UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
OFFICE OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES
21 IDELR 1126
November 30, 1993
Digest of Response
December 20, 1993
Text of Inquiry
I am the parent of a hearing impaired [ ]. Rather than using "total communication" (sign language), I am using an "auditory-verbal" approach to teach speech to [ ]. With hearing aids, [ ] can hear speech sounds. The combination of "auditory-verbal" and hearing aids are making it possible for [ ] to become a normal, participating, mainstreamed citizen of society.
My health insurance covers 80% of [ ]'s physician visits. "Auditory-verbal" therapy is not covered under New Jersey's early intervention services. Through a costly litigation for me before the New Jersey Health Benefits Commission, 80% of [ ] therapy is covered. My insurance provider usually makes it a difficult process to obtain coverage of necessary hearing examinations. [ ]'s hearing aids, auditory trainer, and supplies are not covered at all. Since February 1993, I have spent over $3,000 on necessary equipment and supplies for my [ ]! It's difficult for any average family to afford these costs. Since eyeglasses and eye exams for children will be covered under the new federal health care plan, hearing aids and hearing exams for children must also be included for coverage. The number of children needing hearing aids yearly is small. [ ] will not develop normal speech and language without hearing aids. [ ]'s academic learning will also be affected. I'm requesting your support on this legislation in Congress.
Text of Response
Thank you for your letter of November 30th to Secretary Richard Riley regarding audiology services and devices for [ ]. Your letter was forwarded to the Office of Special Education Programs because we are responsible for administering the Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities Program (Part H) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The purpose of this program is to provide financial assistance to States to develop and implement early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. Under this legislation, early intervention services that may be provided to children who are eligible and their families include audiology services and assistive technology (devices and services) (See § 303.12(d)(1) and (2) of the Part H regulations which I have enclosed for your reference) [Omitted].
Audiology services and assistive technology must be provided to a child only if these services are determined to be relevant to meeting the developmental needs of a child eligible under this part and the needs of the family related to enhancing the child's development (§ 303.12(a)(1)). Consideration of the eligibility and needs of your child and family for these services must be made on a case-by-case basis in connection with the development of the individualized family service plan (IFSP). Participants at the meeting held to develop the IFSP based on the results of the evaluation and assessment, must determine in light of particular child and family needs, what early intervention services are most appropriate.
On September 30, 1993, New Jersey began full implementation of the Part H early intervention program. States in full implementation of the Part H program are required to provide appropriate early intervention services to all children who are eligible and their families. This office contacted the State and was informed that New Jersey's Special Child Health Services purchased a hearing aid for your child in March of 1993 using funds other than Part H. This is consistent with the requirements of the Part H program that Part H be the payor of last resort (§ 303.126). We have been informed that your child was scheduled to receive his evaluation on December 14, 1993. Based on this evaluation, if your child is eligible, an IFSP will be developed (See § 303.340--§ 303.346). Part H requires that the State provide the specific early intervention services indicated in the IFSP as necessary for meeting the unique needs of the child and family. For further information regarding New Jersey's early intervention system, please contact Terry Harrison, the New Jersey Part H Coordinator, at (609) 292-3580.
This office shares your concern for these important health care issues. We look forward to new health care legislation which will facilitate more comprehensive health care coverage and payment for services. I hope that this information has been helpful. If we can be of further assistance in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us.
400 MARYLAND AVE., S.W., WASHINGTON, D.C. 20202
21 IDELR 1126
Requests for a copy of the original letter, or questions
regarding the letter, may be directed to OSEP.