National Association of the Deaf - NAD.org

Remote Employment During COVID-19

News from NAD.org - May 29, 2020 - 7:19am
[TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE AT THE END OF THIS PAGE]

During the COVID-19 crisis, you may have switched from working in an office to working from home, which means you probably are meeting with your coworkers through a video conference system. The law requires your boss to accommodate you, even if you work from home. Your boss must pay and provide any accommodations that you need to join the meetings. If your boss does not give you what you need to access your remote meetings, please contact: workplace@dhhcan.org.

To address this concern, a coalition of deaf and hard of hearing consumer advocacy organizations and workplace access experts, worked together to provide special guidelines for deaf and hard of hearing employees and employers to use during the coronavirus pandemic.

Remote Employment Tips for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Employees Remote Employment Guidelines for Employers Video Conferencing Platforms Feature Matrix

Both guidelines and the matrix were developed by:

(*consumer advocacy groups that advocate for the rights of deaf and hard of hearing people)

TRANSCRIPT: During the COVID-19 crisis, you may have switched from working in an office to working from home. As you work from home, you probably are meeting with your coworkers through a video conference system. By law, your boss must still accommodate you even if you work from home. Your boss must pay for any accommodations that you need to join the meetings. Your boss must provide an interpreter and/or captioning for the remote meetings if you need them. Your boss must make sure that you can understand and participate in virtual meetings. If you need to join a webinar for work, you should ask the webinar host about captioning and/or interpreters. You can share Gallaudet University’s guide on running accessible webinars with the webinar host — you can find their guide at deafhhtech.org. The guide will help webinar hosts understand how to better accommodate you. Before the webinar, you should test the webinar platform to figure out if you can see the interpreters and/or captioning. Even prior to having a job, employers must also accommodate you during the hiring process, video interviews must be accessible and designed to give you a fair chance of getting the job. If you are not given what you need to access remote meetings, please email workplace@dhhcan.org.

As a remote employee who works from home, meetings look different. If you are not able to understand your remote work meetings, talk to your boss or the meeting host about what you need. They should know what you need to be able to share your thoughts and to understandIf you are deaf and have a mobility disability, perhaps you need a CDI and an ASL interpreter. If you are DeafBlind, perhaps you need large size captioning, a screenreader, or a Communication Facilitator (CF) to provide tactile interpreting. Keep in mind, your boss should make sure the CF has personal protective equipment (PPE) to use while at your home.

