VENTURA—Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K) is an organization that fights for deaf kids to be kindergarten ready. The group recently passed a bill for special education language development. The bill (SB 210) would require state programs to provide testing for deaf and hard of hearing for children 0-5 years old (SB 210). Public relations director, Julie Rems-Smario, was interviewed by Canyon News regarding the inner workings of their campaign.

LEAD-K was started in 2008 by four core groups who fight in four different ways with: legislation, public relations, research, and communication organization. They all come together to form a powerful team that presents bills, protests bills, and provides connection with the Deaf community. They are a ground roots movement and are on the front lines fighting for equality and access for deaf kids.

Last September, Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids held a conference in Sacramento with 50 people from 23 different states known as the LEAD-K Summit. They shared their developmental process and gave them access to their findings. LEAD-K is eager to grow and inform people of their progress and to spread awareness.

One of Rems-Smario’s goals in the next 5 years is to interview families with deaf member/s about their experiences, from hospital to home and then to the language decision. She has already started the process with several families, including the Kadu family.

“Nothing is wrong with being deaf…being deaf is not the reason they are behind, it is the language access…LEAD-K focuses on the whole child,” said Rems-Smario.

LEAD-K is based on the spirit of, “Nothing about us without us.” For more information about LEAD-K, SB 210, or kindergarten readiness for deaf kids, visit