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Accessibility for deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing individuals:

The Electronic Curb Cut Video: Brought to you by the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing (MNCDHH) and the Office of Enterprise Technology: State of Minnesota.

In 2009, MNCDHH led a group of disability organizations and successfully advocated for legislation that created state accessibility standards for e-government services. Prior to 2009, most state agencies produced videos and documents that were not accessible. We received the funds needed to educate state employees about why these standards are important. Later, we went on to get the funds that created the MN.IT Office of Accessibility. The Electronic Curb Cut makes the case for making all e-government services accessible to state employees and citizens.

Modern society today provides many options for accessibility for individuals who are deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing. If you would like to know how to make your place of business accessible, this is the place for you.

The very first thing to do is simple. Start by asking the individual who is requesting accommodations what they need in order to either access your place of business and/or perform their job tasks. The individual is the best person to judge how to receive access. For deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing people, their request for access may center on effective communication.

Below are some of the options that the individual might choose, depending on his or her needs and depending on the situation at hand.

Adaptive equipment 

  • Phone: A specific type of phone may be needed, such as CapTel (a phone that includes captions) or a videophone.
  • Visual alerts: Visual alerts may be needed to notify the individual of actions such as a doorbell ringing or a smoke detector signaling a warning.
  • Website accessibility: In any case, please ensure that your website and online materials are accessible. 

Captioning 

  • CART: Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is often used in meeting and event settings. The individual can follow the dialogue by reading the captioning that is projected on the screen. A list of CART providers is available.
  • Closed captioning for television and films: MNCDHH urges that the closed captioning be turned on for any televisions intended for public access. We also recommend that movies that are shown in any situation be first checked that they have closed captioning and/or English subtitles prior to the showing. This includes (but not limited to) training videos for new employee orientations and videos used in education settings. This is a low (even zero) cost solution for accessibility. Televisions are legally required to have built-in closed captioning decoders. VHS, DVD, and Blu-Ray packaging indicate whether their videos provide closed captioning and/or subtitles, so they can be checked prior to purchasing.
  • Captioning your videos: If you or your organization produce videos, please take the time to caption your videos. MNCDHH provides an online training course on how to do this.
  • Take the online Captioning Essentials course.

Interpreting services 

  • Cued Speech transliterating: An individual may want to utilize the services of a cued speech transliterator. Cued speech is not a language. Rather it is a communication tool in which handshapes are used to indicate various sounds. It makes lip-reading much more fluid. The individual must be fluent in cued speech to be able to use this. A list of cued speech transliterators is available.
  • Sign language interpreting: An individual may want to utilize the services of a sign language interpreter. The sign language interpreter interprets English to ASL and ASL to English. Some individuals prefer to use a more English version of ASL, called Pidgin Signed English (PSE). The individual will be able to notify you of their language preferences. A list of interpreting agencies is available.
  • Individuals who are deafblind may request a sign language interpreter who is proficient in the communication styles of deafblind consumers. These interpreters are trained in tactile interpreting, interpreting within the vision range of the consumer, and/or pro-tactile interpreting.

Americans with Disabilities Act

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