissemination of said information, and the provision of workshops, symposia, and other procedures to insure that the local educational agencies understand and implement the policy of this chapter.

Source: SL 1993, ch 143, § 1; SL 2004, ch 17, § 27.

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