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INTRODUCTION BACKGROUND In December of 2014, the New Mexico Task Force for Education for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children and Youth was reestablished. This working group had two purposes, to gauge the progress our state has made regarding the recommendations of the 2003 Task Force and the 2004 NM Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’s Educational Bill of Rights and to work collaboratively to ensure that students are obtaining an education in New Mexico commensurate with these rights. The following major initiatives represent progress in the last ten years to support equity and access to education and learning for children and youth statewide: • Legislative passage of NM Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’s Educational Bill of Rights (HB 186) • Development and implementation of the Communication Considerations IEP Addendum (2004) • Strategic initiatives by NMSD which increased its critical mass of deaf and hard of hearing professionals • Expansion of statewide programs and services through NMSD’s Center for Educational Consultation & Training and Early Intervention and Involvement Division • Coordination to increase identification and early intervention of newborns

NEW MEXICO DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING STUDENTS New Mexico is a geographically large and predominantly rural state. Approximately 552 deaf and hard of hearing students are identified by the New Mexico Public Education Department as receiving special education services in Pre-K, K-12 programs. About 160 of these students attend school in NMSD’s Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Farmington, and Las Cruces programs; about 119 students are in Albuquerque Public Schools; about 40 students are in Las Cruces Public Schools. The remainder are served in Local Education Agencies (LEAs), private schools and charter schools across the state. The Task Force agreed there are more students in the state with hearing loss but there are limited or no mechanisms for tracking these students. This includes students who are receiving services through 504 plans under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It also includes students who are eligible for special education services because of multiple learning challenges in addition to being deaf or hard of hearing and students eligible under the designation of speech-language impaired. There are approximately 180 children in the 0-3 age range identified as deaf or hard of hearing statewide who are receiving specialized early intervention services through the New Mexico School for the Deaf. Additionally, Presbyterian Ear Institute, located in Albuquerque, serves about 25 children in this age range. Given New Mexico birth rates and the nationally recognized incidence of hearing loss, the state should be identifying and serving between 75-80 infants each year by the age of six months. New Mexico is currently identifying and serving less than 50% of these infants in a timely manner. For the purposes of this report, the term “deaf and hard of hearing” recognizes diversity within this population including but not limited to children who: are culturally Deaf, have multiple disabilities, are deaf-blind, are from linguistically diverse backgrounds, use spoken language and/or ASL, and use listening and amplification technologies. Deaf and hard of hearing children are often receiving education in environments where they are in the extreme minority. Mitchell and Karchmer (2006) found that eighty percent (80%) of neighborhood schools serving deaf and hard of hearing students had three or fewer students with hearing loss or deafness and 53% of schools were serving only one deaf and hard hearing student. These demographics continue to be alarming as reflected in the current introduction of the Alice Cogswell and Annie Sullivan Macy Act (H.R. 3535) calling for the assurance of high quality special education services for deaf and hard of hearing children including opportunities for direct communication with peers and adults. The low incidence of students who are deaf or hard of hearing and the rural nature of New Mexico exacerbates the likelihood that a deaf or hard of hearing student will be the only student like themselves in a classroom, in a school, and possibly in the whole school district. This is extremely problematic for a deaf or hard of hearing student who can experience social, academic, and language and communication isolation in these settings. Additionally, planning and providing specialized services for a small number of deaf and hard of hearing children, who are likely not at the same academic level, can be very challenging for school districts. 4

NMSD Task Force Report 2016  

New Mexico Task Force for Education for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Children & Youth

NMSD Task Force Report 2016  

New Mexico Task Force for Education for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Children & Youth

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