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State Sen. Eddie Melton

State Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Merrillville

INDIANAPOLIS — The first legislative proposal sponsored by state Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Merrillville, is now Indiana law.

Gov. Eric Holcomb last week signed his approval for Senate Enrolled Act 475 requiring the State Board of Education expand its definition of "developmental delay" to cover students ages 3-9.

Currently, only Indiana children ages 3-5 can be classified as developmentally delayed after failing to reach age-based milestones for language, social, thinking or motor skills.

The new age range for a developmental delay designation takes effect July 1, 2018.

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"By extending the age cap for developmental delay classification for students older than five years, we are providing a stronger and more sustainable education for our children," Melton said.

"Many children under the age of nine were missing out on a lot of beneficial resources because this classification was capped at such a young age."

The new law also provides schools $2,300 a year in additional special education grant funding to cover services for each student in the expanded age range who is designated as developmentally delayed.

It passed the Senate and the House with unanimous support in both chambers

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