Delaware governor signs bills providing services for the hearing and speech impaired

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August 14, 2012

By Jennifer Springer

Delaware

DOVER, Delaware: Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed into law on August 3 two bills providing services for people with hearing and speech disabilities.[1][2]

One bill, Senate Bill 248, provides telecommunications services for the deaf and those with hearing loss or speech disabilities. The other, House Bill 384, updates the Universal Newborn and Infant Hearing Screening Act. The update requires a tracking and intervention protocol when a child has been identified as needing additional hearing services. It also creates the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Advisory Board.[2]

State Representative Quinn Johnson, sponsor of House Bill 384 noted that it also helps the state adhere to federal standards and helps allow Delaware to continue to receive federal funding that is provided to run the newborn hearing screening process. Only federal money is received and used for the program.[3]

Governor Markell said in an August 3 press conference, “Both of these bills address the overall quality of life for many in Delaware. For our youngest population, we are helping to strengthen Delaware’s hearing screening law and early intervention services. For those who currently experience deafness, hearing loss or speech disabilities, we are greatly improving their ability to communicate easily and effectively with others. Though the changes are small, the impact is extraordinarily significant."[3]

State Senator Karen Peterson who sponsored Senate Bill 248 commented, “This bill addresses a long-neglected need among Delawareans who are deaf, hearing impaired, or speech impaired. It provides real-time captioned telephone services for those who do not have internet access. For hundreds of Delawareans, it will truly be a lifeline.”[3]

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