56th Biennial NAD Conference, June 30 - July 4, 2022, Orlando, Florida.

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THE DEAF

2022 Proposed Priorities

Change of National Leadership Training Conference to Zoom or Hybrid

2022-FL-GOV-01

Author: Annmarie Buraczeski

Seconded by: Lauren Lercher

Problem to be addressed:

The expense for in-person NLTC is expensive for many State Associations. Some SA’s can not afford both NLTC and Delegate Conferences every year.

Proposed Solution: 

Leadership training conference can benefit to a lot of members who need or desire to learn more about their roles. It is a good idea to change from in-person conference to zoom or hybrid. It can bring more participants.

Rationale: 

Money is everything. Some SA’s do not have the budgets and they miss out so much. We shall not leave them out.

Fiscal Impact: 

The average expense of in-person NLTC for one participant is about $300 for registration, $200-$600 for airfare and $400-$1,000 for 3-4 days during fall season. Zoom or hybrid costs zero.

Board/HQ Response: 

The NAD already has a commitment to host the 2023 National Leadership Training Conference in Albuquerque, NM, which was postponed from our originally scheduled NLTC in 2021. If this proposal is selected as a top priority, we can explore possible options for a hybrid conference in 2023 with the understanding that the fiscal impact is significant in that livestreaming of a live conference requires equipment and streaming capabilities and that has a large cost. Hosting a webinar is more feasible in terms of cost and technology, but not free. The fiscal impact above is more geared to the impact for each person to attend the conference, but the fiscal impact for NAD would be costly to explore platforms using either full virtual/hybrid options.  Furthermore there is the social/emotional impact that would impact all individuals who attend only the virtual, taking away the experience of connecting, learning, and supporting one another. The NAD can pursue  a virtual approach for the NLTCs after 2023 if this priority passes.  

Change the Date of NAD Conference to Fall

2022-FL-GOV-02

Author: Annmarie Buraczeski

Seconded by: Lauren Lercher

Problem to be addressed:

The cost of the delegate conference is very expensive during the July 4th week. It’s not fair for those State Associations for not able to afford to send their delegates during the national holiday.

Proposed Solution: 

The expense for the delegate conference in the fall season is more reasonable than summer season. Since July 4th is the holiday, everyone spends with their loved ones at home or vacation.

Rationale: 

It is very important to include all State Associations instead of leaving some out because of their budgets. Airfare & hotel are very expensive during the holiday week. It’s time to change.

Fiscal Impact: 

Summer 2022 Conference (during July 4 week) – $169 per night for hotel. Approx $400-$650 per person for airfare (round trip)

Fall 2022 Conference (if Sept 21 to 26) – $120 per night for hotel. Approx $175-$250 per person for airfare (round trip).

Board/HQ Response: 

The NAD HQ is continually exploring different cost effective ways to host its biennial conferences to make it affordable to all attendees. 

The Summer has traditionally been the most accessible time of the year for many who work in schools and universities. Moving the conference to the Fall may impact the partnerships between Deaf In Government (DIG) and National Deaf Education Conference (NDEC). Many government agencies fix their fiscal year to begin October 1st so government employees may be impacted given the challenging timeline to obtain approvals to attend. With respect to the NDEC, teachers are off from school during the summer and would be able to attend the conference without having to look for substitutes for their students. In addition, families would not be able to attend the conference due to children being at school. While July 4th is a holiday, it is widely avoided by many organizations who host conferences like the NAD. Hotels often give the NAD excellent rates and deals to host during the July 4th holiday week, which is why many NAD conferences have occurred during this time. 

