The Austin Chronicle reports that the city of Austin has settled a federal civil lawsuit in which Austin police officers are trained in effective communication techniques with deaf people, and are instructed on how to obtain sign language interpreters. Videophones will also be installed in several courtrooms and in jail.The Texas Civil Rights Project filed the lawsuit on behalf of Esther Valdez, a deaf woman who was arrested in 2009. The city and Travis county were charged with discriminating against Valdez because she could not hear. Valdez did not hear an officer yelled at her to stop walking down a busy street in North Austin, and was charged with resisting arrest. The charges against her were eventually dismissed.Continue Reading »
Our founder and president George Elwell will appear on Michigan Entrepreneur TV today! If you live in one of the following viewing areas, be sure to tune in…today at 11 a.m. and on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township, Channel 15.
Birmingham, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, and Franklin, Channel 18.Continue Reading »
Govt. of New York / – Governor Cuomo has signed into law a bill to recognize New York State high school graduates who demonstrate academic excellence in attaining proficiency in one or more languages other than English with a state seal of biliteracy. The seal will be attached to diplomas and transcripts of graduates who excel in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in multiple languages such as sign language. “New York state should recognize the outstanding achievements of our students who have dedicated themselves to learning different languages,” Governor Cuomo said. “Acknowledging those students who have pushed themselves to do their very best and learn another language will provide them with an advantage when dealing with future employers and academic institutions. New York is a richly diverse state and these students are doing their part to ensure that we remain an active member of the global community. I thank Senator Robach and Assemblywoman Arroyo for their hard work on this legislation.” The purpose of the seal is to increase the prospect of a student’s future employment and educational success. The Commissioner of Education will award seals according to regulations developed by the Board of Regents. The bill will take effect September 1.Continue Reading »
Trenton / – The Associated Press reports that a doctor has settled a complaint with a deaf patient. Dr. David Bullek has agreed to pay the deaf woman $10,000 for failing to provide her with a sign language interpreter. The state Civil Rights Divsion says that Dr. Bullek has also agreed to attend training about providing reasonable accommodations for patients with disabilities. The unnamed woman had requested an interpreter for an appointment in 2005. When the deaf woman arrived at her appointment, she claims that a staff member handed her a note saying that they are not obligated to provide an interpreter and that they expected her to bring someone to help.Continue Reading »
Washington / US Dept. of Justice / – The Justice Department has announced an agreement with Kansas City to improve access to all aspects of civic life for people with disabilities. The agreement is the 200th settlement reached under Project Civic Access (PCA), the department’s wide-ranging initiative to ensure that cities, towns and counties throughout the country comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As part of the PCA initiative, Justice Department investigators, attorneys and architects survey state and local government facilities, services and programs in communities across the country to identify the modifications needed for compliance with ADA requirements. The agreements are tailored to address the steps each community must take to improve access. PCA agreements typically include requirements to make physical modifications to facilities so that, among other elements, parking, routes into buildings, entrances, assembly areas, restrooms, service counters and drinking fountains are accessible to people with disabilities. Other common provisions address effective communication (e.g., telephone communications), grievance procedures, polling places, emergency management procedures and policies, sidewalks, domestic violence programs, and ensuring that an entity’s official website and other web-based services are accessible to persons with disabilities. The agreement was reached under Title II of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by state and local governments. The agreement requires most actions to be completed within three years. For the required accessibility modifications to sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, transportation stops and curb ramps, the city will work with the disability community to prioritize and complete these modifications within six years. The department will actively monitor compliance with the agreement until it has confirmed that all required actions have been completed.Continue Reading »
You would think so, since they have been moving fast, working day and night to create the next “must have” for anyone that wants to be aware of what’s going on in their home. This is the ideal product for someone who is concerned about missing a phone call, someone at the door or opening a door, their baby waking up, a fire, or severe weather. The Communicator will be the alerting device they have been dreaming of with its sleek modern look that is similar to a smart phone. This product is designed with effective current technology and is discrete by alerting the wearer with vibration and light. Silent Call’s new body worn alerting device, The Communicator will be coming out later this year.Continue Reading »