There are many video platforms for remote work meetings. You should pick the platform that best fits your needs. Some platforms provide better access than others for deaf and hard of hearing people. You should compare which platforms will work better for you. We developed a grid that shows which accessibility features each platform has or does not have. The grid is available online and you can share this grid with your boss or the meeting host. We also developed recommendations for employers on how to host a video meeting if they have deaf and hard of hearing employees. There are different accessibility features — it is important to make sure that the type of access your boss provides best fits your needs. Before the meeting, tell your boss or the meeting host which accessibility features you need that best fits you. Next, I will expand more on ASL access, video relay services, captioning, and resources available. If you need ASL access, the ASL interpreters should be on the video platform with everyone.  Tell your boss to hire your preferred ASL interpreters or to contract with your preferred interpreting agency. Your boss should share the video meeting link with the ASL interpreters. Ask your boss to hire ASL interpreters who are familiar with what you will discuss in your meeting, you can also suggest your preferred interpreters or an interpreting agency. If your preferred interpreters are not available, your boss should ask for a list of available interpreters. Your boss is responsible to pay for the interpreters. Before the meeting starts, discuss with the interpreters any important information they should know, such as specific signs for terms used and name signs of the people involved in the meeting. This information will help interpreters provide a smooth interpreting experience. Next, Video Relay Services (VRS) should not be used for any video meetings. Using VRS would mean the interpreter will not be in the video platform with everyone — instead, they will be on a separate screen. This means VRS interpreters will not see what is happening. VRS interpreters may not be able to stay on for the entire meeting and may switch with another VRS interpreter, which means interpreters are not prepared for your meeting. interrupt your ability to participate in the meeting. VRS interpreters are randomly assigned and may not be qualified for the meeting. Using VRS may not provide a smooth meeting experience for you. Next, if you need captioning, you would use Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) captioning services. Similar to our recommendations for hiring interpreters,  you can suggest your preferred captioners or captioning company with your boss. If your preferred captioners are not available, your boss should ask for a list of available captioners. Your boss should hire a professional CART company or captioner to join the meeting. Before the meeting, you should share with your captioner what topics will be discussed, names to expect, for the captioner to be better prepared for your meeting. With information, your captioner is able to provide you a smooth meeting experience with captions. If you work for the Federal Government, you may be able to get captioning for video meetings through Relay Conference Captioning (RCC) — however, only some federal agencies provide this service. Check with your boss to see if your agency provides RCC.  If you work for a private company, need captioning for your video meeting, and live in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Maine, Montana, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming — you can use RCC. You can find more information on RCC in the recommendations for employers. Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Services (IP-CTS) should not be used for video meetings. Using IP-CTS means the captioner will not be in the video platform with everyone, they will be on a separate screen. This means IP-CTS captioners will not see what is happening. Next, we have a list of some CART, VRS, and IP-CTS providers in Appendix A which you can find online. We do not endorse these providers. We are sharing the list as a resource to help you find what you need. You can share the list of resources with your boss. To have access during remote video meetings, you need the right equipment at home. You need high-speed Internet access. You must be able to see the interpreters and/or captioning clearly during the video meeting. You can use WiFi but it is better if your computer connects by Ethernet cable directly into your router. You should test the equipment before a video meeting to make sure everything works well. If your computer supports two monitors, you may need a second monitor for your video meetings — ask your boss to provide a second monitor. If your boss cannot give you a second monitor, use your TV as the second screen. Y The first monitor shows everything except the interpreters and/or captions which you can see clearly on the second monitor. You may need a long HDMI cable to connect the TV to your computer. Again, ask your boss to give you the items you need. 

Video meetings can be difficult. Ask the meeting host to set rules for everyone to follow — an example of such rules can be found in the recommendations for employers. You can share these recommended rules with the meeting host and ask them to share the rules with everyone before the meeting. The meeting host should remind everyone about the rules at the start of the meeting. Before the meeting, make sure videos are captioned.  You may need to figure out other alternatives like having an interpreter provide access for the video. If you need a transcript, ask for it before the meeting, so that it can be prepared quickly after the meeting ends. It is important you have everything you need before the meeting. The transcript should include all audio background information and audio descriptions. You should let your boss or the meeting host know during and after the meeting if you have any access issues. Ask for improvements you need to be able to participate in the next meeting.

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President Updates — April/May 2020

News from NAD.org - May 28, 2020 - 12:14pm

In this video, President Melissa gives a summary of the virtual Board meeting in April, Council of Representatives (COR) update, and the NAD’s position statements and advocacy letters addressing gaps during COVID-19 [view Howard’s AHA video from April 2020 explaining further]. 

[VIDEO DESCRIPTION AND TRANSCRIPT —

MELISSA: Hi, I’m Melissa and I have three things to discuss with you today. First, we planned to host our quarterly Board meeting in Montana last April but unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic happened, we needed to prioritize everyone’s health and cancelled our visit. However, we still held our Board meeting virtually. We hope to visit Montana someday!

Video cuts to screen-recording of Board members waving hello during a Zoom meeting, Board members all appear in gallery view layout.