The NAD recommends that further analysis be done including a survey with conference attendees on factors that impact their ability to attend the conference including time, money, and other factors. If this proposal becomes a priority, this would not occur until 2026, due to prior commitment with the hotel in Chicago for 2024 as our dates are already secured (postponed from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

NAD to implement a Rapid Response Team to address the community’s concerns immediately

2022-FL-GOV-03

Author: Brianne Burger

Seconded by: Todd Epps

Problem to be addressed:

NAD has engaged in amazing advocacy efforts that has benefited the deaf community. However, oftentimes these advocacy efforts require the NAD to monitor social media, proactively get ahead of the story, and communicate with the community including after hours and on weekends. The Superbowl situation is one such example. The deaf community would like to support the good work the NAD has done by submitting this proposal to boost NAD’s credibility and image as the leading representing organization for the deaf community.

Proposed Solution: 

We propose that NAD re-create a Rapid Response Team (RRT) to be activated for all media and government events in which NAD promotes or supports with deaf talent and representatives. The RRT will be responsible to address any urgent issues on-site and virtually. The RRT will be on hand to respond to or relay community concerns to the appropriate officials to be addressed as quickly as possible.

Rationale: 

The purpose of the RRT will be to help the community feel that their concerns are received and will be addressed within NAD. In turn, this will greatly elevate NAD’s image as a credible, trusted leader of the deaf community.

Fiscal Impact: 

The fiscal impact of this priority will depend on which method NAD decides to use to tackle this priority, whether it be creating new staff positions, using several current staff’s time, or a taskforce of several organizations to work together as a RRT.

Board/HQ Response: 

The NAD Communications team under NAD Headquarters (HQ) is primarily responsible for communications for the NAD, with the support of the NAD Board. The NAD formed a Rapid Response Team (RRT) in 2019 in response to a situation when the HQ was unsure of the community views on the issue involved. The RRT worked closely with HQ in preparing communications that reflected the views of the organization as a whole, as well as  the views of various perspectives from the community. 

The NAD Board does not monitor nor micromanage the daily operations of HQ, including its communications team. Rather, the NAD Board does share concerns from the community with HQ. The NAD is proud to be one of the few, if not the only organization to provide all of its content in both ASL and English, which is posted at the same time, by staff and volunteers who work tirelessly in developing those communications. Providing content in both ASL and English is important to ensure access for all deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and hard of hearing individuals. 

The NAD does not support this priority as it is already the practice of the NAD to utilize a Board RRT where appropriate.

Achieving Equity in Deaf Education

2022-FL-EDU-01

Author: Hunta Williams

Seconded by: Sheena Cobb

Problem to be addressed:

Where are the BIPOC who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing? The education for BIPOC and DeafBlind children are impacted nationwide. 

Proposed Solution: 

Both resources are lacking diversity in Deaf Education. 

Rationale: 

More efforts in securing equity in schools will help BIPOC children get better education, given the need to address the existing deficit in education for Black children. 

Fiscal Impact: 

This may require some money to pay for training for deaf schools, including those with programs for DeafBlind students, and mainstream schools.

Board/HQ Response: 

The 2020-2022 NAD Priority “Achieving Equity in Deaf Education” has made tremendous progress in developing a checklist for families to ensure the school they have their child in, or are considering, has programs, services, and resources that their child needs. This checklist is currently being reviewed through a racial lens by an organization that specializes in dismantling racism to ensure that the checklist includes equity for BIPOC children and families. This effort is ongoing and the NAD is committed to providing training to promote this equity work, including through state associations and affiliates to advocate for improved education for all deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, and deaf disabled students, especially including those who identify as LGBTQIA2S+ and BIPOC.  

The NAD is in support of this proposal.

Access to resources for DeafDisabled citizens

2022-FL-PUB-01

Author: Sitara Sheikh

Seconded by: Thomas Minch

Problem to be addressed:

There are many systematic barriers that DeafDisabled individuals encounter on a daily basis including limited access to resources and services. Many service providers are not equipped to work with DeafDisabled due to the lack of knowledge of their communication needs. As a result, their rights for receiving services are delayed. We have many DeafDisabled citizens who deserves equity in accessing services as their peers.

