Community News - Archive

Help Wanted: female household assistant most weekends

July 2, 2015 in Community News



Help wanted: Female seeking female household assistant most weekends for help with driving, light houswork and ocooking.  Must be a confident driver with basic knowledge of northern virginia, DC and suburban MD roads.  No smoking or illegal drugs.  Knowledge of sign language preferred.  If interersted send a resume dealing education and work history and current address, phone/videophone number, email and text number to:

The ASL-Interpreted Performance of The BFG (The Big Friendly Giant) – July 18th

July 2, 2015 in Community News



The ASL-Interpreted Performance of
The BFG (The Big Friendly Giant) is  Saturday, July 18 at 2:00 p.m.
at The National Children’s Theatre!

Join us at The National Children’s Theatre for this special performance of The BFG!

ASL Interpreters: Krystin Balzarini Douds and  Dana Mittelman

Nominated for eleven Helen Hayes awards; winner of two (Outstanding Set Design, Hayes Production and Outstanding Production, Theatre for Young Audiences)! 

The BFG is the world’s only friendly giant. He operates in the strictest of secrecy to bring good dreams to the human world, while his nasty counterparts steal and have the despicable habit of eating children. Upon meeting little orphan Sophie through her window, he whisks her away to his home in Giant Country. Together they embark on an adventure to Buckingham Palace to get help from the Queen and save the children from the other giants. 

To purchase ASL tickets, please e-mail The National Theatre box office at, or call 202-628-6161 x242. The box office is open
12 p.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Friday.

What Did You Say? FDA Plans Study on How Hearing Loss Affects Drug Ad Understanding

June 26, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



Regulatory Affairs Professional Society
By Alexander Gaffney, RAC
June 24, 2015


The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it is planning a new study to assess whether older Americans are able to adequately hear all of the risks presented in televised pharmaceutical advertising.


The study, announced in a 24 June 2015 posting in the Federal Register, is somewhat similar to other direct-to-consumer (DTC) drug advertising studies proposed by FDA in the last few years, including studies on how adolescents understand risk in drug advertising and how one’s spouse might affect one’s understanding of drug risks and benefits.

As FDA explains in its Federal Register notice, the elderly often find themselves in a difficult situation: At a time when they are often taking an increasing number of prescription pharmaceutical products to counteract the effects of aging, their ability to understand the benefits and risks presented by those products is often diminished.

Read More  . . .  Drug Ad 

Eargo looks to reinvent the hearing aid

June 25, 2015 in Community News


Maveron-backed Eargo looks to reinvent the hearing aid with rechargeable devices modeled on a fishing fly

Geek Wire

Eargo, a Maveron-backed hearing-aid company that’s operated secretly for the past three years, today is launching a new line of hearing devices designed for the tens of millions of Americans that suffer from mild hearing loss.

The hearing devices, which include a patented Flexi Fiber technology and are modeled on a fishing fly, are nearly invisible when placed in the ear canal. They also are designed to provide users with more comfort and a better fit to the ear.

The Silicon Valley company started in 2010 and raised a small seed investment from Seattle-based Maveron in 2013. Since then, the company has raised $13.6 million from Maveron, Dolby Family Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Birchmere Ventures, Montage Ventures, Peterson Ventures, Red Sea Ventures and others.

Read More . . . fishing fly


Signs & Sounds – Summer Children Sign Language Groups

June 25, 2015 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness


Sessions available!

  • Age Groups: 7-10 & 11-14
  • Weekly 45-minute
    • theme based lessons
    • on Wednesdays
  • Hands on activities & group practice
  • Where: Northern Virginia Resource Center (NVRC) Pender Drive, Fairfax, VA
  • Registration, instructor bio, and information available
  • No binding contract commitment
  • Cost $25.00 per session

DOWNLOAD – Signs and Sounds LLC Summer 2015 Childrens ASL Groups Flyer





Affordable Colleges Online – Guide for visually impaired students

June 25, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Community News


New resource for students with visual impairments

New guide to show how today’s colleges and universities are improving their technology and resources to help students with visual disabilities earn degrees. The new guide also provides a list of online technology and literary resources students with impairments can use on their own to get ahead. Other key elements include:

– A breakdown of technologies central to visually impaired learning
– College success tips for students with visual impairments
– A detailed look at accommodations colleges are making for fully and partially blind students
– A print screen option
– Full JAWS compatibility

Two experts contributed to the development of this guide, including Chris Danielson, Director of Public Relations for the National Federation of the Blind, and Marcus Madsen, Senior Disability Services Advisor at Capella University.

