A bill concerning the education of hearing impaired children passed through committee in the Nevada State Senate on Wednesday evening. The bill was approved unanimously and passed through committee but not before several amendments were added. Senate Bill 203 has several parts to it that could impact on the lives of hearing impaired and deaf children in Nevada both now and the near future. The  last minute amendments would provide discount hearing aids to children and offer free hearing aids to those from low income families.

“The whole idea was to get those people who were at poverty level but weren't included in Medicaid. So those who are above the Medicaid level will apply and they get the hearing aides,” said Nevada State Senator Pat Spearman. The well-being of the hearing impaired and deaf is addressed multiple times in SB 20, including assessing and providing assistance in school for children under the age of 6. They want a normal  childhood like anyone else,” said Senator Spearman. It will make a difference in the way that will have the same amount of learning experiences.  So if they need some help they will have that help in the hand instead of having to wait after school,” said hearing impaired high school senior Sergio Bedoy. He knows what it's like to grow up hearing impaired.

“Around the age of 7, I started getting high fevers. The doctors would give me medications and that would cause hearing loss,” said Bedoy. He says having an interpreter in school has made a difference in his ability to succeed in class. One problem though, not everyone in Nevada schools can have an interpreter to help them.There is a shortage of interpreters,” said Senator Spearman.  

Senate Bill 203 would also fund a legislative study to see if an independent school for the deaf and hearing impaired would be feasible.So yes we will be studying and looking for ways to build a school for deaf children and hard of hearing,” said Senator Spearman. Now that it's through committee, SB 203 will head to the Senate floor for a general vote.