There is one summary for this bill. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in House (02/11/2014)

Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act - Amends the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to require states that classify children by disability to: (1) identify, locate, and evaluate children who have visual disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing, who are, or may be, classified in another disability category; and (2) provide special education and related services to such children, including the services provided to children classified as blind or deaf or hard of hearing.

Requires states to file a written addendum to their special education plan that ensures that children in the state who have visual disabilities or who are deaf or hard of hearing are: (1) evaluated by qualified professionals, using valid and reliable assessments, regarding the special education and related services that meet their unique learning needs; and (2) provided the special education and related services that meet those needs. Specifies the minimum content of those evaluations.

Requires states to ensure that they have enough qualified personnel to serve children who are visually disabled or who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Allows parents and local educational agencies to include a representative of a state-operated, state-supported, or state-aided school for the deaf on a child's individualized education program (IEP) team.

Requires the IEP team for each child that is blind or visually impaired or deaf or hard of hearing to provide the child with instruction that meets the child's unique learning needs and includes assistive technology proficiency, self sufficiency and interaction, and age appropriate career education.

Requires states to ensure that a full continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of disabled children for special education and related services.

Treats states' closure of special schools serving children who are blind or deaf as a reduction of their financial support for special education and related services for purposes of the prohibition against reducing their level of financial support for such services from one fiscal year to the next.

Directs the Secretary of Education, within one year of this Act's enactment and periodically thereafter, to review, update, and publish policy guidance concerning the provision of special education and related services to students who are visually disabled or who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Includes teachers of infants and toddlers with sensory disabilities as qualified providers of early intervention services.

Provides that the natural environments in which early intervention services are to be provided for infants and toddlers with sensory disabilities include any environment where services meeting their unique needs are available, including those where the child's language is the primary language and mode of communication.

Requires the individualized family service plan for an infant or toddler who is deaf or hard of hearing to include: (1) an ongoing language and communication assessment, (2) language and communication development goals commensurate with the child's cognitive abilities, and (3) the language and communication access that will be provided to the child.

Authorizes grants for training special education personnel to be used in preparing individuals to be qualified teachers and early intervention specialists for deaf and hard of hearing children.

Establishes within the Department of Education a national program named the Anne Sullivan Macy Center on Visual Disability and Educational Excellence, which is to be administered by a consortium composed of nonprofit organizations and at least one institution of higher education (IHE) with specified experience in the education of the visually impaired. Authorizes the Center to:

  • conduct or fund original quantitative and qualitative research and disseminate that research;
  • conduct or fund in-person and on-line continuing education opportunities for teachers of the visually impaired and related services personnel and to prepare and disseminate supporting materials;
  • conduct or fund in-person or online enrichment projects for students with visual disabilities;
  • fund the establishment of programs within IHEs to prepare teachers of the visually impaired to provide expert instruction to visually impaired students who also have additional disabilities; and
  • enter into agreements or grants with nonprofit organizations to carry out authorized activities that are not otherwise directly conducted by the Center.