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Alice Cogswell Act: Contact Congress on June 27, 2013!

[Note: Video description and transcript can be found below]

nad_logoAs part of the Child First campaign, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is asking Congress to pass the Alice Cogswell Act. This bill will amend federal special education law (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA) to improve services for deaf and hard of hearing students.

On June 27, we need your help! Contact your Senators and Representatives in DC by going towww.nad.org/contactcongress and entering your zipcode. From there you will see their contact info — on June 27th, ask your Senators and Representatives to support the Alice Cogswell Act!  You can download the letter/email template here.

Be sure to use #SponsorAliceCogswellAct when sharing posts about your contacting Congress!

Below is a list of ideas of what you could post on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram:

  • Please sponsor the Alice Cogswell Act – deaf and hard of hearing children need this academic support to succeed! #SponsorAliceCogswellAct.
  • The Alice Cogswell Act gives states and accurate count of the deaf and hard of hearing students they are serving and helps them prepare to truly meet their needs. #SponsorAliceCogswellAct.
  • The Alice Cogswell Act is good for deaf and hard of hearing students and good for our whole society! #SponsorAliceCogswellAct.
  • Sponsor the Alice Cogswell Act and give deaf and hard of hearing an equal chance to become successful adults. #SponsorAliceCogswellAct.
  • Deaf and hard of hearing students need communication access and an expanded core curriculum to prepare them to be proud, successful adults! #SponsorAliceCogswellAct.
  • In early childhood, the most natural environment for a deaf or hard of hearing child is one with language access everywhere. #SponsorAliceCogswellAct.
  • The least restrictive environment for my deaf child is the environment where she can communicate with everyone – the deaf school is her LRE! #SponsorAliceCogswellAct.
  • I attended a deaf program with communication access everywhere. It was the least restrictive environment for me and helped me thrive! #SponsorAliceCogswellAct.
  • I grew up in a mainstream school with the support services I needed. Now, I’m a college graduate with a great career – help other deaf and hard of hearing students have the same! #SponsorAliceCogswellAct.
  • From birth to twenty-one, deaf and hard of hearing students need language access and communication support! #SponsorAliceCogswellAct.
  • It takes a village to raise any child. It takes a knowledgeable village to raise deaf and hard of hearing children. #SponsorAliceCogswellAct.
  • Personnel shortages leave deaf and hard of hearing students isolated. Help states develop better plans to meet these students’ needs. #SponsorAliceCogswellAct.
  • The success of deaf and hard of hearing students shouldn’t be left to chance. #SponsorAliceCogswellAct.

Video description and transcript: 

Video fades to soft blue and white background with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) logo centered. Black text below the logo appears, “National Association of the Deaf.”

Video fades to white then fade to NAD Headquarters, front lobby area.

CAROLINE: Hello everyone!

Video freezes, Caroline’s frame slowly grows bigger as her title ID appears, “Caroline Jackson, Staff Attorney, National Association of the Deaf.”

CAROLINE: I’m a staff attorney, focusing on education here at the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).  I want to explain an exciting opportunity for you to be involved in supporting deaf and hard of hearing students all over America.

Video transitions with a push-slide Right-Left.

CAROLINE: In case you’re not aware, the NAD is involved with the Child First campaign.  That campaign has been advocating a new bill called the Alice Cogswell Act.  Currently, a federal special education law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) sets rules to help students with disabilities access schools in America.  We noticed that some of the rules do not adequately meet the needs of deaf and hard of hearing students.  We want to amend the IDEA to better support deaf and hard of hearing students by improving their access to communication, training, and other services so they can succeed in school and beyond.  If you want to learn more about the Alice Cogswell Act, have a look at this website, which explains it in more detail.

White text appears in front of Caroline, “www.nad.org/alicecogswellact.”

Video transitions with a push-slide Right-Left.

CAROLINE: Keep in mind that the Alice Cogswell Act is not law yet.  We do not know when Congress will be voting on this bill.  We must be diligent in contacting members of Congress and to convince them of the need for the Alice Cogswell Act to become law.  We can do this with your help!  We need you to contact your Congressional representatives and explain your support for the Alice Cogswell Act and for deaf and hard of hearing students.  Through your efforts, we hope to persuade a Congress member to sponsor this bill so that all of Congress will consider this bill, vote on it, and make it the law of the land.

Video transitions with a push-slide Right-Left.

CAROLINE: Do you want to do something?  Get involved?  You can!  We picked a special day, June 27th for people all over America to flood Congress with calls and emails so they take note of this bill. You can reach your Congress members with the help of this website.

White text appears in front of Caroline, “www.nad.org/contactcongress.”

CAROLINE: You’ll just need to type in your zip code and the website will provide you a list of the two Senators and the Representative for your area.  The list will show a phone number, a fax number, and a contact form for sending an email.  Pick whichever contact option you prefer, then go ahead and do it!

Video transitions with a push-slide Right-Left.

CAROLINE: I have a few tips to share before you call.  First, if you call through a video relay service, ask the operator to not connect immediately. Take a moment to explain the purpose of your call.  When the operator understands everything, then go ahead and connect the call.  Second, keep your message brief and hit these key points: (1) you live in their district; (2) you support a special law titled the Alice Cogswell Act because it is very important for deaf and hard of hearing students; and (3) if you like, add your own  personal story—perhaps share your experience attending a deaf school or a mainstream school, or that you have deaf/hard of hearing children, and so on.  When you’re done, hang up.  It’s up to you if you want to call them again.  Third, keep in mind that when you call, you might not directly connect with your Senator.  Instead, you might connect with the front desk or a staff member.  Don’t worry, go ahead and tell them about your support for the bill.  They’ll take your message and share it with the Senator or Representative you called.   Your message will get through!

Video transitions with a push-slide Right-Left.

CAROLINE: Now that I’ve explained everything, I hope you’ll roll up your sleeves and get to contacting Congress!  Also, it is important to share this with your friends. Messages from many people are better than from only one person.  We need many of you to show your support to Congress.  So go ahead and call, email, tweet, post on Facebook or Instagram, and declare the importance of the Alice Cogswell Act.  We need your help to support deaf and hard of hearing students all over America and we can do this if we improve the IDEA with new rules to support their needs.  Thank you.

Video fades to the same soft blue and white background with the NAD logo centered. Black text below the logo appears, “A production of The National Association of the Deaf (copyright) 2013 All rights reserved.”

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