Community News - Archive

Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ Is Even Happier in Sign Language

August 21, 2014 in Community News



August 18, 2014
Article Source

Fan-made videos from around the world have brought Pharrell Williams to tears. Well, there’s been another endearing rendition of “Happy,” this one courtesy of the kids at Camp Mark Seven’s Deaf Film Camp, which offers filmmaking instruction to deaf and hard-of-hearing youths.

Yes, all the lyrics to the former No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 track translated into sign language. Pharrell must be very, very proud.

Located in upstate New York, Camp Mark Seven has brought in the likes of Rosa Lee Timmand and Azora Telford to teach deaf filmmaking. Check out the school’s profile in The Hollywood Reporter here.

This video is an ASL interpretation of Pharrell Williams’s “Happy.” An expression of music in ASL composed by Rosa Lee Timm and Azora Telford. The video was produced by a team of Deaf campers & staff from Deaf Film Camp 2014 at Camp Mark Seven.


Deaf viewers fight for on-screen movie captions

August 21, 2014 in Captioning / Relay, Community News, Technology



Democrat & Chronicle, Rochester , NY
David Riley, Staff writer
August 18, 2014

A loose-knit group of deaf and hard-of-hearing people wants movie theaters in the Rochester area to more readily provide captions on-screen if patrons ask for them.

About 40 advocates took their cause to the Regal Henrietta Stadium 18 theater earlier this month, said Dean DeRusso, a Gates resident who is deaf and participated in the protest. Many people had difficulty using special captioning glasses provided by the theater or thought the devices were uncomfortable, while others found that there were not enough for everyone to use, he said.

DeRusso said he asked theater employees to activate on-screen captions instead, but was told that only upper management could do so.

In DeRusso’s view, that means that the region’s large deaf population is not getting equal access to the theater. An estimate by the National Technical Institute for the Deafin 2012 said that more than 40,000 people who are deaf or hard of hearing live in greater Rochester — among the largest per capita populations with hearing difficulties in the U.S.

DeRusso said the theater should turn on captions for any movie when at least one deaf or hard-of-hearing person attends.

Read More . . .

Petition to have Medicare cover hearing aids under HR 3150

August 14, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Community News, Disability Law, Technology



Petition To Pass HR 3150

We need Congress to pass HR 3150 so that hearing aids are covered by Medicare.

To be delivered to The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate

We need Congress to pass HR 3150 so that hearing aids are covered by Medicare.


Hearing aids should not be the new status symbol for the rich. The right to hear is a civil or human right.

Thanks to Janice Schacter Lintz, Chair, Hearing Access Program

Job Position for Rehabilitation Counselor / Rehabilitation Counselor Trainee

August 11, 2014 in Community News, Employment



Position Information
Working Title:  Rehabilitation Counselor / Rehabilitation Counselor Trainee – RCD Role
Title:  Counselor II – 49012
Job Close Date:  Open Until Filled

Job Type Detail
Definition:   Full-Time Salaried – Non-Faculty- FTS-1  
Hiring Range:  Please see notation within job description
Agency: Virginia Dept for Aging & Rehabilitative Service (262) Agency Website:
Location:  Augusta – 015  (Staunton District) Position Number:  00389  
Job Posting Number:   0081676  

Does this position have telework options? Yes
Bilingual/Multilingual Skill Requirement/Preference:  Yes, American Sign Language

Job Description:  
The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) at the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services is currently seeking a motivated Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor RCD (Rehab Counselor for the Deaf) to provide comprehensive vocational rehabilitation services, in compliance with federal, state, and agency policy and procedures, which result in employment and enhanced independent living for persons with disabilities. Core case management services include guidance and counseling, training, physical/mental restoration, and job placement services. Caseloads consist of individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing and a general caseload of adults / students with disabilities. 

Provides case management services including guidance, counseling, training and physical/mental restoration services. Plans, develops, and implements vocationally focused service plans that identify customer goals, services and costs to help them achieve an employment outcome. Coordinates service provision to include training/vocational preparation, job placement services, job development, job seeking skills training and rehabilitation technology services. Participates in community outreach, collaborates closely with local Community Services Boards and School Districts, and serves as a liaison to other treatment providers in the community. 

The agency has the option of filling this job at the Counselor I (Trainee) level if fully qualified applicants are interviewed and not selected. The minimum salary for a Counselor I (Trainee) is $28,782. The minimum salary for a Counselor II (fully qualified) is $37,047.  This is minimum, entry level salary and may be higher based on work history.  

