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ERIC Number: EJ1018918
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1544-6751
Child First: A Belief, an Attitude, and a Path to Change
Mulholland, Jane
Odyssey: New Directions in Deaf Education, v14 p82-84 2013
Child First is a national campaign to ensure that deaf children have their right to language recognized and fulfilled regardless of which educational method is specified in the Individualized Education Program (IEP). Whether the child's family embraces American Sign Language (ASL), speech reading, a system of signs that encodes English, or a combination of approaches, Child First supports the child and his or her family. At Child First, the child's human right to language is primary, but the chosen method of learning and exploring that language is based on the child's needs, the decision of the parents and the IEP team. Developed initially to help federal lawmakers understand the unique educational needs of deaf and hard of hearing children and to inform the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Child First recognizes the following principles: (1) Language is a human right; (2) There are multiple pathways to learning language; (3) One size--or one system--does not fit all learners; (4) The IEP should determine educational placement for each child; (5) Monitoring each child's progress is critical to appropriate educational outcomes; and (6) Family involvement is critical to a child's success. This article chronicles Jane Mulholland's, journey from the time she first became aware of Child First through its ever growing stature. Her original goal was simply to see her own school, Washington School for the Deaf (WSD), become a Child First school, but once she began focusing on that, the goal expanded to include having Washington State Center for Childhood Deafness and Hearing Loss (CDHL) become a Child First agency. She writes that now she will not be satisfied until the entire state of Washington becomes a Child First State. Her vision for the future includes Washington providing deaf and hard of hearing children with IEPs based on the needs identified in their evaluations, rather than the services a particular program offers. As a Child First State, Mulholland envisions Washington's deaf and hard of hearing children's educational progress being continually monitored with appropriate interventions, supports, and changes in placement being provided so the children are not allowed to fail. She hopes to see deaf and hard of hearing children throughout the entire state having the same opportunities, entitlements, and basic human rights society takes for granted for hearing children.
Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center. Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Avenue NE, KS 3600, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-526-9105; Tel: 202-651-5340; Fax: 202-651-5708; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A