BabyNet Public Hearings & Comment Period
Early Hearing Detection Act Reauthorization
Sign Language Interpreter Act
1. BabyNet Public Hearings
>> Comments from parents, educators, policymakers, and the provider community are wanted on a change with BabyNet.
What is BabyNet?
BabyNet is South Carolina’s interagency early intervention system for infants and toddlers under three years of age with developmental delays, or who have conditions associated with developmental delays.
Why have BabyNet?
Young children learn and develop differently. One baby may walk earlier than another, while another baby might talk first. Often, these differences will even out. But, some children will need extra help. BabyNet will evaluate the child at no cost to determine if they may be eligible for services.
BabyNet matches the special needs of infants and toddlers who have developmental delays with the professional resources available within the community. Services are provided in everyday routines, activities, and places relevant to the life of the family.
How does one connect with BabyNet?
Anyone (a parent, doctor, caregiver, teacher or friend) can make a referral. Look for signs that an infant or toddler might need extra help. If you suspect a child may have a problem, the earlier you get help, the better!
What is the change happening with BabyNet?
South Carolina’s Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C program, known in South Carolina as “BabyNet,” will be transferred from SC First Steps to the SC Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) on July 1, 2017 after Executive Order 2016-20 was issued by the President.
The South Carolina Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC) is holding several public hearings for comments on this change. Specifically regarding the 2017-18 IDEA Part C Grant Application, changes to BabyNet Policies and Procedures, and the lead agency transfer.
What can I do?
- Provide written public comment here
- Attend and comment at the public hearing in your area listed below:
To read the existing approved policies:
To learn more about BabyNet:
2. Early Hearing Detection Act Reauthorization | Federal Bill
>> Several Senators have introduced a bill that would reauthorize newborn hearing tests.
What is the bill?
The Early Hearing and Detection Act of 2017, a bipartisan bill that was introduced in both the House and Senate, would reauthorize a federal program for newborn hearing tests.
Why is this bill important?
This Act provides federal funding critical to South Carolina’s mandated newborn hearing screenings. Without our state’s program, just imagine how many children wouldn’t have been identified early on. Beginnings SC speaks constantly about and works constantly to ensure that children are identified early on so that they can begin receiving early intervention and making strides in language development so they are ready for school.
Why is early hearing detection important?
“So much of a child’s development happens in the first few years of their life, which is why early detection and intervention is so important. This bill will ensure that more infants have access to critical hearing screenings, so parents can be informed about the options for their children’s care. I’m pleased to join Congressman Guthrie in introducing this important legislation that will improve health, social, and educational outcomes for kids as they grow.” – Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06)
“Early hearing detection is critical because children with hearing loss often fall behind their peers in speech development, cognitive skills, and social skills. This bill takes important steps to improve early hearing detection and intervention for newborns, infants, and young children, and I’m hopeful we can move this legislation quickly in a strong bipartisan way.” – Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)
What would the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act do?
“The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act reauthorizes and improves critical programs that ensure we are properly diagnosing and treating hearing loss in newborns, infants, and young children. Access to these services meets an important public health need for families across the country. We know that early intervention means improved outcomes, and our bill will benefit the families of hard-of-hearing children who rely on these services.” – Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)
What can I do?
- Contact your representatives. This is a bipartisan noncontroversial piece of legislation. It currently has no SC sponsors.
- Call, email, send a letter, or visit them in person. A phone call is better than an email. You won’t get much time on a phone call but speak from your perspective as a parent.
- Find your representatives.
3. Sign Language Interpreter Act | State Bill
>> A bill has been introduced in SC regarding Sign Language Interpreters.
What is the bill?
Senator Katrina Shealy recently introduced the Sign Language Interpreter Act Bill S.548/H.4040 to the SC Senate. It has since been referred to the Committee on Labor, Commerce, and Industry.
Why is this bill important?
This bill would require sign language interpreters to have a specific level of competence in order to work in certain state entities, such as government, public schools, hospitals, etc…
Can I see the actual bill?
Yes – you can see it in print or ASL!
What can I do?
How do I find my legislators?
- Go to: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/legislatorssearch.php.
- Type in your address and click “Find Legislators.”
