The NAD and LEAD-K Partnership

[Video description can be found below. If you use a screen reader and need to access the English caption file transcript, go to “More…” and click on “Transcript”]

NAD President Melissa and LEAD-K Campaign Director Sheri share the NAD and LEAD-K partnership.

VIDEO DESCRIPTION AND TRANSCRIPT: Melissa (left) and Sheri (right) is standing in front of a green plant and white walls. A small white NAD logo appears on bottom right corner.

MELISSA: Hi, I’m Melissa Draganac-Hawk, President of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).

SHERI: Hello, I’m Sheri Farinha and I am the Campaign Director for LEAD-K.

MELISSA: We’re thrilled to do this video together to explain the NAD and LEAD-K partnership. Our collaboration has actually been ongoing since day one of LEAD-K. At the NAD Conference in 2016, delegates passed a motion to have LEAD-K as one of the NAD’s top five priorities. Since then we have been communicating on further collaboration. Sheri, can you share a little bit about LEAD-K and its purpose?

SHERI: Sure! LEAD-K stands for Language Equality and Acquisition for all deaf and hard of hearing kids to be Kindergarten ready. LEAD-K is a civil rights movement for all states to propose a bill that is deaf-led with the support of stakeholders. Stakeholders include parents, teachers, educators, professionals, and organizations such as National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA), National Asian Deaf Congress (NADC), Council de Manos, Registry of Interpreters (RID), and more. LEAD-K encourages all to work together to develop a model bill that becomes legislation. LEAD-K focuses on English and reading skills to better support deaf and hard of hearing kids. In the U.S., 80 to 90 percent of deaf and hard of hearing children are language deprived. It is time to end that crisis.

MELISSA: The NAD agrees that this crisis must end now. All of us have the same belief in this important cause, including state associations, organizations, and parent groups. With everyone in agreement on a bill that prevents language deprivation, the bill becomes much more powerful. If your state is interested, please contact us.

SHERI: I’d like to add one more thing: language milestones. We encourage working with parents to establish goals for their child in terms of language milestones. Set up goals for when they turn one year old, two years old, three, four, and five. The purpose of LEAD-K is for deaf children to be kindergarten ready. The bill provides a way to track the children’s progress and can provide alerts if these children are not doing well. With this tracking, any deficiencies in language can be caught early enough instead of waiting until it is too late.

MELISSA: Right.

SHERI: LEAD-K asks for follow up assessment among many other good things.

MELISSA: Sheri is right about catching the problem early enough. Language deprivation starts at a very young age. If a child is identified with language delays at one and half years old, we can provide tools and services to ensure they become kindergarten ready by the time they turn five years old. We must avoid waiting until it is too late.

SHERI: This bill is not about favoring only one language like choosing ASL or choosing spoken English — this bill asks for language access in whatever language the child uses and get them ready for Kindergarten.

MELISSA: The NAD and LEAD-K is working together to improve the lives for deaf children.

BOTH: Support deaf children!

Video fades to a soft white background with several different font types showing “NAD” very quickly. Copyright video ends with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) logo centered. Blue text below the logo appears, “A production of the National Association of the Deaf (copyright) 2017 All Rights Reserved”.

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