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The NAD is the nation's premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America.
Updated: 12 hours 55 min ago

NEW Parent Advocacy App

June 14, 2019 - 2:08pm

Do you have a deaf or hard of hearing child in your family? Do you participate in the child’s meetings at school? Then this new Parent Advocacy App is for you! The Parent Advocacy app helps you to understand your child’s rights and to prepare you to work with the school in the best interest of your child.

DOWNLOAD TODAY

The Parent Advocacy app is a collaboration between: the NAD, Gallaudet University Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, American Society for Deaf Children, and Hands and Voices.

Muse Paintbar Sued for Discrimination

June 12, 2019 - 1:16pm

Gaithersburg, Maryland – Caitlin Cunningham, a deaf arts enthusiast, filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against Muse Paintbar, LLC, which offers painting classes open to the public. Muse Paintbar’s repeated refusal to provide Cunningham with qualified sign language interpreters during the painting classes violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Cunningham, who communicates in American Sign Language, wanted to take Muse Paintbar’s painting classes with her family. Because Muse Paintbar did not provide interpreting services upon request, Cunningham was not able to join its programs – this is discrimination. 

“I just want to be able to take Muse Paintbar classes and understand everything like everyone else does. I don’t know why Muse would want to turn away and exclude anyone.” said Caitlin Cunningham. 

Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), agreed: “Muse Paintbar has federal and state obligations to ensure that its programs and services are accessible to all, including deaf and hard of hearing people. It is unfortunate that a lawsuit is necessary to make sure Muse Paintbar follows these laws.” Prior to filing suit, the NAD wrote to Muse Paintbar to make clear their legal obligations and to again request interpreters on Cunningham’s behalf, but Muse did not respond. 

Cunningham is represented by the National Association of the Deaf and Stein & Vargas, LLP.

###

The National Association of the Deaf is the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by, and for, deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States.

Stein & Vargas, LLP is a civil rights firm based in Washington, D.C. and committed to the principle that all people have full and equal access to all parts of society.

CONTACTS:

  • The National Association of the Deaf
    Lizzie Sorkin
    301-587-1788
    lizzie.sorkin@nad.org
  • Stein & Vargas, LLP
    Mary Vargas
    240-793-3185
    mary.vargas@steinvargas.com

Upcoming Conferences 2019-2020

May 30, 2019 - 8:40am

[If you have an edit to suggest please email nad.info@nad.org.]

Maryland Association of the Deaf Conference
March 23, 2019
Ellicott City, Maryland

National American Sign Language & Early Childhood Education English Bilingual Consortium
April 4 – 6, 2019
Indianapolis, Indiana

Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools & Programs for the Deaf
April 26 – 29, 2019
Denver, Colorado

Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens Deaf Awareness Day
April 27, 2019
White Bear Lake, Minnesota

Maine Association of the Deaf Conference
May 10-12, 2019
Wells, Maine

YLC Alumni Foundation Reunion (50th Anniversary of YLC)
May 24-27, 2019
Beach Lake, Pennsylvania

Alabama Association of the Deaf Conference
May 30-June 1, 2019
Talladega, Alabama

New Jersey Association of the Deaf Conference
June 1, 2019
Toms River, New Jersey

ADARA Conference
June 1-4, 2019
Baltimore, Maryland

Louisiana Association of the Deaf Conference
June 6-8, 2019
Bossier City, Louisiana

Georgia Association of the Deaf Conference
June 7-9, 2019
Clarkson, Georgia

Mississippi Association of the Deaf Conference
June 8, 2019
Pearl, Mississippi

Montana Association of the Deaf Conference
June 13 – 15, 2019
Great Falls, Montana

Wisconsin Association of the Deaf Conference
June 21-22, 2019
Brookfield, Wisconsin

Nebraska Association of the Deaf Conference
June 21-22, 2019
Omaha, Nebraska

North Carolina Association of the Deaf Conference
June 21-22, 2019
Charlotte, North Carolina

National Deaf Education Conference
June 24-28, 2019
Austin, Texas

Deaf Interpreter Conference
June 25-30, 2019
Eugene, Oregon

Deaf Women of Color Conference
June 27-29, 2019
Chicago, Illinois

Illinois Association of the Deaf Conference
June 27-29, 2019
Normal, Illinois

Arkansas Association of the Deaf Conference
June 28-29, 2019
Little Rock, Arkansas

Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf Biennial Conference
July 16-21, 2019
Austin, Texas

Deaf Women United Conference
July 17-21, 2019
Phoenix, Arizona

WFD International Conference
July 23-27, 2019
Paris, France

National Black Deaf Advocates Conference
July 31-August 4, 2019
Oakland, California

Idaho Association of the Deaf Conference
August 1-4, 2019
Gooding, Idaho

Kansas Association of the Deaf Conference
August 2-3, 2019
Overland Park, Kansas

NAD YLC’s 50th Anniversary Celebration
August 8, 2019 Stayton, Oregon

Pennsylvania Society of the Advancement Deaf Conference
August 8-10, 2019
Williamsport, Pennsylvania

West Virginia Association of the Deaf Conference
August 8 – 10, 2019
Morgantown, West Virginia

South Carolina Association of the Deaf Conference
August 9-10, 2019
Greenville, South Carolina

Seabeck DeafBlind Retreat
August 26 – 31, 2019
Seabeck, Washington

DSA Conference
September 2-8, 2019
Seattle, Washington

Utah Association of the Deaf Conference
September 7, 2019
Ogden, Utah

Texas Association of the Deaf Conference
September 12-15, 2019
Grapevine, Texas

Oklahoma Association of the Deaf Conference
September 20-21, 2019
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tennessee Association of the Deaf Conference
September 26-28, 2019
Knoxville, Tennessee

Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf Conference
September 27-29, 2019
Framingham, Massachusetts

Washington Association of the Deaf Conference
October 3 – 6, 2019
SeaTac, WA

NAD Leadership Training Conference
October 17-19, 2019
Little Rock, Arkansas

Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens Conference
October 18-19, 2019
Faribault, Minnesota

Florida Association of the Deaf Conference
October 24-27, 2019
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf 150th Anniversary Auction & Gala
October 26, 2019
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Jr. NAD National Conference
November 6-10, 2019
Rochester, New York

Conference of Interpreter Training 2020
August 12-15, 2020
Minneapolis, Minnesota

No date has been announced yet for the following conferences:
Alaska Association of the Deaf Conference
Aloha State Association of the Deaf Conference
Arizona Association of the Deaf Conference
California Association of the Deaf Conference
Colorado Association of the Deaf Conference
Connecticut Association of the Deaf Conference
Deaf Association of Wyoming Conference
Deaf LGBTQI and Allies Awards Ceremony
Delaware Association of the Deaf Conference
Empire State Association of the Deaf Conference
Indiana Association of the Deaf Conference
Iowa Association of the Deaf Conference
Kentucky Association of the Deaf Conference
Michigan Association of the Deaf Conference
Missouri Association of the Deaf Conference
Nevada Association of the Deaf Conference
New Hampshire Association of the Deaf Conference
New Mexico Association of the Deaf Conference
North Dakota Association of the Deaf Conference
Ohio Association of the Deaf Conference
Oregon Association of the Deaf Biennial Conference
Rhode Island Association of the Deaf Conference
South Dakota Association of the Deaf Conference
Vermont Association of the Deaf Conference 
Virginia Association of the Deaf Conference 
Council de Manos 2020 Conference
Deaf Blind Expo 2020

President Updates — April/May 2019

May 30, 2019 - 6:29am

NAD President Melissa gives an update on the National Family Campaign, a new deaf track within a Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program, the NAD’s state registration, and a recap summary of the Board’s visit in Indianapolis (enjoy the photos). Also, learn what’s new with the region representatives.

YLC’s 50th Anniversary

May 29, 2019 - 1:23pm

This year is Youth Leadership Camp’s 50th anniversary, what a milestone! #AskHoward // May 2019

Test

May 19, 2019 - 11:41am

We Want To Know Your Experience with Metro and Airlines

May 9, 2019 - 5:08am

The NAD Policy Institute is studying deaf and hard of hearing people’s accessibility experiences across a variety of categories. Do you use the metro? Do you fly? Are you annoyed with problems when traveling due to barriers? We need your input! Please fill out the survey by May 30, 2019.

TELL US: www.nad.org/metro-airlines-survey/

Thank You Teachers!

