Deaf Persons’ Literacy Rights and Education (H.4553) Act

On January 11, 2022 members of the SC General Assembly returned to Columbia to start the 2022 Legislative Session. This year’s session is similar to previous years and includes a variety of issues, ranging from improving the state’s infrastructure, education, and ever changing needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic,  to be addressed by SC Senators and Representatives before the sessions’ conclusion in May.  

Beginnings SC is excited about one major, new development in this year' session: the Deaf Persons’ Literacy Rights and Education Act (H.4553) has been introduced in the SC House of Representatives. Beginnings SC supports this legislation because the statistics for deaf and hard of hearing children are staggering. Children who are deaf and hard of hearing are not truly disabled until they don’t have access. Children learn language by being around lots of accessible language. The first step to preventing a disability is to have access to language in the method that best fits each child.

H.4553 would improve communication access for deaf and hard of hearing children in SC by ensuring each child’s unique communication needs are met and appropriately included in their Individualized Education Program (IEP).

We are asking for you to join us in advocating for passage of H.4553 to level the playing field for South Carolina students who are deaf and hard of hearing.


Watch: Explanation of H.4553 in American Sign Language

Beginnings SC Executive Director Cara Smithwick and Deaf Advocacy Specialist Matt Gatlin explain what H.4553 is.


Call your Senator or Representative to support the Deaf Persons’ Literacy Rights and Education (H.4553) Act.

How to Make the Call in Three Simple Steps:

  1. Be sure you know who your state Representative is by following this link.
  2. Identify yourself and let them know that you are a constituent.
  3. Ask your member of the SC General Assembly, or their staff, to support the Deaf Persons’ Literacy Rights and Education (H.4553) Act, and ask for their position on this legislation. If you know that your member is already a sponsor, please thank them for their support!

If you’re leaving a message on an answering machine, provide your phone number or email address so that the office can get back to you.


Sample Script for Calling Representative's Office
“Hello. My name is ________ and I’m a resident of _________ (city) in __________ (county). As a constituent of  Representative _________ (name of Representative), I’m calling to ask them to co-sponsor the Deaf Persons’ Literacy Rights and Education Act - H.4553. I support this bill because it will improve communication access for deaf and hard of hearing children in SC by ensuring each child’s unique communication needs are met. I am hoping I can count on Representative _________’s support. Do they have a position on this bill?”


Sample Script for Calling Senator's Office
"Hello. My name is ________ and I’m a resident of _________ (city)  in __________ (county). As a constituent, I’m calling to ask Senator _________ (name of Senator) to  to co-sponsor/vote for the Deaf Persons’ Literacy Rights and Education Act - S _____. . support this bill because it will improve communication access for deaf and hard of hearing children in SC by ensuring each child’s unique communication needs are met. I am hoping I can count on Senator _________’s support. Do they have a  position on this bill?”


Contact Your Rep. via Email
You may also contact your Representative by email via webform. You can use the script above and include your personal story and connection to the issue. Simply click on your Representative's name and fill out the form (example below) at this link.

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