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Accessibility for deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing individuals:

The Electronic Curb Cut Video: Brought to you by The Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans 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 (external link) 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

Learn more about

Accessibility & technology resources: 

ADA Minnesota (external link) 
ADA Minnesota is a resource providing Minnesota citizens with disabilities, businesses, communities, government, universities and colleges assistance in implementing the ADA.

Alliance for Technology Access (external link) 
The Alliance for Technology Access (ATA) is a growing national and international network of technology resource centers, community-based organizations, agencies, individuals, and companies.

Deaf Self-Advocacy Training (DSAT) (external link) 
The Deaf Self-Advocacy Training program is provided by the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers (NCIEC) (external link) and the Deaf Community. Effective advocacy for interpreting services has been a long-time concern of Deaf Community leaders. With RSA funding support since 2005, DSAT is a curriculum designed to be taught by Deaf, hard of hearing and DeafBlind trainers to other Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind consumers.

DBTAC Great Lakes ADA Center (external link) 
The DBTAC - Great Lakes ADA Center provides information, problem-solving assistance and referrals for implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other related laws.

Healthcare Interpreting Resources (external link) 
This site is maintained by the CATIE Center at St. Catherine University, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration, grant #H160A100003. Although the contents were developed under a grant from the Department of Education, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Making Your Case - Free online advocacy training presented in ASL and/or English  
Making Your Case is a free self-study course designed to help people advocate for positive changes in public policies that impact people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. This course is presented in American Sign Language and/or English and is designed for: self-advocates; parents and family members of children who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing; direct care workers; service providers; and professionals working in fields related to deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing services.

Minnesota Alternative Communication Accessibility Options (external link) 
Deaf, hard of hearing, and Deafblind individuals may require alternative formats of communication accessibility in place of or in addition to sign language interpreters. (CART Services, Cued Language Transliteration, Occupational Support Specialist, Support Service Provider).

Minnesota Relay (external link) 
Minnesota Relay is a program that provides access for people with hearing loss or a speech disability to communicate over the telephone.

National Association of Interpreters in Education, The (external link) 
The National Association of Interpreters in Education, NAIE, is an organization of interpreters who provide services to support the communication needs of students in educational settings.  The NAIE promotes the pursuit of professional excellence regarding interpreting services in these settings.  The purpose of the NAIE will identify and support best practices within the field, advocate for its members, provide continuing education, networking, resources and other professional opportunities.

TDI (external link) 
TDI (formally known as Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. ) was established in 1968 originally to promote further distribution of TTYs in the deaf community and to publish an annual national directory of TTY numbers. Today, it is an active national advocacy organization focusing its energies and resources to address equal access issues in telecommunications and media for four constituencies in deafness and hearing loss, specifically people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, late-deafened, or deaf-blind.

Telephone Equipment Distribution (TED) Program (external link) 
The TED Program provides telephone equipment to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, speech impaired or have a physical disability and need adaptive equipment in order to use the phone. The equipment is loaned out at no cost as a long-term loan. Available equipment include Captel phones, light flashing ring signalers, TTYs, amplified telephones, loud ringers, hands-free speakerphones and more.

Video Captioning Essentials (external link) 
Video Captioning Essentials is a self-study course designed to help managers master the basic tools needed to deliver captioned web videos that are useful, cost-effective, and satisfy legal and regulatory requirements. This course is designed for: communications managers, IT managers, webmasters, video producers and editors, and anyone else responsible for managing an organization's website content.

World Wide Web Consortium: Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) (external link) 
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. The WAI works with organizations around the world to develop strategies, guidelines, and resources to help make the Web accessible to people with disabilities.

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