Minimum Qualifications Requirements:
Demonstrated knowledge of the social, economic, medical, vocational and emotional issues impacting persons with disabilities; interviewing, evaluation, and counseling techniques; methods and tools for career counseling; ADA compliance; fluency in American Sign Language; extensive knowledge and understanding of the communication, cultural and psychp-social needs of persons who are deaf and hard of hearing; working knowledge of Windows based software; and demonstrated ability to establish and maintain good working relationships with community resources and individuals from diverse environments. 

Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling or closely related field or current CRC credential are required of fully qualified Counselor II candidates. To be considered as a Counselor I (Trainee), individuals must have a Bachelor’s degree in a human services or related field and applicable work experience. An individual hired as a Counselor Trainee will be required to sign a Conditions of Employment and must enroll within six months of being hired in an academic program to obtain a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling or a closely related field. Successful candidate must pass criminal background investigation. College transcripts must accompany application and must display the date the degree (Master’s or Bachelor’s) was awarded.  

Preferred Qualifications:
Special Requirements – This is a sensitive position, and the successful candidate will be fingerprinted, and a background investigation will be conducted. 

Transcripts, copy of current CRC credential or documentation of CRC eligibility MUST accompany the application. Please note that transcripts MUST display the date that the degree was awarded.  

Special Instructions to Applicants The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services ONLY accepts and reviews FULLY completed online state applications for all employment opportunities. 

Reasonable accommodations are available to persons with disabilities during application and/or interview processes per the Americans with Disabilities Act. Contact 804-726-1919 for assistance. Minorities and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. EEO/AA/TTY. 

To learn more about the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) Certification and or eligibility requirements, please visit the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) website at:
Optional Applicant Documents Other Document Required Applicant Documents Transcript  

Contact Information: 
Name Human Resource Services
Phone 804-726-1919
Fax 804-662-7662
Address: Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services
8004 Franklin Farms Drive
Henrico, VA 23229  


ASL Instructor needed, Lord Fairfax Community College, Warrenton, VA

August 11, 2014 in Community News, Employment


Posted: 21 Jul 2014
ASL Instructor to teach class for Career Studies Certificate in American Sign Language. Part time, ongoing position, two classes each semester. Minimum qualifications are a master’s degree and ASL certification.

Edith M. Kennedy, D. A.
Associate Dean of Instruction-Fauquier
For more information email

Lord Fairfax Community College
6480 College Street
Warrenton, VA 20187-8820
(540) 351-1516


August 8, 2014 in Community News

 Senior Services of Alexandria            Animal Welfare League of Alexandria

A 2014 Speaker Series Event


Wednesday, September 10, 2014
10 a.m. -Noon
Animal Welfare League of Alexandria
4101 Eisenhower Drive, Alexandria, VA

Senior Pet Program, AniMeals on Wheels, How Pets can add Happiness to one’s Life, Process of Adopting a Pet, Keeping your Pet Healthy, Losing a Pet

Hear local experts from the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria &
Senior Services of Alexandria on these topics and more.
There will be a tour of the Shelter after the program to view pets available for adoption!

Light Refreshments will be served
This event is FREE and open to the public!

Seating is limited!
Please RSVP online at
or by calling (703) 836 4414 ext 10

The Senior Speaker Series is made possible thanks to the generosity
of Carl and Susan Behnke

To request a sign language interpreter, call 703-836-4414 ext 10

Request for Nominations – Hamilton Relay 2014 Deaf Community Leader Award.

August 7, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Community News

August 6, 2014

Dear Virginia Residents,

Hamilton Relay, the contracted service provider of Virginia CapTel, is seeking your assistance in identifying candidates for the Hamilton Relay 2014 Deaf Community Leader Award. We are looking for individuals who are deaf or deaf-blind and who have been a positive influence in Virginia, demonstrating commitment to advocacy, leadership and enhancing the lives of those around them. The award will be presented around Deaf Awareness Week in September.

Hamilton Relay Deaf Community Leader Award Recipients from previous years include:

Brenda Estes – 2013 Deaf Community Leader Award Recipient
Alice Frick – 2012 Deaf Community Leader Award Recipient
Tom Dowling – 2011 Deaf Community Leader Award Recipient

Is there someone you wish to nominate for 2014?

A questionnaire is attached to assist in providing information about your candidate, including a brief description about the individual and what this person has done that causes you to nominate him/her. Please send your nominations directly to me by August 15th via e-mail, fax or by mail. My contact information is included under my signature below.

2014_DAW _Questionnaire

Celebrating community leaders during Deaf Awareness Week is something we look forward to each year. Thank you in advance for your participation in nominating deserving individuals from your community. We are eager to learn more about the community leaders in Virginia.


