DDSC thankful for support

As president of Deaf Delaware Senior Citizens (DDSC), I am delighted to report that our raffle fundraiser held in conjunction with showings of the movie “CODA” at the Clayton Theatre in Dagsboro generated just over $6,000 from the hundreds of viewers who supported this effort. This money will be used by the World Federation of the Deaf to assist deaf Ukrainians impacted by the Russian invasion.

I thank the DDSC members who donated and solicited items for the gift baskets, attended the 11 showings of the movie along with volunteer sign language interpreters, and arranged for the delivery of the baskets to the winners. I am extremely grateful to Joanne Howe, who hosted the fundraiser at the Clayton Theatre and donated a percentage of the admission receipts.

 

The generosity of donors who helped make the gift baskets so special is greatly appreciated. These donors include Su Casa Furniture, Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club, Bear Trap Dunes, Lord’s Landscaping, Inland Bays Garden Center, Patti’s Hallmark Shop, Banks Wine & Spirits, Porto Pizza and Grill, Jayne’s Reliable, author Michelle Meadows and Realtor Rich Meadows, Good Earth Market and DiFebo’s Market.

Allen Talbert, President
Deaf Delaware Senior Citizens

Source: https://www.coastalpoint.com/opinion/letters/ddsc-thankful-for-support/article_a9bb1574-cc9c-11ec-8aba-1b7a7e79abec.html

Bringing American Sign Language to local weather alerts

One morning in June 2000, Tara Burglund was driving through a thunderstorm on her way to work just north of Sioux City, Iowa. She could see the dark clouds looming overhead and feel the 74 mph winds trying to roll her car as she pressed on the brakes. But she couldn’t hear the cracks of thunder or the urgency of the severe weather alerts.

Burglund is deaf.

While she followed her instincts to pull over into a parking lot, she didn’t know what was going on. Moments later, a giant tree fell nearby, she said. If she had stayed on the road, she realized, she would have been risking her life.

Severe weather is one of the main reasons people tune in to local news stations. Broadcast meteorologists are able to share minute-to-minute details such as location, timing and storm tracks. Yet Burglund — and nearly 1 million other people in the United States — don’t get the same weather information most people rely on their local broadcast meteorologists to provide.

“I rely on my family to interpret when there is bad weather, and when they are not home I can barely tell what is going on,” said Burglund. “Having access to the same safety as others would help so much.”

The National Weather Service has made efforts in recent years to better reach those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Weather radios are available with strobe lights or vibrating alert features for emergencies. Many cities offer storm spotter classes in American Sign Language (ASL). And national catchphrases such as “when thunder roars, go indoors” have been adapted to “see a flash, dash inside.” Weather Service meteorologist Trevor Boucher says this phrasing and imagery can benefit the hearing and deaf community alike.

But there is still a critical gap when it comes to the “nowcasting” provided on local television. ASL is the primary language for more than 500,000 Americans, and unfortunately, it’s not a language that many broadcast meteorologists are familiar with, although there are some examples. Brek Bolton, a meteorologist at Fox 13 in Salt Lake City, has been using ASL on social media for years. In the 2010s, meteorologist Robert Gauthreaux III delivered ASL forecasts for the Baton Rouge area.

Read the rest of the story at https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2022/04/15/asl-weather-sign-language-severe.

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Proposed Rule to Improve Accessibility of Lavatories on Single-Aisle Aircraft

Comment by May 27, 2022

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that it is publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would improve the accessibility of lavatories for people with disabilities traveling on new single-aisle aircraft.

“Far too often, travelers with disabilities don’t have the opportunity to fly to their destinations because they can’t access the lavatories on most airplanes,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This rule would make airplane lavatories more accessible for passengers with disabilities, and bring us one step closer to the day when air travel is possible for everyone.”