You can check out the no-cost guide here




Australia’s Ad Standards Board rules ad saying ‘Hearing aids can be UGLY’ is discriminatory

June 23, 2015 in Community News



mUmBRELLA (Australia)
June 19th, 2015 
by Miranda Ward

The Ad Standards Board has banned a controversial Victorian Hearing campaign which described hearing aids as “ugly” along with an image in which the hearing device was replaced with a prawn.Victorian-Hearing-234x333

Victorian Hearing apologised for the campaign at the end of last month after people took to the page’s Facebook page to express their anger, with one poster saying: “I don’t really love my hearing aids, but I accept that with the severity of my hearing loss, I’m stuck with them. To see them referred to as ugly though — that’s just really unhelpful.”

The ad, which was running online, on social media and across transport, was removed following the apology.

Complaints against the ad argued it was “utterly offensive” to use the word ugly to describe hearing aids.

“The visual image of a prawn plays into stigmatisation of a group that may have no option to but to wear hearing aids. It is not ok to mock someone’s disability or encourage the general community to perpetuate the myth that hearing aids somehow make you ugly,” a complaint read.


Read More . . . Hearing Aid Ad

Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week

June 23, 2015 in Community News

Communities Digital News

SAN DIEGO, June 23, 2015 — Helen Keller was a deaf-blind American woman whose courageous journey began on June 27, 1880, and who continued to inspire the world until her death at the age of 87.

Born with normal hearing and sight, at 19 months she suffered an illness of “acute congestion of the stomach and brain” that was believed to have been the cause of her lifelong deafness and blindness, according to Wikipedia.

The exact nature of her illness is not known, though it has been speculated that she suffered from a form of meningitis or possibly scarlet fever.

Keller was brilliantly portrayed by Patty Duke in the Oscar award-winning 1962 movie “The Miracle Worker,” which helped showcase her struggles and triumphs to an international audience.

Despite her incomparable struggle to become relevant in the world with which she could not communicate, Keller later triumphed over seemingly insurmountable adversity, becoming a well-known author, activist, lecturer and world traveler–also having earned a bachelor of arts degree from Radcliffe College.
Read more  . . . .Helen Keller

#ShowYourAids Social Media Campaign Explodes Across the World

June 23, 2015 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness


#ShowYourAids Social Media Campaign Explodes Across the World and the HOH/Deaf Make a Stand


SAN ANTONIO, June 23, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Emma Rudkin knows from experience how tough it can be for a young person to have to wear hearing aids.

Photos accompanying this release are available at:

That’s exactly why this year’s Miss San Antonio started the #ShowYourAids social media movement earlier this month, inviting fellow members of the deaf community to share pictures of their hearing aids.

“I started getting a lot of emails and text messages from high school and middle school students saying that they were being bullied, that they didn’t want to wear their hearing aids, that they were ashamed of having the stigma of being deaf and the physical things that came along with that,” Rudkin said.

“So, the idea behind #ShowYourAids,” she continued, “was to create a movement where the deaf community can be proud, and they can realize that being different is the most beautiful thing about them.”

 Read more …Social Media 

Implants, signing let deaf kids be bilingual, experts say

June 16, 2015 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



Fox News
June 16, 2015

Parents of deaf children face a critical responsibility to learn and use sign language, according to a majority of hearing experts quoted in the journal Pediatrics, although the question of whether or not to sign has grown increasingly controversial.

Ten thousand infants are born yearly in the U.S. with sensorineural deafness, and data suggest that half receive cochlear implants, small devices that help provide a sense of sound to profoundly deaf individuals.