MELISSA: Our virtual meeting happened on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Each day, we scheduled our meeting in four hour blocks. We had a two hour block first then had a break for one hour before resuming the other two hour block the same day. Having a one hour break is crucial to avoid video conferencing fatigue. Second, we continue to plan for the Council of Representatives (COR) meeting. Last month, we announced that we are not going to Chicago and stopped planning for the conference. However, we continue to plan for the COR meeting as the Bylaws require us to host this COR meeting during even-numbered years. We’re required to host the forums, official meeting, bylaws amendments discussion, and the elections. The Board has been busy to consider all the important factors to make it possible for the NAD to host these four events during the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring everyone is safe and healthy. We have decided to host the COR meeting virtually. However, this requires careful planning and attention to even the smallest details. We want to consider that it is inclusive to everyone including groups like DeafBlind people and deaf seniors to ensure they can fully participate in the virtual COR sessions. We need to include input from people from those communities who have experienced virtual meetings. COR meetings have such a complex structure, including the forums, involving members being able to share input. Delegates must be able to share comments during the meeting. The NAD also needs to host a virtual election. We will share our planning updates and details soon. Third, we recognize the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many of us — to address critical gaps, the NAD has developed three position papers and advocacy letters so far, we will release more soon. We’ve released guidelines for communication access at hospitals, telehealth, and PreK-12 Remote Education. You can view our guidelines at NAD.org/coronavirus. Howard also explained in detail regarding the NAD’s efforts on these position statements in his “Ask Howard Anything” video last April. Thank you.]

COVID-19 Related Policies

News from NAD.org - April 30, 2020 - 7:33am
Transcript available at the end of this page.

The world is different now with the COVID-19 pandemic which means our existing best practices policies may need to be modified. To address this concern, the NAD has developed several advocacy letters and position statements for COVID-19 related situations. Areas include: access to information, medical, employment, education, and understanding the COVID-19 pandemic in ASL. Our list of areas is not comprehensive as more issues and situations will come up; when they do, the NAD will develop respective policy statements and advocacy letters. Explore NAD.org/coronavirus and find completed and upcoming position statements and advocacy letters. While these are challenging times, our civil rights cannot stop. #AskHoward

VIDEO DESCRIPTION & TRANSCRIPT: NAD CEO Howard A. Rosenblum sits at his desk. The NAD logo appears on the bottom right as a watermark.

