In 1980, New York State enacted a law requiring schools to conduct hearing screening for all new students in pre-K and kindergarten, as well as in grades, 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10. The intent was to identify students with a disability that might interfere with their educational progress. Although NYC was exempt from this mandate, the city also had a policy to conduct screenings. However, in 2009, the New York City Department of Education made a decision to stop the screenings. As a result, children in NYC with hearing loss may be misdiagnosed as autistic, or as having learning disabilities. Not only does this lead to incorrect placement in schools, but it also may prevent them from receiving beneficial services that might help mitigate the poor outcomes associated with hearing loss in the areas of speech, language, social functioning, education and cognitive abilities.
The NYC HLAA chapter has been lobbying to reinstate school screening. It will make our case stronger if we can cite numbers of students who may have had problems because their hearing loss was not identified early enough. If you, your child, or someone you know fits this description, please email Jon Taylor firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jon Taylor, Vice President
New York City Chapter
Hearing Loss Association of America