Wilmington / Govt of Delaware / – Newborns, infants and people with deafness, hearing loss or speech disabilities will benefit from two bills Governor Jack Markell signed into law that focus on deaf and hard of hearing hearing services. House Bill 384, sponsored by Rep. Quinn Johnson, updates the Universal Newborn and Infant Hearing Screening Act to require tracking and intervention protocol to address this issue. Currently, all hospitals are performing hearing screenings on all infants just after birth. Under the new law, hospitals and audiologists are required to report follow-up hearing evaluations of infants to the Division of Public Health within 10 days of the evaluation. Families must receive unbiased information on future pathways for their children. The law also formalizes the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Advisory Board, which has been done in other states across the country. Rep. Johnson, D-Middletown, noted that HB 384 also helps the state adhere to federal standards and helps allow Delaware to continue to receive federal funding that is provided to run the newborn hearing screening process. Only federal money is received and used for the program. Senate Bill 248, sponsored by Senator Karen Peterson provides persons who have deafness, hearing loss, or speech disabilities with telecommunications service for analog communications devices. According to the Center for Hearing and Communication, approximately 12% of the U.S. population or 38 million Americans have a significant hearing loss, with one out of three people over age 65 having some degree of hearing loss. Delaware is the only State that does not provide the telecommunications service for analog communications devices. The Bill also creates a funding mechanism for Relay Service for persons who have deafness, hearing loss, or speech disabilities.Continue Reading »
Loyola University / – When an insurance company informed Lisa Bothwell as a child that she wouldn’t be allowed to take equestrian riding lessons anymore because she was deaf, it not only devastated her, but set her on a path to advocate for others with hearing loss and vision disabilities. This path has led Bothwell, a fourth-year law student at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, who recently worked in the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice at Loyola, to be the first recipient of the Nancy J. Bloch Leadership & Advocacy Scholarship from the National Association of the Deaf. The scholarship encourages and enhances the history of the NAD by advancing professional opportunities for young deaf and hard of hearing individuals pursuing careers in law, public policy, nonprofit management and related fields. Bothwell is assisting the NAD with its intake of deaf truckdrivers for their commercial driver’s license exemptions. In addition, she has obtained a Gillis Long fellowship through the College of Law and is researching special education issues at the advocacy center. Before Loyola, she served as the community emergency preparedness information network national public relations specialist for Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. Remembering her negative experience as a child with the insurance company, Bothwell said, “It devastated me that a business was blatantly telling me I could not do something I was passionate about due to my deafness. This was one of many events that guided me to where I am today.” At Loyola, Bothwell worked in the community justice section of the law clinic under the supervision of Davida Finger, J.D., assistant clinical professor. She represented tenants on housing matters and worked on impact litigation cases. “It was a phenomenal experience where I applied my education to the legal process. I strongly recommend law clinic to anyone attending law school,” Bothwell said. Following graduation this December, Bothwell would love to continue to perform advocacy and legal work for people who are deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind. “Deaf legal issues happening today can range anywhere from lack of captioning available on television, at the movies and on the Internet, to businesses not accepting telephone relay calls, to special education decisions,” Bothwell said.Continue Reading »
Silent Call Communications would like to congratulate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on its 22nd Anniversary today, July 26, 2012. The ADA went into effect in 1990 to extend civil rights protection to people with disabilities. This Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the workforce, State or local government services, public transportation or accommodations, commercial facilities, and telecommunications. The ADA has been set forth to ensure that those with disabilities are provided with proper accommodations and opportunities wherever they may be within the United States. Silent Call is proud to play a part in creating tactile and visual alerting devices for those who are hard of hearing, deaf, have low vision, or are blind to live more independent and productive lives. Silent Call encourages everyone to support the ADA and work together to ensure equal access for all.Continue Reading »
Silent Call Communications would like to congratulate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on its 22nd Anniversary on July 26, 2012. The ADA went into effect in 1990 to extend civil rights protection to people with disabilities. This Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the workforce, State or local government services, public transportation or accommodations, commercial facilities, and telecommunications. The ADA has been set forth to ensure that those with disabilities are provided with proper accommodations and opportunities wherever they may be within the United States. Silent Call is proud to play a part in creating tactile and visual alerting devices for those who are hard of hearing, deaf, have low vision, or are blind to live more independent and productive lives. Silent Call encourages everyone to support the ADA and work together to ensure equal access for all.Continue Reading »