2014-2016 Conference Priorities Report

Preservation and Advocacy of Relay Services (PARS)
Assigned to NAD CEO and NAD Policy Counsel. Completed Position Statement (White Paper) before due date of December 31, 2014 with approval by Board vote on 12/20/2014 and posted to website. In collaboration with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network (DHHCAN), we have had numerous meetings with FCC and Congress on various VRS issues, and further meetings are planned and ongoing.

FEMA Communication to Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Assigned priority to Public Policy Committee, chaired by Alexis Kashar, with provisional creation of Emergency Management Expert Group chaired by Neil McDevitt. Several meetings were held with FEMA to discuss issues, barriers, and goals. McDevitt appointed several leading deaf experts on FEMA to be on the Expert Group, and drafted position statement which will be reviewed by the Board and posted prior to the Conference.

Preservation of Mental Health Services that Meet the Needs of Deaf People
Assigned priority to Public Policy Committee, chaired by Alexis Kashar, and specifically to its Mental Health Expert Group, chaired by Steve Hamerdinger. Hamerdinger appointed several leading experts from deaf mental health field and health coverage policy field to discuss how to address these issues. The Mental Health Expert Group developed a position statement that is being reviewed by the Board and will be posted prior to the Conference.

Outreach to Deaf Youth including Mainstream School Students
Assigned to the NAD Youth Strategy Team, chaired by Martin Price and Lissette Molina-Wood. Based on the recommendation of the Youth Strategy Team, the NAD Board approved the creation of a National Deaf Youth Day on March 6th every year to replicate the success at the state level of a Deaf Youth Day established by the Pennsylvania Society for Advancement of the Deaf (PSAD). Further, the NAD has received increased participation in its Jr. NAD and YLC programs of deaf youth from mainstreamed programs, and will continue to find ways to increase such participation.

Defining and Supporting the Education Strategy Team’s Focus for 2014-2016
Assigned priority to NAD CEO and NAD Education Policy Counsel, as well as the Education Strategy Team. NAD is addressing all aspects of priority as follows: a) Outreach to mainstreamed programs: Increased our presentations at mainstream schools (MD, NY, FL, WA) and provided advocacy to deaf education teachers at both deaf schools and in mainstreamed settings, with plans to continue this work indefinitely; b) Collaboration with national organizations on diversity issues in education: We are working with CEASD and NBDA, NCHDHH, and RAD to collect research, resources and data on diversity issues; c) Updating the model Deaf Child’s Bill of Rights with ASL-English Bilingualism: The EST developed a new model Deaf Child’s Bill of Rights, which was approved by the NAD Board, and the bill is available to state associations and affiliates upon request. The bill is not posted online to avoid its abuse by groups opposed to bilingual education. Further, the NAD has formally made available its NAD Education Policy Counsel and NAD State Legislative Coordinator to all state associations and affiliates to develop the appropriate state bill including the model Deaf Child’s Bill of Rights, the language deprivation bill, and the LEAD-K bill; d) Collaborating with Language Equality and Acquisition for Deaf Kids (LEAD-K) to provide support to state efforts to promote kindergarten-ready legislation: the NAD is engaged in ongoing collaboration with LEAD-K and providing support to states wishing to pass a LEAD-K bill; e) Supporting the development of parent advocacy groups under State Association: the NAD is engaging in ongoing collaboration with parent advocacy groups, with outreach and recruitment efforts of parents to become Parent Advocates helping us already in several states; f) Establishing a clearinghouse for information on successful Deaf schools: the NAD is engaged in ongoing collection of information and preparation of web page for such clearinghouse; g) Language Deprivation – the NAD has a language deprivation bill available through the NAD State Legislative Coordinator to assist states in proposing state laws.






VRI Standards in Medical Settings


Assigned to newly created VRI Task Force in conjunction with Deaf Seniors of America (DSA), and chaired by NAD Board Representative Holly Ketchum and DSA Vice President Alfred Sonnenstrahl. Chairs appointed experts in various areas including technology, medical situations, and interpreting, and have in the process of drafting a position statement containing top standards for when VRI use is allowed or disallowed as well as the conditions for such use. The position statement will be reviewed and approved by the Board prior to the Conference. This position statement will be used in litigation by attorneys across the country to compel hospitals to follow the standards, as well as to promote new standards from the US Department of Justice and the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.