HOWARD: The world is different now with the coronavirus pandemic. The NAD has a Policy Institute that has worked hard on developing many policies, that continues the work done by other people who have served on policy committees and gave us their input, expertise, and knowledge. The policy committees and the NAD Policy Institute have focused on developing various best practice policies for entities to follow to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing people pursuant to their rights. With the coronavirus pandemic however, the existing best practices policies do not apply right now because the world is so different. Even though the NAD headquarters is closed does not mean we are waiting and not working! Since the pandemic started, we have been working remotely and we are receiving a lot more calls and emails. The NAD staff has been putting in more hours to keep up with the increase of different issues that have been brought to our attention. I want to share with you that we’ve developed new policy documents for coronavirus related situations. For example, we’ve recently completed policy guidelines, in collaboration with other organizations, for hospitals on how they should provide communication access for deaf and hard of hearing patients during the coronavirus pandemic. Normally, hospitals are to provide qualified ASL interpreters, VRI, CART, and other accommodations when requested. However, hospital procedures have changed because of coronavirus. Now because of the pandemic, hospitals are not allowing outside people in such as visitors or families, and they are not allowing interpreters either. This makes it difficult for us to have communication access at the hospital. There have been some hospitals who allow interpreters in but do not provide them with any personal protective equipment (PPE). That makes the interpreters uncomfortable to take the assignment, and we can’t blame them for wanting to be safe. To address this, a number of organizations and experts worked together to develop two things. One is a position statement for hospitals to know what the best practices are to communicate with deaf and hard of hearing patients during the coronavirus pandemic. The other document is an advocacy letter for deaf and hard of hearing people to use and be better prepared if they need to go to the hospital either for coronavirus or other reasons, during the pandemic. The document includes a placard you can show to medical personnel. You can view both policy documents on NAD.org. This is for communication access in healthcare situations such as hospitals during coronavirus. We’re also working on telehealth. Many doctors are providing care to patients through teleconference, instead of in-person appointments. However, are they providing interpreters? How are they providing communication access?  Doctors may not know how to provide access during telehealth appointments so that’s what our policy documents on telehealth explains. Again, this is a collaborative effort with other organizations and experts. We are creating two documents, one is a position statement and the other one will be an advocacy letter — they are being shared soon. Another area we’re working on is for deaf and hard of hearing children who are currently in Pre-K-12 educational setting. Deaf schools and programs for the deaf are mindful of what it takes to provide remote education in a visual way to connect with their students. However, this may not be the case for deaf and hard of hearing students who are mainstreamed. Before the pandemic, they may have had ASL interpreters as the only deaf student in the classroom or maybe with few other deaf students. Now that schools have gone remote, what do their accommodations look like? Are schools providing ASL Interpreters or captions in their video conference meetings? That’s what we’re working on now, one document will be for schools to know what best practices are and the other document will be for deaf and hard of hearing students and their families on how they can advocate for themselves to get full access to remote education. The fourth area we’re working on is for colleges and universities. Universities like Gallaudet University, NTID, CSUN, and others with strong deaf student services are already familiar on how to provide accommodations for remote learning but what about other universities that have one or few deaf students? What we’re doing for Pre-K-12, we’re doing the same — a policy statement for universities on best practices and an advocacy paper for deaf and hard of hearing students to advocate for access. This is also a collaborative effort, we’re working with other organizations and experts for that area as well. The fifth area we’re working on is for the workplace. Some deaf people have lost jobs and we’re figuring out how to support them. As for other deaf people who work in a hearing environment, before the pandemic they would typically receive accommodations for their in-person meetings with the use of interpreters or VRS calls or other options. With the pandemic, most of them are working remotely and they are meeting through the use of different video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex, Adobe Connect, Google Hangout, and the like. Are these video conferencing platforms accessible? Do the platforms have an ability to add ASL interpreters and/or captioning? Will the employer hire ASL interpreters for the video conference? This is another collaborative effort with other organizations and experts to put together a policy statement for companies as well as an advocacy letter for deaf and hard of hearing employees. And, the sixth area we’re working on is for the courthouse. Usually, people can request accommodations such as interpreters or captioning ahead of time before they go into the court for cases. With the pandemic, courtrooms have also gone remote. But do courtrooms know how to provide accommodations remotely? We are also working with other organizations and experts such as courthouse staff and law firms to figure out best practices during the coronavirus pandemic. We are also supporting efforts of DeafBlind people to develop a different policy of best practices for hospital access because their needs are different from other deaf and hard of hearing people. We agree their needs are important and are supporting their policy development. That effort adds to our list of current projects we’re working on. Our list is not comprehensive, we know more issues and situations will come up and we will develop respective policy statements and advocacy letters. Those documents will be available on NAD.org/coronavirus. I know these are challenging times, even more so for deaf and hard of hearing people. Our civil rights cannot stop. This includes our right to ASL interpreters during any government briefings about the coronavirus pandemic. We must continue our efforts which have succeeded in convincing all 50 state Governors to provide interpreters! However, that isn’t the case for the White House and we will continue to push for access with the White House press briefings. It is important that we all stay safe and healthy. Thank you.

Video cuts to a dark blue background. Red alphabet letters of “N-A-D” in American Sign Language appears one by one in the center of the video. The copyright text appears in white underneath, “National Association of the Deaf, Copyright 2020, All Rights Reserved.”

COVID-19: Families Seeking Accessible PreK-12 Remote Education

News from NAD.org - April 27, 2020 - 10:25am
Transcript available at the end of this page.

Schools across the country have closed their classrooms because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Schools have switched to teaching students remotely. It is important that deaf and hard of hearing students have full access to their classes and education, even if it is remotely provided. It is also important for deaf and hard of hearing parents or families to have equal access to information from schools. This paper is to help families advocate for what they need during these times when their deaf or hard of hearing child receives remote PreK-12 education. The position statement was developed by the NAD Policy Institute and was reviewed by: Tom Humphries, Ph.D.; National Deaf Education Conference (NDEC) which is a section of the NAD; and Hands & Voices, a national parents organization.

Advocacy Paper for Families Seeking Accessible PreK-12 Education Position Statement: Educating PreK-12 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students During the COVID-19 Outbreak

If your child’s school did not provide access for remote education, please fill out our online form   (select “Education Advocacy”).

[VIDEO DESC & TRANSCRIPT: Tawny is standing in front of a solid background. The NAD logo is at the bottom right corner.