Proposed Solution: 

Establishment of a Taskforce to develop and implement the following:

  • Work with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to ensure that their requirements are being strengthened and adapted to current issues/crises.
  • Develop a training module to educate the interpreter agencies and Interpreters Training Programs to ensure the interpreters will be knowledgeable with translating/providing communication access toward the DeafDisabled community.
  • Explore into changing the terminology from DeafDisabled to current inclusive terminology.

Rationale: 

We are noticing many barriers such as:

  • Delayed in determination of eligibility for state-based long term services (lack of appropriate culturally competent evaluators and assessments).
  • Lack of interpreters that are culturally competent in working with DeafDisabled individuals in different situations such as mental health crisis, domestic violence, and other related emergency crises.
  • Lack of culturally appropriate training for interpreters, providers, and professionals in terms of working with DeafDisabled individuals especially with meeting their communication needs.
  • Not enough providers and professionals knowing ASL, Visual Gesture Communication, and Deaf Culture

Fiscal Impact: 

NAD/NAD Board Staffing time.

Board/HQ Response: 

This proposal asks that we work with the Department of Human and Health Services (DHHS), Interpreter Agencies, and Interpreter Training/Education Programs to combat an issue that is much more global than just those areas. There are many strategies that could be implemented, however it would require more than two years to notice a change, as it is a systemic issue, in addition to lack of knowledge among people running government agencies, and entities that should be providing communication access. 

Regarding Interpreting Agencies and Interpreter Training/Education Programs being knowledgeable about providing communication access and resources available, the National Association of the Deaf – Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (NAD-RID) Code of Professional Conduct already has this as an expectation, and the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education (CCIE) has standards for accreditation which include those expectations. The NAD does not have authority or oversight over both agencies and Interpreter Training/Education programs, however have worked closely with both RID and CCIE in the past to ensure access for all deaf individuals including those who are deaf disabled. 

The NAD supports this proposal with modifications to allow a more comprehensive and strategic approach to addressing this important issue.

Access to SuperBowl and other major events on Networks

2022-FL-PUB-02

Author: Vikki Porter

Seconded by: Lori Leal

Problem to be addressed:

The NAD has successfully worked with the NFL to ensure that Deaf talent can perform at the Super Bowl and has successfully sued to force the White House to provide sign language interpreters, but TV networks are not required by law and have not been willing to show the full version of the sign language performance on television. Much of sign language access is only available now through Internet streaming.

Proposed Solution: 

To ensure that TV networks always show the sign language performance that is provided, a new federal law is needed to mandate showing the complete sign language version on television in real time. Federal law currently requires almost all TV programs to be captioned, and it is time to start requiring showing sign language as well. The NAD will work with Congress to pass federal legislation to mandate sign language access on television programs.

Rationale: 

Too often, captioning is provided as the only access for Deaf people. For many things, sign language is needed in addition to captioning. Mandating sign language access on television will make it possible to fully see sign language interpreters on White House briefings and Deaf performers at the Super Bowl and many other situations. Deaf people are equal partners on this planet and it should be reflected that way onscreen on television.

Fiscal Impact: 

Significant lawmaking and lobbying efforts by NAD’s Policy Team to draft, strategize and advocate for passage of this law.

Board/HQ Response: 

NAD Board supports this as a priority.

ASL Interpretation of Government Public Briefings

2022-FL-PUB-03

Author: Chris Haulmark

Seconded by: Jessica Schultz

Problem to be addressed:

At one time during the COVID-19 pandemic, all fifty states provided ASL interpretations during their televised and live online briefings, as did many large cities and counties. In this way, it is always possible to have ASL interpretations available.

As of today, many states have ceased providing ASL interpretation of their televised and live online briefings, which cover a variety of topics besides the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of local government officials are also hesitant to ensure that their briefings are fully accessible to the Deaf community.

Without ASL interpretation, even captions are not enough to make government televised and live online briefings accessible to many Deaf individuals who are monolingual, unable to read English or not well enough to understand it.

Proposed Solution: 

People who are not Deaf believe that captioning is effective for all Deaf people, but that is not true.

