National Association of the Deaf -

President Updates / March 2020

News from - April 1, 2020 - 12:26pm

President Melissa encourages you to be prepared if you think you have coronavirus and need to go to the hospital. The NAD continues to monitor the coronavirus situation and stand by for updates from the CDC and the state of Illinois regarding the NAD Conference in Chicago this summer. 

Communicating With Medical Personnel During Coronavirus

News from - March 28, 2020 - 12:28pm

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, more and more deaf, hard of hearing, and DeafBlind people are concerned about communicating with doctors, nurses, and others at the hospital. Many hospitals and medical facilities are changing their policies to create a safer environment which may impact your access — now, many hospitals will not allow in-person interpreters, family members, or visitors to come into the hospital. You may be alone for a long time, depending on how severe your case is. Doctors and nurses wear masks and may talk with you from behind a window or curtain. However, you still have the right to decide your care.

A coalition of deaf and hard of hearing consumer advocacy organizations, deaf doctors, and other experts worked together to provide special guidelines for deaf, hard of hearing, and DeafBlind people and medical personnel to use during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Guidelines for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind People Guidelines for Hospitals and Medical Facilities

Both guidelines were developed by deaf and hard of hearing groups, deaf doctors, and other experts:

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

If you have any concerns, questions, or wish to discuss this further with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network (DHHCAN), email

Access During Coronavirus Public Briefings

News from - March 19, 2020 - 5:05pm

Many of you have contacted the NAD about the lack of American Sign Language (ASL) and captioning access to public briefings about coronavirus across the country, including the White House press conferences. 

We agree that the White House must provide ASL interpreters during their press conferences and ensure that the ASL interpreter is visible on screen so that all deaf and hard of hearing people have the same information at the same time about coronavirus as everyone else. 

We thank the National Council on Disability for sending a letter to the White House to ask for this access, and the NAD has also sent a letter to the White House. Our letter asked for ASL interpreters at all White House public briefings. Our letter also asked the White House to direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide their information about coronavirus in ASL immediately.

We ask everyone who shares our concerns about their lack of ASL access to send a message to the White House directly and request interpreters during live press conferences about coronavirus. The more of you that do this, the sooner we may see an interpreter during the White House press conferences.

The NAD has sent a letter to the National Association of Broadcasters asking them to make sure that TV news broadcasters include the ASL interpreter on the screen and fully and accurately captions for all coronavirus press conferences. 

Thanks to all who advocated for (and continue to advocate for) ASL interpreters in your states! It looks like most states’ Governors* did have an ASL interpreter next to them during their public briefings on coronavirus. Please thank your Governor who did! If your Governor did not have an ASL interpreter during their public briefing, please use our letter template and send a letter to your Governor’s office. Use the same template if your mayor or local government did not provide an ASL interpreter during their public briefings.

If there was an ASL interpreter but the camera did not fully show the ASL interpreter then send a letter to the news broadcaster responsible using our provided template. If the public briefing was not captioned or was poorly captioned (such as auto captions) either on TV or on the Internet, please file a complaint with the FCC.

*Thanks go to David Wantuck who compiled on his Facebook page photographs of all governors and their coronavirus press briefings, which seems to show that as of March 17, 2020, 47 states’ Governors had an ASL interpreter with them during their conferences.

#NAD2020 Wants You to Volunteer

News from - March 13, 2020 - 8:06am

We have a very exciting conference planned and to make it a wonderful experience for all of our attendees, we need YOUR help! If you’re looking for volunteering opportunities — this is it!


A Message from the NAD About Coronavirus (COVID-19)

News from - March 12, 2020 - 4:20pm

The NAD CEO Howard A. Rosenblum shares news about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how the U.S. Government has failed to make information accessible in ASL, how this disease affects education and employment access, how this affects the NAD office, and that the NAD Conference is still going on as planned. #CoronavirusInASL

Resources about COVID-19*

*note: this list is not comprehensive 

NAD Advocacy Letters

Submit a Complaint about CDC and HHS for their failure to include ASL videos about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Nominate Someone for #NAD2020 Awards

News from - March 10, 2020 - 7:39am

Do you know someone who has done a lot for the deaf and hard of hearing community? Here’s your chance to make sure they get the recognition they deserve! We invite you to nominate someone or an organization — each award has a different purpose. You can nominate someone for each type of award that best fits their contribution to our community. Winners of each award will be announced at the NAD Conference in Chicago, June 30-July 5, 2020.

National Deaf Youth Day 2020

News from - March 6, 2020 - 10:08am

It’s #NationalDeafYouthDay! Chanel, the NAD’s Youth Programs Director, and Howard, the CEO of the NAD, explains why today is an important day for our #DeafYouth.

President Updates / February 2020

News from - March 6, 2020 - 7:04am

President Melissa shares two updates from February, the American Library Association (ALA)’s annual mid-winter meeting and the Interpreting Summit.

“Signing is Language” Act introduced in the U.S. Congress!

News from - March 4, 2020 - 6:58am

The NAD announces an exciting Congressional bill that will recognize American Sign Language (ASL) and other sign languages used in the U.S. through ensuring that English Language Learning opportunities are equally available to deaf and hard of hearing students, along with hearing children of deaf adults (KODAs/CODAs).