TAWNY: Schools across the country have closed their classrooms because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Schools have switched to teaching students remotely. This means if a deaf or a hard of hearing student starts to fall behind, the student may just accept the situation and consider it a different experience — this is not okay. It is important that deaf and hard of hearing students have full access to their classes and education, even if it is remotely provided. It is also important for deaf and hard of hearing parents or families to have equal access to information from schools. This should not happen, they must have full access too. We hope our guidelines will help families advocate for what they need during these times when their deaf or hard of hearing child receives remote PreK-12 education. This video will cover various topics such as: technology, what remote education looks like, social development, support services, information from schools, and what you can do. 

Technology is important for remote learning. To access remote education, Deaf and hard of hearing students should have a computer or tablet, the right software, and high speed Internet. If families are not able to afford any of these, the school should provide such technology or connect families to programs that are able to provide them. 

What does remote education look like? There are two kinds of remote education: Synchronous and Asynchronous. Synchronous education is when the teacher is teaching the class live, allowing live interaction during video conferencing. Asynchronous education is when the teacher provides instructions and materials for the students to do their work on their own at home, with no live video conferencing. Synchronous is live while asynchronous isn’t. 

During synchronous remote education, the teacher and the students are on the same video conferencing platform online, and they should be able to communicate with each other. They should have the same access as they did in the classrooms whether it was with an interpreter on screen, using CART, or access to assistive listening devices. If a student uses an interpreter in the classroom, then the school needs to make sure that same interpreter is also interpreting in the video conferencing room. If the same interpreter is not available then the school must provide an appropriate state-approved and qualified interpreter who the student can understand and who should understand what the student says. Also, the screen size for the interpreter should be big enough for the student to access easily and understand what is being said. If a student uses a captioning service in the classroom, then the school needs to make sure that same captioning service is clearly accessible in the video conferencing platform. If that captioning service is not available then the school must provide a qualified captioning service. The school should not use computer generated captioning, also known as “automated speech recognition” (ASR) as it is not accurate enough to be used in a PreK-12 education setting. If a student uses an assistive listening device (ALD) in the classroom, then the school needs to make sure the student is able to access through their ALD what is being said in the video conferencing platform. The school should check to see what equipment the student can use at home to provide the same access during the video conferencing platform. If something isn’t working, the school needs to provide additional equipment to resolve any issues.

With asynchronous remote education, the school needs to make sure anything teachers send to their students, as well as families, are also accessible. If the teacher makes a video for students to watch, then it should be captioned and/or an interpreter should be provided to make sure the deaf or hard of hearing student has access to the video. It is important that deaf and hard of hearing students get the accessible information and material at the same time as other students. There should not be any delays for deaf and hard of hearing students to get access for these materials. If a family sees their child struggling, needing more accommodations, needing more support, or an extra interpreter or more captioning — this request can be done directly to the school asking for extra accommodations due to this unique situation. 

Education is important, and so is social development. Like all other students, deaf and hard of hearing students need to interact with their peers for social development. Remote learning makes it harder for mainstreamed deaf and hard of hearing students to interact with their hearing or deaf peers. Schools need to provide opportunities for students to interact with each other while meeting online, whether the deaf or hard of hearing student needs to interact with hearing peers or for deaf and hard of hearing students to meet with each other during remote education. We encourage families to look for support from local parent organizations, state advocacy organizations or national programs, as some provide online events.  Families can also ask their child’s school to consult with their state’s school(s) for the deaf to help with encouraging social development interaction between students online. 

Schools must make sure that deaf and hard of hearing students have access to support services such as: itinerant teachers of the deaf, speech pathologists, ASL specialists, educational audiologists, and other related service providers. Whatever services the deaf or hard of hearing student used before should still continue remotely. The school can make sure that the deaf or hard of hearing student meets with those support service providers through the video conferencing platform. The school needs to make sure those support service providers have access to the same technology to be able to support the deaf and hard of hearing students appropriately. 

Schools should make sure that any information shared with deaf and hard of hearing families are accessible which means that when schools share any videos with the families, the videos should be accurately captioned or interpreted. 

