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Position Statement on Language Access

In support of California EC 56000.5, the Deaf Child's Bill of Rights, this document provides clarification for the CDEs position supporting the right of children to have access to a complete language, visual or spoken, as appropriate, from birth.

In California, there are approximately 17,000 students, ages birth to 22, who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. This includes about 3,000 students who have disabilities, such as intellectual disability, learning disability, or emotional disability, in addition to being Deaf or Hard of Hearing. The California Education Code (EC), Section 56000.5, notes that, “Many hard-of-hearing and deaf children use an appropriate communication mode, sign language, which may be their primary language, while others express and receive language orally and aurally, with or without visual signs or cues.” Further, EC 56000.5, states that, “It is essential that hard-of-hearing and deaf children, like all children, have an education in which their unique communication mode is respected, utilized, and developed to an appropriate level of proficiency.” In support of EC 56000.5, this document provides clarification for the California Department of Education’s position supporting the right of children to have access to a complete language, visual or spoken, as appropriate, from birth. In addition, this document clarifies the right of parents to receive comprehensive and balanced information about all language opportunities, communication tools, and educational approaches available, and to make informed decisions about which language(s) best meet the needs of their child and their family.

What we know
The California Department of Education
Questions:   Nancy Sager | nsager@cde.ca.gov | 916-327-3868
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