U.S. Census and American Community Survey

News from - February 21, 2020 - 10:09am

Howard explains the difference between the 10-year Census and the annual American Community Survey (ACS). If you’re interested in applying as a Field Specialist for the Census (paid gig!), explore here. If you have any questions about the Census or the ACS, you can call their hotline: 800-923-8282. To share your concerns with the Census Bureau, view our template letter. Watch a series of videos for people with disabilities to encourage participation. Be counted! #AskHoward // February 2020

Landmark Agreements Establish New Model For Online Accessibility In Higher Education And Business

News from - February 18, 2020 - 6:27am

Settlement with MIT Follows Similar Agreement with Harvard University to Caption Online Content

Agreements Represent the Most Comprehensive Set of Online Accessibility Requirements 

BOSTON—The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) announced today 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. 

MIT, one of the most celebrated academic research institutes in the world, has agreed to provide industry standard captioning for publicly-available online content, including video and audio content posted on as well as MIT’s YouTube, Vimeo, and Soundcloud pages, certain live-streaming events and online courses such as Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), MITx and MIT OpenCourseWare. 

The terms of the settlement are included within a consent decree, which can be enforced by the court. The court must approve the consent decree before it may become effective.

MIT must also implement a public process to manage these requests. MIT is also required to submit reports every six months beginning in June 2020 to the NAD and the Disability Law Center with information about the number of requests received, among other details.

This settlement was reached four years after this litigation began in 2015, when it was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Massachusetts as a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit was prompted by the recognition that, notwithstanding the description of MIT’s online resources as “open and available to the world,” many of its videos and audio recordings lacked captions or used inaccurate captions. MIT had no published policies in place to ensure these learning tools were accessible to people who are deaf and hard of hearing. In the United States alone, there are approximately 50 million deaf and hard of hearing people. 

During the litigation, MIT filed a motion to dismiss the case. In response the court ruled that federal laws prohibiting disability discrimination covered MIT’s online content. 

The named plaintiffs in this class action lawsuit, the NAD, C. Wayne Dore, Christy Smith and Lee Nettles, were represented by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, the Disability Law Center, the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, and also the NAD.  

“The settlements with MIT and Harvard usher in a new era of accessible online learning in higher education. The civil rights mandate is clear – all colleges and universities must ensure that the video and audio content on their websites are accessible through quality captioning.” said Howard A. Rosenblum, Chief Executive Officer, National Association of the Deaf.

“Providing equal access through new and evolving technologies is at the core of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This announcement opens up a huge new world of learning for the tens of millions of people who were previously unable to access MIT’s wealth of online educational resources,” said Arlene B. Mayerson, Directing Attorney at the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund.

“These agreements with MIT and Harvard are ground-breaking and historic, opening new doorways in learning for deaf and hard-of-hearing students and professionals and setting a new standard for civil rights enforcement for accessibility in online learning. We urge other institutions that share their research, case studies, and course work to the public to follow this precedent to ensure their content is accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people, worldwide,” said Joseph M. Sellers who heads the civil rights practice at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll.

“There’s no excuse for any institution to shortchange the millions of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. We cannot pick and choose what types of accessibility we want to provide—it’s a fundamental right that everyone deserves. We’re pleased the agreement ensures all learners will be treated equally,” said Amy F. Robertson, Co-Executive Director of the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center.   

“These agreements represent the most comprehensive framework for ensuring that higher education institutions make their online and digital resources available for the deaf and hard of hearing. Nobody should be denied the opportunity to an education because of a disability, and the digital doors of MIT are now open for everyone,” said Marlene Sallo, Executive Director of the Disability Law Center.

New Changes on YAP’s Horizon

News from - February 11, 2020 - 11:58am

We are excited to share some changes to the Youth Ambassador Program!

First, the Youth Ambassador winner will receive a $6,000 check with no two-year commitment to the NAD.

Second, the 4th Round is slightly different — it’s the Pitch and Network event where contestants will network with #NAD2020 attendees and pitch your platform, this gives you an opportunity to gather interest in your pitch!


Join us at #NAD2020

News from - February 10, 2020 - 4:58am

President Melissa invites you to the 55th Biennial NAD Conference in Chicago June 30-July 5, 2020! Explore the #NAD2020 website to find out registration details, hotel info, ASL conference theme, schedule, workshop partners, and more! 



News from - February 5, 2020 - 12:29pm

Christine Sun Kim’s ASL Performance

News from - February 3, 2020 - 7:42am

Watch Christine Sun Kim perform ‘America, The Beautiful’ and the National Anthem at the Super Bowl LIV in Miami on February 2, 2020.


News from - January 30, 2020 - 12:00pm

President Updates / January 2020

News from - January 27, 2020 - 7:17am

Happy New Year! President Melissa shares a summary of the NAD Board’s visit in Las Vegas earlier this month. Explore the photos from the visit! Also, region representatives share a quick message from Las Vegas!


News from - January 24, 2020 - 8:58am


News from - January 24, 2020 - 8:57am