Sign language lobby wants to limit educational choice for parents of deaf kids

Why is Red County blogger Allen Wilson against choice for parents of deaf children?

UPDATE: Click here to see the latests news on AB 2072 (June 12, 2010)

Remember when bilingual education activists went nuts and fought tooth and nail to keep children who were not fluent in English from being taught in English? The Unz initiative put an end to that nonsense, despite heavy pressure from educators who were making money off these programs.

Well, here we go again. This time the folks who teach sign language are trying to stop Assembly Bill 2072, a new bill that will give parents who discover that their newborn infants are deaf a chance to do something about it.  This bill is written by Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, from the 56th Assembly district, which includes Buena Park and Whittier.

Currently the state mandates that the hospital tell the parents about their “options.” However, thanks to the sign language lobby, the options are limited to teaching the deaf kids sign language – a language hardly anyone knows.

The new law will instead mandate that the parents be informed about all their choices, which inlcude surgical ear implants, reading lips, etc.

Here is what the proposed bill actually states:

Existing law, the California Early Start Intervention Services Act, commonly known as the Early Start program, provides various early intervention services for infants and toddlers who have disabilities to enhance their development and to minimize the potential for developmental delays.

This bill would also require that the parents of a newborn or infant diagnosed with a hearing loss receive written information on all communication options for children with hearing loss by an audiologist or other related professional at a followup appointment after diagnosis with a hearing loss, and by the Early Start Program when a child enters the program and when a child is referred to the program by a state agency.

It would also specify that the state shall not incur the cost of or implement this bill.

You can read the rest of the bill at this link.

Why would anyone oppose this bill?  Simple.  The sign language lobby is insane.  They don’t want deaf children to learn how to speak.  They want to keep them in the sign language ghetto.  It is ridiculous.

Barry Sewell, a deaf blogger, supports AB 2072

Are they options to sign language? You bet! Surgery is one option, another is special schools that immerse children in language. For example, the Oralingua School in Whittier. Their mission is to “To immerse children who are deaf or hard of hearing in a language-rich environment that promotes listening skills, spoken language, problem solving and social interaction that will enable them to function effectively in society while supporting their families who share those goals.”

Parents of children at Oralingua swear by the curriculum. And almost all of them will tell you that their children were negatively affected by the current dogma at the California Department of Education, which refuses to tell parents that they have options besides sign language.

So what’s next? Proponents and opponents of AB 2072 spent the day in Sacramento today, contacting the members of the Assembly Health Committee, which will be voting on AB 2072. Click here to see a list of the members and their email addresses.

I spoke today with Elisa Roche, a parent of a profoundly deaf child who is doing great at Oralingua. Roche is also the Executive Director at Oralingua. She was in Sacramento all day and met with most of the Health Committee members.

She also told me that Red County blogger Allen Wilson was up there this week as well. And he was using the sign language lobby’s talking points!

According to Wilson’s Red County bio, he “is a hearing-impaired GOP activist.”  But he can speak. And he uses hearing aids so that he can hear who he is talking to. The irony is that the sign language lobby would prefer that he not speak at all. And yet he is lobbying for them.

I wonder if Wilson is getting paid to shill, like Red County editor Matt Cunningham and Red County publisher Chip Hanlon do?

Remember that kids brought up in the sign language arena cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.  It actually costs a lot less to teach kids via alternative means.  And the results speak for themselves.  Yet the supposedly conservative Wilson is able to lobby the legislators against AB 2072 only because he can speak.  If he could only speak via sign language he would be of no use to the sign language lobby, as a lobbyist.  Oh the irony…

Isn’t it time to give parents of deaf children a full complement of choices? Please contact your state legislator and ask him or her to support AB 2072.

UPDATE: Allen Wilson admits to having met with several legislators, in opposition to AB 2720, but he says he was not doing so for money.  My sources tell me that his message to the legislators was right out of the sign language movement’s talking points.  He appears to be against options for parents of deaf kids.  Almost every other state in the nation offeres choice to parents. Not so California.  Millions of dollars of federal education money is stuck in the sign language camp, at the discretion of the State Department of Education.  You can read Wilson’s take on this at this link.

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