What is Child First?
While the deaf and hard of hearing communities and the special education world in general have debated the meaning and reach of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for more than 30 years, it is beyond contention that when provided appropriate language, learning and academic opportunities deaf and hard of hearing children can and do attain high levels of achievement. The population of deaf and hard of hearing children is diverse, and their needs for access to language and communication are diverse as well. These include access to American Sign Language and English and communication through sign language, spoken language, sign and voice, visual technology, auditory technology, and other supports and services. When access is not provided, children fall behind in linguistic and cognitive growth and ultimately educational achievement. Support for each child's language and communication development is the key to the child's success.