Below is an example using Beginnings’ office address.
Which legislators would I contact about The Early Hearing and Detection Act of 2017 vs. the Sign Language Interpreter Act Bill S.548/H.4040?
- The Early Hearing and Detection Act of 2017 is a federal piece of legislation. This means you would contact your United States Senators and Representative.
- The Sign Language Interpreter Act Bill S.548/H.4040 is a piece of legislation for South Carolina, so you would contact your South Carolina State Senator and Representative.
How do I contact them?
If you click on their names, you will be taken to either their profile or their own website. From here you can find their contact information.
Ex: US Senator
Ex: SC Senator:
Is it intimidating to contact my legislators?
It might seem intimidating to contact your legislators, especially over the phone or in person, but it shouldn’t be. In this case, you are the expert. You’re a parent, a professional, or a community member who knows about this issue first hand. You have real-life examples from your real life. This is your opportunity to be the expert—educate your legislators about these issues that are near and dear to your heart. Just remember, you’re the expert, and this is how our legislators are able to represent us in their decisions.
If we don’t tell them, they’ll never know.
What is ESY?
- Extended School Year (ESY) IS additional special education services needed for a child with a disability that is “necessary [for] the child to benefit from his or her education…so that the child can make progress toward the goals specified on the child’s IEP and to prevent regression.”
- Extended School Year (ESY) IS NOT summer school. ALL children, especially those with disabilities, would benefit from extra instruction during the summer months; ESY is not for that purpose.
How do they even figure out who needs that?
Some guiding questions from the SC Office of Special Education Services:
- Does the IEP team think the child will regress (or lose skills) during the school break(s) so that he or she would not be able to pick up where he or she left off?
- If the child is without special education services during the school break, would that “significantly affect his or her maintenance of skills and behaviors”? Sometimes we call this a “critical learning period.” One example is that the child has FINALLY caught on to language acquisition and if she were without special instruction for 10 weeks, next year’s teacher might have to start over.
- Are there “instructional areas or related services needed that are crucial in moving toward self- sufficiency and independence?” One example would be a child that maintains good behavior during the school-year because of the super structured nature of the classroom, and 10 weeks without that might send the child back months and months.
From the Office of Special Education Process Guide for South Carolina, Rev. 3/20/2013. http://ed.sc.gov/scdoe/assets/File/districts-schools/special-ed-services/Special%20Ed%20Process%20Guide%20SEPG-2013.pdf
While Summer is still months away, there are always quite a few camps for deaf and hard of hearing children, teens, and young adults that you’ll want to be sure to register for ahead of time while there’s still space! Check them out! Click here for a downloadable PDF: 2017 Summer Camps
Camp Wonder Hands |Batesburg-Leesville, SC (Overnight)
Sunday, July 16 – Friday, July 21, 2017
Learn more & register: http://ow.ly/x9X8309fyaJ
SC School for the Deaf and Blind Camp | Spartanburg, SC (Overnight) (FREE, free transportation)
Sunday, June 18, 2017 – Saturday, June 24, 2017
Ages 6-16 | Teen Camp ages 13-16
**Register early – space is limited!
Learn more & register: call 864-577-7558
Camp Sertoma | Pendleton, SC (Overnight)
Sessions range from June – July 2017. For details, visit: http://campsertomasc.com/sessions/
**Must be sponsored by a local Sertoma club – contact your local Sertoma club
Learn more & register: http://www.campsertomasc.com/
Camp Burnt Gin | Wedgefield, SC (Overnight) (Free)
Sessions range from June – August 2017. For details, visit: http://ow.ly/Sk16309fBlv
Children Camp ages 7-15 | Teen Camp ages 16-20 | Young Adult Camp ages 21-25
The official application deadline: March 1, 2017 – applications may be taken late if slots are available!
**Please be sure to request an interpreter if your child will need one.
Bill Rice Ranch Christian Camp | Murfreesboro, TN (Overnight) (FREE, possible free transportation)
Sessions range from June – July 2017
Learn more & register: http://www.billriceranch.org/deaf-ministries/deaf-camp
Spring Camp Cheerio (formerly known as Cue Camp) | Glade Valley, NC (Overnight)
Friday, May 19 – Sunday, May 21, 2017.
