INDIANAPOLIS – Senate Bill (SB) 475 passed on third reading today unanimously, officially clearing the Senate. SB 475, authored by State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Merrillville), would require the State Board of Education to amend its rule stating that developmental delay is a disability only identifiable for students between the ages of three and five years. It would change the statute, extending the upward age cap to nine years of age.

The proposal passed out of both the Education Committee and the Appropriations Committee unanimously. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2019, special education grants are expected to increase from $4.4 million to $7.7 million. This bill classifies developmental delays as a mild and moderate disability allocating $2,300 per student. 

This would be extremely beneficial to students who suffer from developmental delay, a learning disability that can result in setbacks in the early stages of the educational process if left undetected.

“Mild and moderate disabilities in children often times don’t become evident until after kindergarten,” Sen. Melton said. “The way the law currently stands allows children to slip through the cracks and miss out on special education grants and services.”

SB 475 is an important measure that would ensure students receive the assistance they need in schools. Sen. Melton is pleased that this bill has so far been well received and is optimistic about its future.

“All students deserve fair and comprehensive education, especially in the formative early years,” Sen. Melton said. “I am hopeful that SB 475 will continue to move through the House of Representatives in an effort to address this gap in legislation.”