Currently, there is no federal requirement that lavatories on single-aisle aircraft be accessible to individuals with disabilities. The inability to use the lavatory on long flights can present significant challenges to passengers who use wheelchairs. Some passengers, knowing that they will not be able to use the toilet during a flight, dehydrate themselves so that they do not need to urinate. These actions can cause many adverse health effects. Other passengers use adult diapers or catheters, which they may find degrading and uncomfortable. Still other wheelchair users avoid flying altogether.

Single-aisle aircraft now operate the vast majority of domestic flights, including a large share of long, cross-country flights. The proposed rule would require airlines to make at least one lavatory on new single-aisle aircraft with 125 or more passenger seats large enough to permit a passenger with a disability (with the help of an assistant, if necessary) to approach, enter, and maneuver within the aircraft lavatory, to use all facilities in that lavatory, and to leave using the aircraft’s onboard wheelchair. 

This rulemaking is one of the DOT’s highest priority regulatory initiatives because it advances equity and reduces discrimination by increasing access to transportation for individuals with disabilities.

The proposed rule would apply to new aircraft ordered 18 years after the effective date of the final rule or delivered 20 years after the effective date of the final rule. It is the result of a 2016 negotiated rulemaking that was produced through a consensus among a cross-section of stakeholders, including disability organizations such as Paralyzed Veterans of America and the National Disability Rights Network; the Association of Flight Attendants; Airbus; and airlines. However, given this long timeframe and in recognition of the affirmative responsibility of the federal government to advance equity, civil rights and equal opportunity for all individuals, DOT is seeking comment on whether these accessibility improvements could be implemented more quickly than proposed. Based on the comments it receives, DOT may adjust the implementation timeline as part of the final rule.

DOT encourages members of the public and interested parties to submit comments on the NRPM. View the notice and request for comment in the Federal Register. The NPRM can also be found at on the DOT website and at regulations.gov , docket number DOT-OST-2021-0137.

DOT’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection (OACP) assists, educates, and protects aviation consumers by reviewing and responding to thousands of consumer complaints about air travel; investigating and enforcing, as appropriate, violations of aviation consumer protection, civil rights, and licensing requirements against airlines and ticket agents; and assessing the need for and drafting aviation consumer protection and civil rights regulations. Additional information and resources, including information on how to file a complaint with OACP.

 

Department of Transportation Public Meeting on Air Travel By People Who Use Wheelchairs

Thursday, March 24 | 10:15 am – 5:30 pm ET
Register for the meeting.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is hosting a virtual public meeting regarding air travel by persons who use wheelchairs on March 24, 2022.  

During this meeting, there will be an opportunity to listen and learn from persons who use wheelchairs on the difficulties that they encounter during air travel and for airlines to discuss both the challenges that they face in providing accessible air transportation and the actions that they are taking or plan to take to improve the air travel environment.

The meeting will better enable DOT to move expeditiously on any necessary action to advance safe accommodations for air travelers with disabilities using wheelchairs. See the Federal Register Notice announcing the meeting.

ASL and CART will be provided.

Requests to make oral comments during the meeting or to submit written materials to be reviewed during the meeting should be received at FlyingWithWheelchairs@dot.gov no later than March 21, 2022.

 

FCC Video Programming Accessibility Public Forum

Monday, March 28 | 1:00 – 3:45 pm ET
Watch the public forum.

The Federal Communications Committee’s (FCC’s) Media Bureau and Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau will co-host this second accessibility-related Forum focused on issues surrounding audio description.

Consumers currently watch a large volume of video programming online, but the availability of audio description online is inconsistent, even for video programming for which an audio description track already exists. The Video Programming Accessibility Forum – Online Audio Description will explore the state of audio description availability for online video programming, including current best practices and technical issues to overcome. The Forum also will explore ways to enhance accessibility, such as voluntary actions to promote online audio description.

The Forum will include two panels that will feature speakers such as television, cable, and online video programming distributors, as well as consumer advocates. Please see the Public Notice for the full agenda.

This is a public event and will be streamed live on fcc.gov/live and the FCC’s YouTube channel. We encourage the public and interested stakeholders to engage in this discussion by sending questions during the event to livequestions@fcc.gov . Commission staff will enter information about the panel, including all relevant public notices, the agenda, and a link to a video recording of the event, into the public record for this proceeding.

