What are the foundations in place for language acquisition and kindergarten readiness in Minnesota? (Continued.)
There are many laws in Minnesota for language acquisition and reporting. We will briefly explain each law and we will provide the law and statute number too. We also want to make sure it is clear that while we successfully advocated for these laws and we continue to track their results, other state agencies or organizations are responsible for the implementation and do the day to day work. We will explain who.

Collaboration of MDE’s Part C EHDI Coordinator and MDH’s EHDI Coordinators
Here is a quick explanation of EHDI and Part C.

EHDI stands for Early Hearing Detection & Intervention.
Part C is the program for the special education services that the Minnesota Department of Education provides to children from age 0-3.
It can be challenging to remember who is from the Minnesota Department of Health and who is from the Minnesota Department of Education so we will explain. Both agencies have an agreement to share data with each other (like evaluation data and milestones but nothing that identifies a child or family) so that they can track outcomes better.

MDE has a Part C EHDI Coordinator. Since 2007, MDE’s EHDI Coordinator ensures a seamless transition between identification and educational intervention, as required by 125A.63 Subd 5. Also, the coordinator oversees 15 EHDI teams around the state who train service providers to complete the developmental assessments including language acquisition and Kindergarten Readiness for students. The results of the assessments (again, data only) are reported to both MDE and MDH. Also, the EHDI Coordinator receives input from the EHDI Advisory Committee. Parents receive reports about their child every six months.
MDH has two EHDI coordinators who work on the 1-3-6 goals, which focuses on Universal Hearing Loss Screening. In case you missed the first video, the 1-3-6 goals are hearing loss screening by one month, confirmation of hearing loss by three months, and beginning intervention services by six months.
The coordinator gathers all of the collected data from the assessments and reports it biennially to the Legislature, MNCDHH, and the EHDI Advisory Committee, as required by 125a.63 Subd 4 – Outcomes report on students who are deaf and hard of hearing.

In 2017, the Visual Communication and Sign Language Checklist for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children (VCSL) has been added to the list of assessments used by teachers who have an advanced SLPI score and have been trained to use the tool. The MN Deaf Mentors were also trained to use the VCSL to collect data. This year the Deaf Mentors are partnering with teachers in a pilot project to see if the partnership offers more accurate data. Why is this a big deal? Before Gallaudet launched VCSL in 2016, no assessment test existed to measure ASL language development. Before this year, the Deaf Mentors have never partnered with the educators.

Minnesota is the first state to partner Deaf Mentors with early childhood teachers. We flew Dr. Laurene Simms to train our teachers and Deaf Mentors on VCSL during the 2017 Collaborative Experience. The data will be jointly collected and reported by teachers and Deaf Mentors. When enough data has been collected (data is needed from at least 10 families to keep family identities private), it will be included in the biennial report. We are excited! We have a national audience who is watching our state because we are the first.

EHDI Advisory Committee
This advisory committee is mandated by Minnesota Statutes, section 144.966. Representatives from various stakeholder groups develop EHDI medical and educational guidelines. In the statute, it requires two Deaf representatives to be a part of the advisory committee. This committee measures and reports the results to the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) biennially. In this report, they include the percentage of parents who use Deaf Mentors, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Role Models, and Parent Guides along with the data collected about the 1-3-6 goals.

How are the deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing communities involved?
Did you know that deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing people are involved in this journey? They serve on various advisory boards and committees, including the EHDI Advisory Committee. They are Deaf Mentors, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Role Models, and Parent Guides. They are teachers, paraprofessionals, counselors, and more. They contact their legislators and help get important laws passed.

Giving our children a good start to life involves families, service providers, state agencies, legislators, and community advocates of various hearing identities. It is truly a collaborative effort, as demonstrated by the stakeholders of the Collaborative Plan. Learn more about the Collaborative Plan and see who is involved on MNCDHH’s website

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