While some specialists advise that all deaf children, with or without cochlear implants, learn sign language, others fear that learning sign language will interfere with the demanding rehabilitation needed to maximize the cochlear device. Still others worry that asking parents to learn a new language quickly is too burdensome.

Read More  . . .  Sign language

AFI Silver Theatre Screens Award Winning Film, The Tribe – June 22

June 16, 2015 in Community News


Screening on, June 22, AFI will screen Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s 2014 Cannes Film Festival multi-award winning film, THE TRIBE.

The film unfolds through the non-verbal acting and sign language from a cast of deaf, non-professional actors, with no subtitles or voiceover. THE TRIBE follows Sergey, a new student at a boarding school who immediately realizes that he must prove himself to the schools lead gang.

A Q&A with the filmmaker will follow the screening.

The screening will take place at AFI Silver Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at  If you have additional questions or would like to bring a group to this screening, please email my supervisor, Tiffany Graham-Golden at


REI Network News | June 2015 – Issue 17

June 16, 2015 in Community News



Social Security Administration Highlights Negative Effects of Proposed Budget Cuts

For the first time since 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed a Budget Resolution. Unfortunately, for scores of working families, people with disabilities, seniors and the working poor, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Budget will only cause further economic insecurity and financial worry. Especially troubling is the proposed FY2016 budget level for the Social Security Administration (SSA). Learn more about SSA’s FY2016 Budget outlook by reading our recent SSA budget synopsis.

Resources for Real Economic Impact

Public Benefits and Work Supports

Compassionate Allowances Offer Quick Access to Disability Benefits

Did you know the Social Security Administration (SSA) can help certain individuals access benefits more quickly if they have a disability which would obviously meet the standard for SSA disability benefits? Compassionate Allowances (CAL) are a way of quickly identifying diseases and other medical conditions that invariably qualify under the Listing of Impairments. Learn more about Compassionate Allowances.


Kessler Foundation Releases National Employment and Disability Survey

The Kessler Foundation, in partnership with the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability, conducted a national survey on employment issues for working age adults with disabilities. The primary purpose of the survey was to understand the mechanisms by which individuals with disabilities strive to work and the challenges they face in doing so. Among the many findings, most notably, the Survey found that more than two-thirds of all people with disabilities are “striving to work.”

Taxes and Tax Preparation

Use the IRS Withholding Calculator

Summer is here, and we are already halfway through the year. This means it is only six more months until tax season begins again. Are you an employee with taxes being withheld? If so, do you know where you stand with the IRS; are you withholding too much or too little? Use the IRS Withholding Calculator to help determine an appropriate tax-withholding rate. The IRS website also provides instructions on how to make changes to your federal income tax withholding.

Financial Education

Financial Workshop Kits Now Available

National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) has created financial workshop kits that provide the tools and resources needed to deliver financial education information to underserved audiences, including individuals with disabilities. Financial workshop kits provide a level of focus and specialization that providers can use to be more comfortable, more efficient and more effective in delivering financial education to their clients. The kits include workshops, tools and other valuable resources to empower more people to make the best financial decisions for their particular circumstance.

Asset Development

Reliable Transportation

Finding a reliable vehicle is important for many people, making it possible for them to maintain employment and keep connected within their community. Vehicles, including modified vehicles, are a big ticket purchase item that need special consideration. For a wealth of information regarding reliability ratings of both new and used vehicles, Consumer Reports is a good place to start. In addition, taking steps to improve your credit score, staying within your budget and doing your homework on the most economic vehicle that’s a good fit your lifestyle ensures you achieve your goal while saving money. For information on Alternative Financing Programs for vehicle modification, visit

Public Policy

Public Policy Recap

Since the ABLE Act was signed into law last December, more than half of all states have adopted state legislation to develop and make ABLE accounts available for qualifying individuals with disabilities. For more information on the ABLE Act, please view NDI’s recent presentation at the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) Conference.

