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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Feb 16, 2017.
Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act
This bill amends the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to require a state to identify, evaluate, and provide special education and related services to children who have visual or hearing disabilities (or both) and also are, or may be, classified in another disability category. A state must ensure that it has enough qualified personnel to serve children who have such disabilities and that a full continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of disabled children for special education and related services.
The individualized education program for each child that is either (or both) visually or hearing impaired must include specified components and must provide the child with instruction that meets the child's unique learning needs. Similarly, the individualized family service plan for an infant or toddler with a hearing disability must include specified components.
A state's closure of a special school serving deaf or blind children shall count as a reduction of its financial support for special education and related services for purposes of the prohibition against reducing state financial support for such services from one fiscal year to the next.
The bill also: (1) authorizes grants for training special education personnel, to be used in preparing individuals to become qualified teachers and early intervention specialists for children with hearing disabilities; and (2) establishes within the Department of Education the Anne Sullivan Macy Center on Visual Disability and Educational Excellence to better support students with visual disabilities.