Feb 092009
 

From the National Association of the Deaf, 2/6/09
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (also called the Economic Stimulus Bill) has several provisions that could improve the lives of people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The U.S. Senate is now considering making changes to the Economic Stimulus Bill.

You can take action, too.  Find your Senators’ phone numbers at

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm.

Call and tell your Senators:

“Please support funding in the Economic Stimulus Bill for special education, school construction, vocational rehabilitation, and broadband technology.  This funding will help our state and help ensure quality education for our children who are deaf or hard of hearing, and vocational rehabilitation services and full employment opportunities for our citizens who are deaf or hard of hearing.”

Here’s what the NAD is doing:

The NAD, in coalition with other groups, recently sent a letter to the House of Representatives, applauding several specific provisions of the Economic Stimulus Bill (H.R. 1).  A copy of that letter was sent to the Obama administration.  These provisions included:

  • Special Education – $13 billion for Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), enabling essential services to be provided to deaf and hard of hearing children covered by the Act. Plus, $600 million for Part C of the IDEA to assist states in implementing coordinated systems of comprehensive programs and make early intervention services available to children and their families.

    School Construction – $14 billion to modernize, renovate, and repair our nation’s elementary and secondary schools, which should include schools for the deaf.

    Vocational Rehabilitation – $500 million, which will improve the range of services designed to help persons with disabilities, include those who are deaf and hard of hearing, to best prepare them for gainful employment. This is sorely needed, as many states face long wait lists, or a freezing of new applications.

    Broadband Technology – $9 billion, which will allow for improvements in online accessibility for everyone, including individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The NAD, in coalition with other groups, has also advocated to ensure that funding for broadband technology made available through the Economic Stimulus Bill includes assurances of accessibility and usability by people with disabilities (i.e., videos must be captioned), may support the development of technology to meet the needs of people with disabilities (i.e., people who are deaf-blind), and improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The NAD will continue to advocate, at every possible opportunity, for these and other provisions in the Economic Stimulus Bill that will ensure quality education for deaf and hard of hearing children, vocational rehabilitation services and full employment for adults who are deaf or hard of hearing.

– Thanks to NVRC, Fairfax