Families who think their deaf or hard of hearing child is having difficulty with remote education with either Synchronous and Asynchronous learning or are not getting equal and accessible information from their school — this can be frustrating. You can take the following steps to resolve the issue(s). If a step does not work, try the next step. Extra steps might not be needed or your situation might be resolved with fewer steps. The first suggestion would be to communicate with your child’s teacher. If your child needs more services for remote education than was used in the classroom, you can still ask for any additional service(s) necessary for your child to understand and participate along with their classmates. If that step works, then great! However, if the situation is not resolved, take the next step. Talk with whoever is responsible at your child’s school for hiring interpreters, or for coordinating captioning and other  support services. Share your concern that you or your child are not receiving accommodations. If that works, then great! If the situation is not resolved, take the next step. Talk with the principal or superintendent of the school, and explain that you or your child is not able to learn or understand what’s happening. Ask them to work with you to make sure you and your child get the accommodations and services needed. If no one at the school will help you with the remote learning for your deaf or hard of hearing child, you can request an immediate IEP amendment meeting. You do not have to wait for your next IEP meeting. At the meeting, you can discuss your concerns and adjustments needed to make sure your child receives the appropriate accommodations during remote education. Or if you have a Section 504 plan, you can also ask for a 504 meeting earlier to discuss accommodations and increased support for your child. Use the free Parent Advocacy App to help prepare for the meeting. If you feel that the steps taken were not successful, you can request ADA accommodations directly from the school. If you believe more accommodations such as an interpreter or captioning are needed, more than what is provided by the school (regardless of having an IEP,  504 plan, or none), you can still request those accommodations at any time from your child’s school for yourself or your child. If all else fails, you can file a complaint either by yourself through the U.S. Department of Education or U.S. Department of Justice or hire a lawyer to file a complaint in court. This will ensure that the school realizes they must make accommodations for your deaf or hard of hearing child or for yourself. We hope this information will help you. We have a list of resources on our website to be used for more social development opportunities, how to get legal access, or educational resources to be used for your child or for yourself and your family.

Video cuts to a dark blue background. Red alphabet letters of “N-A-D” in American Sign Language appear one by one in the center of the video. The copyright text appears in white underneath, “National Association of the Deaf, Copyright 2020, All Rights Reserved”.]

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In Memoriam: Elizabeth “Libby” Pollard

News from NAD.org - April 27, 2020 - 7:33am

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is saddened by the passing of Elizabeth “Libby” Pollard at the age of 80 on April 26, 2020. Libby was a strong, intelligent, and compassionate leader who served the NAD as Region I Board Member and subsequently as President. Her service to the NAD did not stop after completion of her board tenure; she also counseled our organization as a Parliamentarian.

Born Elizabeth Sparks on March 21, 1940, she became known to everyone as Libby during her three years at the West Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (WVSDB). She transferred to the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (WPSD), and graduated in 1956. Next, she enrolled at Gallaudet College and went on to study data entry at the Electronics Computer Programming Institute in Cleveland, Ohio for two years. In 1972, Libby became a keypunch/data entry operator at the Iron City Sash and Door Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While working there, she took training courses in advanced computer programming. Her commitment and desire to advance her skills led to two promotions, first as Junior Computer Programmer and then as Senior Programmer/Systems Analyst. Libby retired in April 2002 after 30 years with the company.

Throughout her life, Libby contributed significantly to many organizations as a volunteer, board member, and parliamentarian. She served on the boards of WPSD, the WPSD Alumni Association, and the Gallaudet University Alumni Association (GUAA). She rose to become the first female president in several organizations including the local division of the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf, Pittsburgh Association of the Deaf, and the Pennsylvania Society for the Advancement of the Deaf (PSAD).

At the 1994 Biennial NAD Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee, Libby was elected as Region 1 Board Member for a four-year term on the NAD Board of Directors. At the 1998 NAD Biennial Conference in San Antonio, Texas, she was elected as President of NAD, becoming the third woman to serve in this capacity. She was re-elected President at the 2000 Biennial NAD Conference in Norfolk, Virginia. After her NAD service, she studied to become a certified parliamentarian. In her role as one of a very small handful of deaf certified parliamentarians across the nation, Libby served numerous organizations including the NAD. She also provided parliamentary and leadership training as well as consultation services, and served as a mentor for those aspiring to parliamentary careers.

