People who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing often experience barriers to communication and the acquisition of information. These barriers can lead to missing pieces of information others may take for granted, such as how the world works, how systems work and effective ways to navigate them, how to manage and cope with life’s everyday challenges. This is referred to as a person's fund of information.
Much of the information in a person’s fund of information comes from intentional learning such as reading books, taking classes, researching online, and so on. But a large part of this information comes through incidental learning: listening to how others work through disagreements, overhearing siblings discussing which school rules are flexible and which aren’t, hearing co-workers discuss remedies for health care system barriers while waiting to use the copy machine, and picking up on social cues through everyday conversations.
Language development and a deep fund of information require access to communication.
In 1980 the Minnesota Legislature recognized these unique needs of Minnesotans who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing and established the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Act in Minnesota Statutes §256C.21 — 256C.30. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division (DHHSD) was established to address the communication access, developmental and social-emotional needs of persons who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. This is accomplished through a statewide network of services.
DHHSD and MNCDHH: What's the difference?