The meeting will be webcast with open captioning and sign language interpreters at www.fcc.gov/live

** DAD Note: You may recall the recent Superbowl and other shows had captioning issues.  This meeting is a good opportunity to highlight that the ‘automatic’ voice/audio captioning (aka: ASR) is unreliable and that we should go back to the old way using CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) which produced more accurate captioning.  Show producers wanted to save money and fought for ASR so this is your opportunity to highlight issues.  **

TDI Now Accepting Applications for its 2022 Scholarship Program

2022 TDI Scholarship, Deadline Friday May 13, 2022.  Apply now (click link for more info)

** ASL Version can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRfnUbJc9Es. **

Scholarship Open to Graduating Deaf and Hard of Hearing High School Seniors- Deadline to Apply: May 13, 2022

Now in its fourth year, the TDI Communication Access Scholarship Program is accepting applications. This program is available to all deaf and hard-of-hearing students graduating from high school this year. The scholarship application encourages deaf and hard-of-hearing students to innovate and bring forth ideas for addressing the communication challenges that the deaf and hard-of-hearing community faces.

“We hope that through disbursing scholarship, more deaf and hard of hearing youth leaders are given a headstart to making an impact on advocating for accessibility, equity, and inclusion in information and communications technology,” said Mei Kennedy, TDI Scholarship chairperson. “Last year, we awarded six outstanding individuals and hope to see a growing number of applicants.”

“We are thrilled to continue providing scholarships to students pursuing their post-secondary education.  TDI appreciates UltratecSorensonZP Better Together, and Hamilton‘s continued support to this program ” noted Eric Kaika, CEO of TDI

All deaf and hard of hearing graduating high school seniors can apply online at TDIforAccess.org/Scholarship before May 13, 2022. Applications can also be mailed and must be postmarked by the deadline. Applicants will be notified before September of the award.

For full scholarship details on eligibility, requirements, and application, visit TDIforAccess.org/Scholarship

Source: https://tdiforaccess.org/tdi-now-accepting-applications-for-its-2022-scholarship-program.

HHS Issues New Guidance for Health Care Providers on Civil Rights Protections for People with Disabilities

Today, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has issued new guidance to health care providers on civil rights protections for people with disabilities. The guidance, issued by HHS’ Office for Civil Rights, makes clear that in light of the continuing public health emergency, when resources can be scarce, it is vital that individuals with disabilities are not prevented from receiving needed health care benefits and services as this violates federal civil rights laws.

“Our civil rights laws stand no matter what, including during disasters or emergencies, and it is critical that we work together to ensure equity in all that we do for all patients,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “The pandemic has shone a light on the disparities in our health care system and provided us with a new opportunity to address them in a meaningful way. Protecting people with disabilities from being discriminated against in crisis situations is a critical part of this work, and we are continuing to evaluate our operations Department-wide to ensure accessibility.”

In today’s guidance, HHS clarified that federal civil rights laws apply to health care providers, including those administering COVID-19 testing, medical supplies, and medication. These rules also apply to entities providing hospitalization, long-term care, intensive treatments, and critical care, such as oxygen therapy and mechanical ventilators. Additionally, federal civil rights laws apply to state Crisis Standard of Care plans, procedures, and related standards for triaging scarce resources that hospitals are required to follow. The FAQs remind health care providers of their obligations under law and provide examples of applicability.

“During a public health emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic, biases and stereotypes may impact decision-making when hospitals and other providers are faced with scarce resources,” said OCR Director Lisa J. Pino. “OCR will continue our robust enforcement of federal civil rights laws that protect people with disabilities from discrimination, including when Crisis Standards of Care are in effect.”

This guidance is one of many comprehensive action steps taken by HHS to support President Biden’s National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness to protect those most at risk, advance equity, and address disparities in rates of infection, illness, and death.

Learn more about how OCR is protecting civil rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.

– Thanks to ACL.gov.