In other news, during a Florida State Legislature session, members introduced legislation to develop a state-funded program aimed at increasing financial literacy among Floridians with developmental disabilities. Unfortunately, the bill failed to be acted on prior to the adjournment of the Florida State Legislature. However, the bill’s language serves as an excellent model for introducing similar legislation in other states. Read an analysis of the bill.

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Issue 17 – June 2015

In This Issue

Social Security Administration Highlights Negative Effects of Proposed Budget Cuts

Benefits: Compassionate Allowances Offer Quick Access to Disability Benefits

Employment: Kessler Foundation Releases National Employment and Disability Survey

Tax Preparation: Use the IRS Withholding Calculator 

Financial Education: Financial Workshop Kits Now Available

Asset Development: Reliable Transportation

Public Policy: Public Policy Recap

Program Spotlight: ROADS to Financial Independence

Upcoming Events

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Program Spotlight

ROADS to Financial Independence

ROADS to Financial Independence is an initiative of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which is managed through a contract with the National Disability Institute (NDI). This first-of-its-kind national initiative is aimed at improving the financial well-being and economic security of individuals with disabilities who are currently working or transitioning into the workforce. The ROADS initiative integrates financial counseling with employment, independent living and other support services that are being provided to individuals with disabilities. Individuals participating in the initiative have the opportunity to work with financial counselors who provide tailored information and tools to help consumers make better informed decisions for themselves and their families, establish personal financial goals and implement strategies to achieve them. The initiative will operate in six communities: Austin, Texas; Birmingham, Alabama; Seattle, Washington; Finger Lakes, New York; throughout the state of Delaware; and the Greater Washington DC Metro area. To learn more about the ROADS initiative,read the ROADS launch press release.


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Upcoming Events

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Obituary for Micah J. Shannon

June 16, 2015 in Community News




Born on 4/8/1990

Departed on 6/6/2015

Resided in Woodbridge, Virginia

Micah James Shannon, 25, of Woodbridge, passed away Saturday, June 6, 2015, at Mary Washington Hospital.

Micah was a 2008 graduate of Brooke Point High School. He was CODA (child of deaf adults) and worked as a waiter. Micah was a creative young man who enjoyed writing and singing songs, dancing, acting, making videos and most of all making people laugh.

Survivors include his parents, James and Angela Shannon; his brother, Trevor James Shannon; his paternal grandmother, Cora King Shannon; maternal grandmother, Patricia Ann Gaines Smith; four aunts, four uncles, several cousins.

A service will be held at 3:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 17, at Covenant Funeral Service, Stafford.  Burial will be private.



Arva Priola

Needed: TTY users or family/friends of TTY users

June 15, 2015 in Community News, Research, Technology



The Technology Access Program (TAP) at Gallaudet University is looking for individuals to participate in a study that will allow TTY users to communicate with friends and family members who do not use TTYs.  The study will last for up to 8 weeks, with participants making at least one call per week.

Participants who do not have TTYs will be given software to use to call their friends and family members who have TTYs, and each other.  Participants will be instructed how to use the software, and will be contacted periodically by TAP staff to answer any questions you may have.  At the end of the study, you will be interviewed about your experiences by TAP staff.

If you are interested in participating, or have questions about the study, please contact Paula Tucker by email at, or by phone (voice or TTY) at 202-651-5049. To call using VP, contact Christian Vogler at 202-250-2795.


Atlanta Braves draft deaf All-State catcher from Charles Henderson

June 12, 2015 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness
By Mark Inabinett
June 11, 2015

The Atlanta Braves selected Charles Henderson High School catcher Chase Smartt in the 35thround of Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday.

Smartt, who is deaf, was named the Class 5A Hitter and Player of the Year for the 2015 season by the Alabama Sports Writers Association and was selected for’s Super All-State Baseball Team.

After helping Charles Henderson win state championships in 2013 and 2014, Smartt hit .523 with seven homers, 50 RBIs and 54 runs while striking out only four times as a senior.

Read more  . . . Charles Henderson

Related: Chase Smartt overcomes deafness, emerges as one of state’s best baseball players.