Libby is survived by four sons: Verne Taylor of Cleveland, OH; David Taylor of Kansas City, MO; Richard Taylor of North Branch, MN; and Tim Taylor of Dover, DE; as well as 15 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Libby was predeceased by her husband Henry Pollard and her parents Edgar and Maude Sparks. Libby is also survived by her sister Dianne Sparks Gallagher (predeceased by husband Patrick Gallagher) and their two children.

The NAD deeply appreciates Libby Pollard’s extraordinary service as Region I Board Member (1994-98) and President (1998-2002) for our Board of Directors.

NAD President Melissa Draganac-Hawk (2016-present) expressed her respect: “Libby Pollard represented the finest in our deaf community. I first met her at the 2000 NAD Conference in Norfolk, Virginia. I was impressed by her ability to conduct meetings in a strong and firm manner when she was actually a very sweet woman who took her time to talk with everyone. Libby broke many barriers as she led all of us, and then trained many deaf individuals to become leaders. She leaves behind a distinguished legacy that will last for generations.”

Ben Soukup, who served as NAD President (1993-1998) during Libby’s term as Region I Board Member, fondly remembers: “Libby Pollard was an outstanding leader, having much passion and love for the NAD and our community. Her many contributions include her leadership at the state level and then as President of the NAD. She is well known for advancing parliamentary procedure within the NAD and its member organizations, which still carries on today. She will be missed greatly.” 

Mark Apodaca, who served as NAD Treasurer (1996-2002) under Libby’s term as President and also pursued the same path as a parliamentarian as she did: “The Deaf Community lost an incredibly wise and humble but great leader. Libby Pollard was a great President of NAD and an exceptionally fine Certified Parliamentarian. She was also a strong person of influence. She will be deeply missed.”

Telehealth During Coronavirus

News from NAD.org - April 17, 2020 - 1:56pm
(TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE AT THE END OF THIS PAGE)

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it may not be safe to go to your doctor’s office — even for a routine visit. Your doctor may ask you to stay home and discuss your health through video conferencing — this is called “telehealth.” Even though your appointment is done virtually, your doctor must still provide you with an interpreter or captioning so you can understand your doctor during your appointment. The best way for you to use telehealth is for you to see your doctor, the interpreter, and/or captions on the same screen. However, doctors have varying telehealth systems — do you know what you can request and what your doctors are still required to provide during the pandemic? 

To address this concern, a coalition of deaf and hard of hearing consumer advocacy organizations, deaf healthcare providers, and other experts worked together to provide special guidelines for deaf and hard of hearing people and healthcare providers to use during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Telehealth Guidelines for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People Telehealth Guidelines for Healthcare Providers

Both guidelines were developed by:

(*consumer advocacy groups that advocate for the rights of deaf and hard of hearing people)

If your doctor did not provide access during your telehealth appointment, please contact telehealth@dhhcan.org.

TRANSCRIPT: Now, with the coronavirus (COVID-19), it may not be safe to go to your doctor’s office. Your doctor may ask you to stay home and talk to your doctor through online video. This is called “telehealth.” Your doctor must still give you an interpreter or captioning so you can understand your doctor when you use telehealth. This video is to help you navigate telehealth appointments. If the doctor does not provide what you need to access a telehealth appointment, please contact: telehealth@dhhcan.org.

There are four accessible ways to use telehealth with your doctor: You can see your doctor and the interpreter on the same screen. Captioning is available if you need it. You can see the captions (CART) on the same screen with your doctor. You have two screens, one to see the captions and/or the interpreter, and a second screen to see the doctor. If you are not able to use #1-3, you can use VRS or IP-CTS to call your doctor. Keep in mind, your doctor cannot force this option on you if #1-3 are available. Instruct your doctor what kind of access (which of the 4 ways) fits your needs. Your doctor should accommodate your needs. Out of all four options, you and your doctor should also be able to type to each other using a “chat” feature. This way you can catch any misunderstandings. Typing is a good backup if there are problems with the audio and video.