As part of this solution, NAD is required to develop educational published and online materials. These materials is to be distributed by state associations of the Deaf and their partners government officials. These materials are to explain why ASL interpretation is necessary.

ASL interpretation is a requirement under anti-discrimination laws, ensuring that monolingual Deaf individuals have full access to information being shared via government briefings. State associations of the Deaf and their partners may need assistance from NAD in connecting with legal counsel within their respective states to deal with government entities that fail to comply with the anti-discrimination laws.

Rationale: 

All Deaf individuals, including those who cannot rely on captions, in the country will have access to all government information under this priority. We will also promote ASL to a wide audience to raise awareness about the diverse culture and languages of the Deaf community.

Fiscal Impact: 

This priority is expected to have some fiscal impact. Staff from both the NAD and the State associations of the Deaf will collaborate, develop, and implement these plans. Training must be conducted via virtual and on-site meetings by NAD and collaborative organizations. ASL videos and published materials will be necessary to inform and educate the officials of the state and local government. Expenses for the services of legal counsel may be included in the fiscal impact.

Board/HQ Response: 

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, interpreters were included in state government press briefings about COVID-19 as they were considered to be emergencies, similar to how state governments handle other emergencies such as hurricane, tornado and earthquake alerts. The NAD brought a lawsuit against the White House to compel the provision of interpreters specifically for COVID-19 related press briefings. This was a first time legal argument, and now it is a new law.  

State legislatures are required to provide ASL access upon request for their proceedings, but this has traditionally happened for in-person meetings. Many state legislatures have also resisted the provision of ASL access, but it is possible to advocate for such access and the NAD legal staff is prepared to assist in this advocacy effort including through training of state associations and affiliates.

However, television broadcasts or live streaming of non-emergency briefings or regular legislative proceedings typically do not provide ASL access because this is not yet recognized as legally required. Creating new legal precedent for non-emergency related briefings is possible but is not currently recognized as the law. Existing federal law requires television networks to provide 100% captioning but not ASL access.  

The NAD is working on new federal legislation to require that television networks show any ASL access during broadcasts. 

The NAD supports the goal of this priority, and recommends adjustment to allow for the NAD HQ more flexibility in different strategies to reach this goal.

ASL Resources for Deaf Babies

2022-FL-PUB-04

Author: Willie Noble

Seconded by: Gisella Visco

Problem to be addressed:

More than 90% of deaf babies are born to hearing parents and are the first deaf person the parents meet. Parents often look to medical professionals for guidance and often get recommendations to “fix” the deaf child. These recommendations can be and often are harmful to the deaf child. Parents leave the hospital without meeting a deaf adult and without getting appropriate resources and often have to wait until after their follow up appointment in 30 days to get any information. We believe that all parents should receive information on programs, services, and ASL resources upon getting screening results. ASL classes should be available to families as early as possible.

Proposed Solution: 

All hospitals and birthing centers must ensure that a deaf/hard of hearing adult is present when a medical professional informs the family of the screening result which indicates possible hearing loss. That deaf and hard of hearing adult will be able to provide accurate resources and answer any questions that families may have.

Rationale: 

It is urgent that each family receives appropriate information on language acquisition and on raising a deaf/hard of hearing/deafblind child upon getting results from the screening. All information should include ASL and resources on learning ASL. Information like these is not required anywhere in the country until much later and the child is already at risk of language delays/language deprivation.

Fiscal Impact: 

NAD Staff and Board will work with other advocates and professionals that are involved with EHDI/language deprivation research/early intervention.

Board/HQ Response: 

The NAD has been and continues to work to ensure that parents of deaf babies receive information about ASL and deaf programs and schools. However, there is no law that requires resources to be shared with parents upon learning that their babies are deaf or hard of hearing. There are also health care privacy laws (like HIPAA) that prevent hospitals from sharing information with organizations like the NAD and private individuals about families and deaf babies. As a result, the NAD and other organizations are prevented from being able to share resources with families at the time of screening. 

