A view of the struggle to find a place, portrayed through the eyes of the Deaf experience: John Liberty "Deaf Rapper Sean Forbes"Michigan Live. Where is God in this video? As a start on reflecting what it means to be Deaf (or different in any way): overturning expectations, getting beyond "you can't," and finding identity as Deaf and one of God's people.
On January 13, 2012, the FCC issued a Report and Order that requires captioning for on-line television programs, as well as mandating captioning capabilities for a variety of devices. Short video clips extracted from full-length programs are not covered under the order. Small televisions, computers, smart phones, tablets and similar devices will be required to display captions. Claude Stout of TDI (Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing) welcomed the rules, saying "These new rules represent the greatest advancements in captioning since the rules for captioning on television were developed." For more information, click here to read a report from Deaf Network of Texas.
In a historic victory for deaf and hard of hearing truckers, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) announced on February 1, 2013, after decades of prohibition, that deaf drivers can operate commercial motor vehicles such as large trucks. Read more here.
The four largest wireless carriers have committed to making text-to-911 available by May 15, 2014. Beginning June 30, 2013, 911 call centers that are unable to accept text messages will have an automatic bounce feature that will send an error message. (NFPA e-Access Newsletter). For more information about text-to-911, click here for the FCC web page.
Fort Worth, Texas has started an Accessible Hazard Alert System that can send warning messages to Deaf, hard-of-hearing, blind, and Deaf-blind people who may not be able to detect outdoor warning sirens. The alerts are available in ASL, captioned and verbal text for iPads, smart phones, e-mail, and Braille readers. Residents of Fort Worth may sign up here. Residents of other areas can learn about the system and encourage public officials to adopt a similar system.
NPR Labs, cooperating with the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, is developing a system to deliver accessibility-targeted emergency alerts through 25 public radio stations in the Gulf region. Click here to read the story.
From the Deaf Network of Texas: H3 Network Media Alliance, an internet broadcasting network, has started providing cultural, news, and educational programming in International Sign (IS). IS allows Deaf people using any of 130 languages to communicate, and is the official language of the World Federation of the Deaf. Click here to see the release, which includes a video.
Texas DARS will discontinue its TTY line on May 1, 2013, in favor of relay service (711 or 1-800-RELAYTX).
The 2012 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium has been released by the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center. Topics include population, labor and poverty, health care and coverage, education, and veterans. Click here to view the website.
The Federal Communications Commission announces the start of the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program on July 1, 2012. This program is funded by the Telecommunications Relay Service Fund. For more information, pdf: click here for a PDF document, or
click here for a text file.
The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) has an app "DisAbilityConnect" that provides contact information for organizations and agencies providing information and support on disabilities. It's available for the iPhone and for Android.
Read about how designing for Deaf communication needs can help hearing people improve their communication and interaction, much as designing for wheelchair accessibility benefits everyone: Kim O'Connell "Designing a City for the Deaf"The Atlantic, March 27, 2012.