Your doctor should know how to connect with you on telehealth. Your doctor also should send you instructions with the link so you know how to connect. The doctor is responsible for giving this information to the interpreter or captioner. When you start the telehealth appointment with your doctor, you should see the doctor clearly on the screen. And you should see the interpreter clearly. And if you asked for captions, you should see the captions clearly. And you can use the chat feature to type to your doctor. Typing can be a backup if the video or audio is not clear. Doctors know how to use their telehealth system, but not all doctors know how to use interpreters or captioning. Give your doctor the telehealth guidelines to help them understand what they must do. Remind your doctor to make sure the interpreter is certified/licensed to work in your state and to hire the interpreter/captioner. Even if you are only using captions, it is important to see each other. You both should be able to see the interpreter, captioning, and the chat box. 

If your doctor is not able to include the interpreter and/or captioning on the telehealth screen, then there are other options you can use as a temporary solution. If you ask the doctor for an interpreter, the doctor may tell you to download a VRI app, perhaps on your phone as a second screen. Your doctor should tell you how to connect to the telehealth and VRI apps. Keep in mind, it may mean two separate apps. Your doctor must make sure they can hear the interpreter clearly and the interpreter can hear the doctor clearly. If your doctor does not already have a contract with a VRI company, let your doctor know which interpreters you prefer to use. The interpreter should be familiar with medical vocabulary. If you are using captioning, you can access the captions on a separate web page. Your doctor must make sure their audio is connected to the remote captioner. If your doctor does not already have a contract with a captioning company, let your doctor know which captioners you prefer to use. If you or your doctor are not sure where to start, try using streamtext, sourcebook, or DCMP’s list of vendors. You can also search online for CART providers.  Another option is to use relay services (such as VRS or IP-CTS). Your doctor cannot force this option on you if options #1-3 are available. It is your decision. Keep in mind these differences/limitations: many relay interpreters and captioners are not trained or able to handle medical discussions. With VRI, you can ask for medically trained interpreters and captioners. With relay services, you cannot. The doctor will not be able to review the captions. You must already be registered for relay services, which can be an issue in a health emergency. If a relay call is the only option during a telehealth appointment, the doctor can call you at your relay phone number or the doctor can give you their phone number to call through VRS or IP-CTS. Five VRS providers include Convo, ZVRS, Sorenson, Purple, and GlobalVRS. Five captioned telephone service (IP-CTS) providers include CaptionCall (available on iOS), ClearCaptions (available on iOS), Hamilton CapTel (available on any web browser), InnoCaption (available on both iOS and Android), and Sprint Web CapTel (available on any web browser). 

#YLC2020 Status

News from NAD.org - April 13, 2020 - 11:33am

In response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the NAD is not able to host #YLC2020 — however, we will postpone this year’s Youth Leadership Camp (YLC) session to next year! This means we will have TWO camp sessions in 2021. Bookmark our page to stay updated! #LongLiveYLC

Notice of Settlement with MIT

News from NAD.org - April 10, 2020 - 10:32am

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) announced on February 18, 2020 a landmark settlement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that institutes a series of new guidelines to make the university’s website and online resources accessible for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. The settlement follows a similar agreement with Harvard University in November 2019, which together represent the most comprehensive set of online accessibility requirements in higher education and provide a new model for ensuring worldwide online and digital accessibility in academia and business for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. View the Notice online and share your comments to the court directly, information on how is provided on the Notice page.

#NAD2020 Status

News from NAD.org - April 9, 2020 - 4:04pm

The NAD Board has been monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely to determine what is in our best interests as it is very serious. We cherish our community, and above all, prioritize our safety and health. Due to this health situation, the Biennial NAD Conference in Chicago during the first week of July will not happen. 

The NAD Bylaws require the NAD to host two things this year. First, the Council of Representatives meeting, which includes discussions and voting on priorities, bylaws changes, and election of the Board. And secondly, we must host the Forums which allows the community to share input on proposed priorities. Both of these are required to happen this year, during even numbered years. The NAD Board is figuring out options on how to make this happen and we will share updates soon. 

If you made hotel reservations at the Sheraton, don’t forget to cancel your reservations.

In addition, the YLC session for 2020 has been postponed to next year. More information will be shared by the NAD Youth Program Director, Chanel Gleicher Bonheyo, soon.

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