The NAD supports this proposed goal with the understanding that there needs to be flexibility for the NAD to pursue different ideas and strategies to achieve it.

Deaf Seniors Issues

2022-FL-PUB-05

Author: Lori Leal

Seconded by: Tina Joyner

Problem to be addressed:

Need to continue working on “Eliminating Barriers To Quality Care for Senior Citizens” priority.

Proposed Solution: 

Continue the work that NAD/DSA Taskforce on Deaf Seniors Issues.

Rationale: 

The situation that deaf seniors face everywhere trying to get accessibility to meet their needs is a sad fact. It happens everyday and all through our country. It’s time to face reality and fight for the rights of deaf seniors to be met…accessibility in our ASL language at nursing homes, assisted Living homes, rehabilitation centers, centers for the aging, and caregivers at home.

Fiscal Impact: 

None.

Board/HQ Response: 

The NAD has had this as a priority for the last two terms. The committee has achieved a lot in the last 4 years. The NAD acknowledges that the committee still has a lot of work to do.  The Board/HQ is still committed to the work necessary to achieve a barrier-free living for our Deaf Senior Citizens. If this priority is passed – it just will reaffirm the work that NAD is already committed to.

Dismantling Racism in the Deaf Community

2022-FL-PUB-06

Author: Hunta Williams

Seconded by: Michelle Long

Problem to be addressed:

The previous priority on dismantling racism needs to be continued for the NAD and all of its State Associations and Affiliates to work towards actually dismantling racism, and expand the work to also dismantle ageism as well as oppression against LGBTQIA2S+ and DeafBlind.

Proposed Solution: 

The previous priority on dismantling racism needs to continue to work towards restorative justice for BIPOC within the NAD as well as its State Associations and Affiliates. 

Rationale: 

Two years has not been enough, this should continue as a priority until the system has been transformed. 

Fiscal Impact: 

This may require staffing, travel, and online resources to support the work. 

Board/HQ Response: 

The NAD is in support of this proposal. 

Improve the Quality of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for Deaf Clients

2022-FL-PUB-07

Author: DeAnna Swope

Seconded by: Scott Cohen

Problem to be addressed:

Deaf communities in various states are experiencing the decline of service availability and quality from Departments of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). Based on the feedbacks from the Deaf community from one state (Georgia), there were significant challenges stemming from severe shortages of ASL-fluent VR counselors- to illustrate the severity of the shortage, the number of VR counselors for deaf service decreased from 24 counselors to 3 counselors in a span of few years. That has led to either complete absence or extreme delays in getting VR services.

Proposed Solution: 

We propose two plans of action to address the dilemma. First, NAD can provide training to state associations (in the form of videos) on how to establish dialogue with state Vocational Rehabilitation, with input of the Deaf community, to improve the service rendering for deaf clients. Secondly, NAD should also host a nationwide training, roundtable, or summit with representatives from Vocational Rehabilitation and elected officials to discuss our concerns on the lackluster of services provided from the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation across the country and identify the issues that need to be addressed in their respective state agency.

Rationale: 

The quality of life is tied with stability and security. Deaf people need stable income to afford food and shelter that provides security. The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation has played a significant role in opening up barriers by giving opportunities for Deaf community to secure well-paying employment that would not be possible without their support. Indeed, NAD conducted the survey on the quality of the Vocational Rehabilitation service but they are a state agency, which means the state associations would need to be armed with strategies to utilize during the dialogue with the department. Virtual or in person will give them the space where they can open up and talk about it as well as getting support from each other in a safe space instead of the survey.

Fiscal Impact: 

The cost of email correspondence and Zoom meetings are free. The major expenses would be the summit/roundtable (approximately $10,000 for the cost of booked conference room, refreshments, interpreters) and to develop the training modules for the state association (approximately $5,000 for voice-over interpreters, payment for signers, payment for video technician/editor, and payment for subtitlers).

