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Gov. Ducey asks for funding to support early reading at school for deaf, blind

Posted at 6:48 AM, Nov 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-14 12:26:36-05

Gov. Doug Ducey is asking for funding to serve an early reading initiative for deaf and blind children in Arizona. 

The governor wants to hire 21 more teachers to support early intervention for blind and deaf children under age 3 to make sure kids will be able to start school at a normal age.

Right now, only 17 teachers cover hundreds of families with blind and deaf children in the state. 

The education program includes teachers making home visits to help kids and families teaching motor skills to learn sign language and Braille.

Right now, children in urban areas receive two visits per month, while children in rural areas get one visit a month. Teachers say they would like to expand the visits to once a week.

Leaders at Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind say there are lifelong consequences of not having enough early intervention available for children.

In January, the state legislature will consider a bill to add funding for the 21 teachers. If the bill passes, the Arizona State School for the Deaf and the Blind says it is ready to hire the teachers.