May 8, 2019 - 5:20am

Thank you teachers! You give your time to teach us incredible things. Here’s a video of our Board Members remembering their favorite teachers. Who was your favorite teacher and what lesson did you learn from them? #ThankATeacherToday

[Video transcript and description available here]

Ask Howard Anything — April 2019

April 24, 2019 - 12:18pm
Howard A. Rosenblum is sitting at his desk. The NAD logo appears on bottom right corner as a watermark.

What makes the NAD a legitimate organization? #AskHoward

President Updates / February & March 2019

March 29, 2019 - 6:16am

Melissa shares a summary about the NAD coordinating Mock Interviews on National Deaf Youth Day this year, Youth Leadership Camp Alumni Foundation (YLCAF)’s reunion weekend and YLC’s 50th Anniversary, site selection for #NAD2022, 2018-2020 Priorities, and the NAD Leadership Training Conference (NLTC) workshop topics.

Ask Howard Anything — March 2019

March 28, 2019 - 9:34am

What’s the difference between Open Captioned (OC) and Closed Captioned (CC)? #AskHoward

File a complaint with your local movie theater if your CC experience was not good.

Dear Younger Self

March 7, 2019 - 4:50pm

March 8th is International Women’s Day, some of our board members share advice to their younger selves. What advice would you give to your younger self? #InternationalWomensDay #IWD2019 #DeafWomenHistoryMonth

National Deaf Youth Day 2019

March 5, 2019 - 7:19am
VIDEO: Chanel is standing in the NAD Headquarters lobby wearing a Jr. NAD shirt.

The annual National Deaf Youth Day on March 6th celebrates the unique identity of deaf and hard of hearing youth and their accomplishments. For the first time this year, the NAD will co-host a mock interview event with four Jr. NAD chapters, one from each region, for deaf and hard of hearing students. This new event will allow students an opportunity to experience and practice their interview skills with real employers! We will be partnering with local organizations and companies to do these mock interviews. Nearly 100 deaf youth are expected to participate. The National Deaf Youth Day events are part of a larger project between NAD and The Starbucks Foundation aimed at inspiring and empowering deaf and hard of hearing youth (ages 18-30) to explore a variety of career and employment options.”

Letter to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

March 3, 2019 - 5:06pm

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) sends this letter to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in response to the open call for comments on the proposed position statement prepared by the ASHA Ad Hoc Committee to Develop a Position Statement that American Sign Language is a Distinct Natural Language. (PDF available).

March 3, 2019

Shari B. Robertson, CCC-SLP

President, Board of Directors

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

National Office

2200 Research Boulevard 

Rockville, MD 20850-3289 

Dear Dr. Robertson:

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) sends this letter to you and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in response to your open call for comments on the proposed position statement prepared by your Ad Hoc Committee to Develop a Position Statement that American Sign Language is a Distinct Natural Language. While we agree with ASHA that deaf and hard of hearing children who need ASL services should receive such services with adequate funding including through the English Learner (EL) program of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the framing of this invitation for comments has triggered concern from members of the deaf and hard of hearing community.

First, we would like to address the primary aim of the position statement: to promote consistent federal recognition of ASL as a distinct natural language. We appreciate ASHA’s efforts to correct discrepancies among federal agencies and provide an accurate history on ASL. For additional framing and references, please see the NAD’s position statement on ASL.[1]

However, the way ASHA worded its invitation for comments on this issue caused significant concern in the deaf and hard of hearing community that the long-established premise of ASL being a legitimate language was now in question. As a result, we had to reframe the issue to generate the necessary support for this initiative. Such reframing was particularly necessary given ASHA’s recent statements opposing LEAD-K, which is inconsistent with this effort to promote ASL on behalf of deaf and hard of hearing children. 

For several years now, the NAD has been involved in efforts to get ASL listed as a language eligible for EL funding. We worked with the Linguistics Society of America and the American Educational Research Association, along with others, to address this issue by meeting with key people at both the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice (with their Educational Equity office). 

As educators and service providers become more aware of the benefits of EL for students using ASL, it is critical that we set appropriate expectations for how services will be implemented should we succeed in securing EL funding.

This brings us to another key concern we have, with this sentence from the proposed position statement, “Audiologists and speech-language pathologists who are proficient in ASL provide direct assessment and intervention for ASL users to ensure a strong language foundation for future learning.” The NAD respectfully asserts that any such proficiency must be examined and measured to reflect mastery to the extent that the professional is able to properly and fully complete assessment of a student’s language. 

