TAMPA, Fla. — According to the American Community Survey done by the U.S. Census, approximately 3.6 percent of the U.S. population considers themselves deaf or hard of hearing.
Although there are schools that help to accommodate those with hearing needs, it can still be difficult, especially for Hispanics who, for them, it’s rare for educational programs to cater to teaching Latin American signed languages.
That’s the case for Patti Sanchez — although it may look like a typical trip to the mall for her, she’s there on a mission: to help her client find the perfect outfit.
“We came today to find a sweater that he needs for his new job because it’s very cold at the warehouse, and then a comfortable shoe, and it’s been approved by the vocational rehabilitation,” she said.
It’s all part of her job as an employment specialist — a job she’s been doing for 12 years.