South Dakota’s deaf and hard of hearing children will get a shot at pushing for better access to education across the state thanks to a new advisory council for the South Dakota School for the Deaf. 

But the new council also brings up concerns from the deaf and hard of hearing community because few deaf or hard of hearing individuals are expected to make up the group.

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The South Dakota Board of Regents, which oversees the school, approved the council’s bylaws during its monthly meeting Thursday. Teresa Nold, who is deaf herself and has a deaf son who was rejected from the school several times in the past, wants to see deaf or hard of hearing adults make up at least half of the council.

“It’s pretty difficult to speak on behalf of someone who is deaf, when you are not deaf yourself,” said Teresa Nold, who also serves as vice president of the South Dakota Association of the Deaf. “This happens time and time again. Those living with it are the experts, let’s give some respect to this community.”