Board/HQ Response: 

The NAD has been working tirelessly to complete its 2018 priority: “Reducing the Order Of Selection Barrier for Deaf Vocational Rehabilitation service applicants”, which includes the development of a document that identifies current processes states have adopted to determine who is eligible for services, and what they have to offer including deaf counselors. We hope that this information will help the NAD and State Associations and other organizations advocate for change with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. 

The NAD is in support of this priority to continue the work and engage with federal agencies as well as develop training modules.

To Increase and Maximize Civic Engagement

2022-FL-PUB-08

Author: Brianne Burger

Seconded by: Todd Epps

Problem to be addressed:

Community members have expressed the desire to learn how to improve their civic engagement, as a result of the Super Bowl event. NAD members and the general deaf, BIPOC deaf communities have asked for trainings in a variety of civic engagement activities, such as how to file a complaint with the FCC for lack of captioning or issues with VRS/VRI, how to engage with local, state, and federal governments on drafting bills, and many more. These requests have been expressed to NAD at the NAD Town Hall meetings, on Social Media, and at other meetings such as the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network (DHHCAN) by NAD’s organizational partners.

Proposed Solution: 

We propose that NAD create an educational webinar series, addressing a number of civic engagement topics. NAD can either do this in-house by making these webinars fully accessible and visible, open to the public on NAD’s social media and retaining the videos on NAD’s website and YouTube channel, or NAD can partner with several organizations such as Deaf In Government, State Associations, and/or DHHCAN partner organizations to pool the resources into making this webinar series together, therefore cross-posting and substantially increase the visibility and viewership of the greater deaf and BIPOC deaf communities at large using social media. This will empower the deaf and BIPOC deaf communities and generate a positive outlook of NAD as a viable, active organization serving our communities.

Rationale: 

NAD is an amazing organization that has developed hundreds of resources. Right now, NAD is not visible enough. NAD has received hundreds of requests to educate and empower the community to be active participants in civic engagement. By doing this, NAD will improve its image and credibility with the community AND increase its membership and volunteer base to further support NAD in more activities.

Fiscal Impact: 

The fiscal impact of this priority will depend on which option NAD decides to use to tackle this priority, whether it be conducting the webinars in-house or a taskforce of several organizations to pool the resources in doing the webinars together.

Board/HQ Response: 

The NAD is in support of this proposal. 

To Increase and Maximize Educational Outreach with Industries

2022-FL-PUB-09

Author: Brianne Burger

Seconded by: Todd Epps

Problem to be addressed:

NAD has a treasure trove of guidelines for providing communication accessibility services to deaf people in a variety of settings such as hospitals, schools, governments (local, state, and federal), for a variety of scenarios such as COVID pandemic, emergency personnel, and for broad communication access. The problem is NAD’s information is not disseminated to the appropriate facilities either appropriately or sufficiently enough to impact either systemic change or a significant increase in communication access for deaf people, including BIPOC deaf people. There is either insufficient or a general lack of training to the various industries (such as hospitals, restaurants, retail), school systems, governments, and emergency personnel to demonstrate that NAD is making an impact.

Proposed Solution: 

We propose that NAD dedicate a substantial amount of its time and staffing resources to a serious commitment in increasing the outreach engagement and visibility of NAD’s various guidelines through networking with the various industries, school systems, and government agencies. Possible methods include: a) hire a Director of Outreach whose full-time responsibility would be to host meetings and training workshops with the various industries, school systems, and government agencies; b) create a series of webinar trainings and invite the various industries to these webinars or in person workshops; c) create a taskforce of several organizations to work together in hosting the meetings, trainings, networking; or d) create innovative ways to substantially increase or ramp up NAD’s visibility.

Rationale: 

NAD is an amazing organization that has developed hundreds of resources. Right now, NAD is not visible enough. There needs to be a dedicated and substantial emphasis on outreach and networking with industries such as hospitals, restaurants, retail, school systems, and government agencies to gain their buy-in engagement with NAD as a trusted resource to increase communication accessibility for deaf people, including BIPOC deaf people.