Learn more & register: www.springcampcheerio.org
Camp Communication Vacation: “Superheroes SuperEARos” | Charleston, SC (Day Camp) (FREE)
Monday, July 17 – Friday, July 21, 2017
Learn more & register by June 16, 2017: http://ow.ly/mAxL309tBoh
Koala Camp | Columbia College, Columbia, SC
Ages 18 months-3 years | M & W, 11am-Noon, June 5-28
Ages 4-7 years | T & Th, 11am-noon, June 6-29
Learn more & register by May 1, 2017: http://ow.ly/EsNB30avT3x
And, don’t forget about the 2017 Back to School Bash for Children and Adults with Hearing Loss and Their Families. Long name, great info, resources, connections, and fun! Let us know your interest now!
**Compiled from available information as of March 1, 2017 by Beginnings SC staff.
One of Beginnings SC’s Board members, Missy, has been Deaf since birth. She and her husband, who is also Deaf, use American Sign Language as their primary mode of communication, as do their two children. In November 2016, their oldest child begins to request an evaluation of his hearing because he was pretty sure he had a hearing loss, but wasn’t sure how much. Watch Missy as she gives an account of the past few months and where everyone is now.
Captions are available, but below is also the transcript that Missy wrote herself.
- Language builds on language.
- 80-90% of what a 5 year old knows going into kindergarten is learned incidentally – that means without thinking, without trying, the brain is listening and hearing and building language. Kids with a hearing loss don’t have the luxury of that easy acquisition
- Be patient.
- Remember that every parent comes to the table wanting to be the best parent they can, to do their best; they may not be the best expert on their child’s educational needs but they want to be, so be patient.
- If you’ve met one child with hearing loss, you’ve met one child with hearing loss.
- The impact of hearing loss on development is dependent on age, home environment, services, technology, etc… Every child is unique and requires an open mind to consider what their needs are.
- Write the Individualized Education Plan for that one child, not “this is what we do in this district.”
- Aspects of IDEA that we apply to other SpEd kids may look different to student with a hearing loss. For example, LRE (Least Restrictive Environment) applies to language, too. Is the student’s language level within 1-2 years of their peers? If not, they probably don’t have access to the curriculum or interactions with their peers.
- It goes a long way to intentionally create a relationship with a child’s parent.
- The IEP team for a child who is deaf or hard of hearing is usually large, so ask the parent(s) to come sit next to you so they feel they have a personal supporter in the room.
- If your district has a DHH consultant, call them and ask questions! Find out what they can teach you.
- Remember “adverse affect” for students who are DHH. Have you included/assessed:
- communication needs and the child’s and family’s preferred mode of communication?
- linguistic needs?
- severity of hearing loss and potential for using residual hearing?
- academic level?
- social, emotional, and cultural needs including opportunities for peer interactions and communication?
- Organize and bring your child’s paperwork with you.
- The most important ones to bring are:
- your child’s current IEP
- new audiological reports
- new evaluation reports
- Take paper to use to write notes during the meeting.
- The Beginnings parent notebook is a great organizing tool!
- The most important ones to bring are:
- For the meeting, think of your main goal(s) – try not to have more than 3. It tends to “muddy the waters” if there are too many issues.
- Make yourself a script if you need to – read it if you get nervous!
- If you are nervous that the meeting is going to get rough, bring a friend or your Beginnings Parent Education Specialist to help you stay calm, focused, and to help take notes.
- Go into the meeting with the mindset that everyone is there because they are there for your child and want to do best… but, even though they are the professionals, you are still the one that knows the child the best – and a crucial part of the team.
- When it is your turn to talk, thank someone. You can thank someone for the hard work with your child, something one of the team members reported on, etc.
- If you don’t understand the vocabulary they are using, ask! There’s only so much IDEA, LRE, FBA ,PLOP, ABR, and CBM you can take!
- Don’t leave the meeting without a copy of the IEP, even if they say it is “all messy and I’ll clean it up tomorrow.” Just say, “Give me a copy of the messy one, and I’ll throw it away when I get the clean one.”