As a result, anyone who conducts ASL assessments must be fluent in ASL, as measured by a high score on the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI), the most reliable mechanism that exists to measure ASL proficiency at the present time. They also should be trained on the specific ASL assessments, including using those that are normed and designed specifically for deaf and hard of hearing students. 

The NAD additionally takes the position that any person who is not fluent in ASL should never perform ASL assessments, including any attempt to do so through the use of interpreters. Sign language interpreters do not receive any type of training or education to perform language assessments, and should not be used by non-fluent individuals to assess any student’s ASL skills.

In fact, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has provisions that bar such an inappropriate use of sign language interpreters. The IDEA lists special factors with respect to direct communication between the deaf or hard of hearing student and the teacher/professional, in this case the assessor.  [34 CFR §300.324(a)(2)(iv)]. 

The NAD strongly recommends that ASHA members, when doing ASL assessments, collaborate with professionals who are themselves deaf or hard of hearing and at a minimum meet the qualifications listed above. Professional organizations and events focused on ASL professionals have been rapidly growing in recent years in order to address this need, and the existence of those organizations and events are further evidence that ASL deserves to be eligible for EL funding. 

Such organizations and events include the American Sign Language Teachers Association, ASL Roundtable, National ASL Education of Heritage Language Learners, and the National ASL & English Bilingual Consortium for Early Childhood Education (NASLECE).  

The NAD and the aforementioned organizations bring significant expertise in this area. We urge ASHA to engage in dialogue with the NAD to ensure that all deaf and hard of hearing children receive the appropriate assessments and language-based services that they deserve and need to achieve their full potential.

Sincerely,

Melissa Draganac-Hawk, President                

Howard A. Rosenblum, Chief Executive Officer                                

[1]https://www.nad.org/about-us/position-statements/position-statement-on-american-sign-language/

In Memoriam: Thomas J. Dillon III

February 28, 2019 - 1:21pm

The National Association of the Deaf mourns the passing of Thomas Jefferson Dillon III on February 13, 2019, at the age of 64 years. Known to everyone as Tom, he was well known in the New Mexico deaf and hard of hearing community. Tom was the son of Dr. Thomas Dillon who was the first deaf principal of the New Mexico School for the Deaf, and Tom served on the Board of Directors for this school as well.  Tom was a Certified Public Accountant by profession, having earned his accounting degree from the College of Santa Fe and obtained his CPA license in 1992.  He worked for the New Mexico Department of Revenue and Taxation for more than 25 years.  Recently, he formed his own accounting and income tax practice called Taxes R Us. Also, in 2003, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson appointed Tom to the position of Executive Director of the New Mexico Commission for Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and he served in this role for more than four years. 

Tom always found time to serve different local organizations that serve the deaf and hard of hearing community.  His involvement included serving as President of the New Mexico Association of the Deaf (NMAD), serving on the board of the New Mexico School for the Deaf, and assisting with the New Mexico Chapter of Self Help for the Hard of Hearing (SHHH, now known as Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA).

Tom Dillon III

The NAD deeply appreciates Tom Dillon’s service as Treasurer for our Board of Directors from 2002 to 2008. Former NAD President (2006-2012), Dr. Bobbie Beth Scoggins fondly remembers Tom, and said of him: “Tom had an uncanny way of drawing you into conversations through his twinkling eyes and a broad smile. He made sure we all were comfortable before or after board meetings. His quiet and unassuming disposition as a leader on national and state levels benefited us greatly, including by consistently giving the NAD his wisdom and knowledge as a board member and as a treasurer for six years.  We shall miss him.” 

Mark Apodaca, who preceded Tom as NAD Treasurer (1996-2002) and worked with him on many boards in New Mexico, says of his fellow New Mexico advocate: “Tom will always be remembered for wanting to do what is best for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and to improve lives of many Deaf and Hard of Hearing New Mexicans.”

Ask Howard Anything / February 2019

February 28, 2019 - 5:36am
Howard A. Rosenblum is sitting at his desk.

Suppose you, as a deaf person, go to a hospital with a hearing family member that needs treatment or has an appointment and you are not the one getting treated or looked at for medical care — does the law allow you to have an interpreter in that situation? #AskHoward

Explore our list of advocacy letters.