Fiscal Impact: 

The fiscal impact of this priority will depend on which option NAD decides to use to tackle this priority, whether it be creating a new staff position, using several current staff’s time, or a taskforce of several organizations to work together.

Board/HQ Response: 

For the past decade, the NAD has expended significant resources and staff time disseminating its position statements and recommended best practices with various industries and government agencies, with limited success and mostly disinterest from relevant industry organizations. Consequently, the NAD is focusing on various other strategies, including but not limited to significant continued advocating with specific entities that have strong influence on various industries such as: the Joint Commission and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (for health related issues and senior citizen issues (also the AARP)); U.S. Department of Transportation (for CDL licensure, flight access, train access, etc.); HRSA to advocate for early intervention reform; FEMA for emergency management issues; DEIA efforts to advocate for improved interpreter services within the federal government; and much more. Much of these initiatives were stalled for various reasons including an administration that did not have staffing for disability efforts in the past four years. The NAD has been meeting on a regular basis with top technology and media firms to consult and guide them on ensuring more accessibility to their products and software including but not limited to: Google, Meta, Netflix, Zoom, Microsoft, Twitter, AT&T, Verizon, Charter/Spectrum, TikTok, PlutoTV, and more. These industries have been open to our guidance but hospitals, restaurants, schools, retail industries, and others like them have been resistant to collaborations. Given the stubborn refusal of most industries to willingly adopt our recommendations, the NAD Law and Advocacy Center has combined a creative combination of litigation, federal policy, and state level legislative/policy advocacy to compel systemic change as recommended by our position statements and best practice recommendations. 

The NAD does not support this priority given that it would require us to repeat what we have already tried with limited success.

Trained First Responders

2022-FL-PUB-10

Author: Gisella Visco

Seconded by: Willie Noble

Problem to be addressed:

Emergencies and disasters happen every minute. We have over 48 million Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled and Hard of Hearing (DDBDDHH) Americans and many of them use American Sign Language. They have experienced many negative and difficult moments with First Responders on the scene of emergencies. 

It is clear that there is a need to improve ASL communication access and deaf/hard of hearing/deafblind awareness to First Responders and their emergency services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. 

Proposed Solution: 

We recommend establishing a training series or classes for all First responders to be familiar with ASL and Deaf Culture. First responders should be prepared to be able to communicate with deaf and hard of hearing and DeafBlind and Deaf Disabled people. Even being familiar with the alphabet in ASL or understanding the need of having sign language interpreters will go a long way. With the training, both First responders and the deaf and hard of hearing consumer will be able to focus on the situation rather than wasting valuable time on communication. 

Although the NAD has a position statement on emergency management, this proposed solution is geared towards first responders and their preparedness when encountering DDBDDHH people during an emergency situation.

Rationale: 

First Responders are the first line who reach at the scenes before interpreters arrive at the later time.  Even though deaf experience some challenges such as a lack of on-call certified sign language interpreters; a lack of appropriate signage about the availability communication and information access; and a lack of appropriate assistive technology available in working condition for Deaf and hard of hearing people, it is important for the responders to be familiar with the aspects of  Deaf Culture and ASL. 

Fiscal Impact: 

This will require NAD staff and board’s time to establish a training course. NAD should also seek to collaborate with appropriate agencies. The staff/board will need to develop a position statement for first responders such as police/sheriff, fire, ems. Even though NAD already has a position statement on emergency management, this is geared towards disasters and responses. https://www.nad.org/about-us/position-statements/position-statement-on-accessible-emergency-management-for-deaf-and-hard-of-hearing-people/

Board/HQ Response: 

The NAD has been working on the 2018 Justice Priority regarding first responders and has made some progress. The NAD is working with the National Association of State Agencies of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (NASADHH) to develop a model training program for law enforcement. While the NAD can add training for firefighters and EMS, it must be understood that those industries do not have nationalized training programs. Each municipality decides what kind of training will be offered, so any training we develop may not be used. Nevertheless, the least we can do is to provide these training options. 

The NAD supports this proposal. 

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) Guidelines

2022-FL-PUB-11

Author: Tina Joyner

Seconded by: Vikki Porter

Problem to be addressed:

The hospitals do not have any guideline to follow through when they need to use VRI to communicate with deaf/HoH patients.

Proposed Solution: 

NAD and DSA developed VRI Guidelines several years ago and NAD needs to implement the guidelines with all hospitals through the Joint Commission.

Rationale: 

Medical Facilities are becoming dependent on VRI without guidelines which causing unnecessary harmful consequences.

Fiscal Impact: 

None.

Board/HQ Response: 

The NAD has shared the NAD/DSA VRI Guidelines with numerous hospitals as well as with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). In addition, where the NAD has sued hospitals, their settlements require the hospitals to adopt the NAD/DSA VRI Guidelines. However, despite these efforts by the NAD, most hospitals have refused to adopt and will not consider adopting the Guidelines without legal mandate (such as through the NAD lawsuits or through requirements imposed by either HHS or DOJ or both). The NAD has been focused on convincing the Joint Commission (which certifies most hospitals in the USA) to include the NAD/DSA VRI Guidelines in their hospital accreditation requirements. This is the best means to achieve our goal. 

The NAD supports the goal of this priority, but asks for flexibility to pursue the goal with the best possible strategies based on the realities of hospitals refusing to voluntarily adopt the VRI Guidelines.

Addressing Mental Health Crisis Among Deaf Youth

2022-FL-PUB-12

Author: Demarco Pittman

Seconded by: Morgan Jericho

Problem to be addressed:

Deaf youth’s mental health has taken a toll over the past several years including COVID-19 disrupting their sense of youthhood. Given the decreasing number of members across organizations, it is critical to uplift deaf youth’s self-esteem and confidence year-round through mentorship, skills training, and life coaching. When people are in survival mode, they are less likely to volunteer for social causes. This means needing to create a safe space throughout the mentorship programs, events, and professional development.

Proposed Solution: 

Through a nationwide online survey among deaf youth, the data will justify developing and designing an inclusive mental health mentorship program for peer-to-peer learning and advocacy. They are encouraged to volunteer for 2-4 events hosted by a deaf organization as part of their emotional intelligence development. 

Rationale: 

This focuses on the connection between young leaders in navigating an uncertain world. This opens them up to building confidence and networking through professional development.

Fiscal Impact: 

We don’t anticipate any fiscal expenses other than conducting surveys and physical space/accommodations if programming requires in-person engagement.

Board/HQ Response: 

The NAD supports this proposal. 

Deaf-Led Emergency Preparedness

2022-FL-PUB-13

Author: Morgan Jericho

Seconded by: DT Bruno

Problem to be addressed:

One of the results of climate change is extreme weather conditions that also will lead to higher frequency and intensity of severe storms. Climate scientists have warned us that there will be a tipping point where the world will be hotter, drier or wetter, and more unpredictable. This will force major human migration, and more difficult access to food, water, and shelter, thus reducing people’s quality of life when their basic needs aren’t being met. We have passed that tipping point. This means we need to start planning for the deaf community’s resilience to natural storms in the preparation, management, and recovery phases.

Proposed Solution: 

Partner with institutions that can provide professional training to Deaf leaders in all forms of emergency disaster planning and management. Reach out to state associations, FEMA, and other local organizations to collaborate on those pieces of training.

Rationale: 

Deaf people will be more impacted by extreme weather than other groups of people. With more leaders taking the initiative with their communities, there will be a better chance of survival and resiliency during and after storms pass through their communities. NOTE: https://www.nad.org/about-us/position-statements/position-statement-on-accessible-emergency-management-for-deaf-and-hard-of-hearing-people/ 

Fiscal Impact: 

Funding for workshops and certification

Board/HQ Response: 

The NAD supports this proposal.