Marta Cagle
Virginia CapTel Outreach Coordinator

O: 804-726-6615
C: 804-869-7419
F: 877-294-9844
1602 Rolling Hills Drive, Ste 203
Henrico, VA 23229

Survey Opportunity for VDOT guidance

August 7, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Community News, Transportation



Consumers, Colleagues, and Partners:

The Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services is assisting the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) in assessing both curb cuts in need of repair AND identifying places where curb cuts do not exist and need to be installed.

Although VDOT intends to assess across the Commonwealth, the immediate priority areas are Northern Virginia, Richmond and Tidewater.

This is a great opportunity to provide VDOT input in changing our communities and providing optimal access for all!

Please take a minute to complete yourself or to ask consumers and community members to fill out the survey linked below—please help spread the word on this.

The curb cut survey  should be accessed through the link below

Lawmaker wants trial program for deaf to serve in Air Force

August 5, 2014 in Advocacy & Access, Community News



People otherwise fit for duty would be given chance

AirForce Times
Aug. 2, 2014
By Kristin Davis  - Staff writer
Article Source

A lawmaker who advocates for the deaf is calling for a trial program that would allow a small number of hearing impaired to serve in the Air Force.

Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., introduced in the House on Wednesday legislation that would give 15 to 20 people who are deaf or hard of hearing but otherwise fit for military duty the chance to serve their country.

The Defense Department excludes from service those who are deaf, use a hearing aid or have a cochlear implant. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a DoD spokesman, said that is for good reason.

“In all areas of military life, but especially in combat, an individual’s life and the lives of his or her comrades may depend on what individuals can hear. Situations could occur where hearing impairment would not only result in injury or loss of life, but could jeopardize a unit’s mission,” he said in an email. “Individuals who are physically disqualified for military duty can and do become civilian members of the team. The work they perform for the Department and our country is valuable and rewarding but without the rigors of military duty.”

The proposed legislation is a companion to a bill introduced in the Senate in December by Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who has noted the military allows service members who acquire a disability while serving their country to remain on active duty.

Read more  . . .


CODA Pride – YouTube Video

August 5, 2014 in Community News, Families, Hearing Loss & Deafness


CODA Pride is a documentary about Children of Deaf Adults, our relationships, our experiences, and our proud bilingual community. The video was created by Rachael and Jacob Baer who are both CODA’s. 

Deaf-Parented Interpreters: We Want YOU!

August 1, 2014 in Community News, Interpreting & Transliterating



First of its kind, study of deaf-parented interpreters

If you meet these criteria, please participate in this 20-minute survey.

ASL version:

  • You have one or more deaf parents
  • You used signed language in your home while growing up
  • You identify as Deaf, Hard of Hearing, hearing, and/or Coda
  • You work as an ASL/English interpreter now OR have ever worked as an ASL/English interpreter

YOU can be a part of a study that aims to contribute to the understanding of training and educational experiences of deaf-parented interpreters.

This survey link will be available for responses until August 30th, 2014.

Principal researcher, Amy Williamson, is the daughter of deaf parents, Mary Ella Scarboro Williamson and Barney Williamson of North Carolina. Amy has worked as an ASL/English interpreter since 1990 and is conducting this research as partial fulfillment for a Masters degree in Interpreting Studies at Western Oregon University under the supervision of Pamela Cancel.

Thank you!



“My hearing loss has never held me back in music.”
Meet Eloise Garland

August 1, 2014 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



The Limping Chicken, United Kingdom
Deaf news and deaf blogs from the UK! Lays eggs every weekday
Article Source

Tell us about yourself.
I’m nineteen years old, moderately deaf, and I’m currently studying in London for a music degree.

I like anything creative and arty, and enjoy going to cultural events and exhibitions where historical artifacts are shown (very easy to get to when you live in London!).

I am also highly involved with helping to raise self esteem amongst deaf young people.

Eloise Garland

How did you cope with being deaf and progressing in music?
My hearing loss has never really held me back with my music as it’s something I love doing, though I admit that I wouldn’t be able to it without my hearing aids.

Although I play violin and piano, voice is my primary study at university. By using hearing aids and working with my singing teacher to ‘feel’ where notes are placed, I can really make the most of my hearing.

It was partly determination and partly being told I was capable of doing things by my parents and teachers that got me to where I am now, and I hope to pass that attitude and level of encouragement on to other people.

It’s important to realise that music can be made accessible to anyone as long as they’re given the right opportunities and are encouraged to have an ‘I can’ outlook on life.

You use a device to help you. Tell us what difference it makes?
Yes, I use a new system made by Phonak (a supporter of this site) called Roger. The system consists of a Roger Pen (a transmitter with a microphone which literally looks like a pen), and receivers attached to my hearing aids.

In university, for instance, a lecturer can hang the pen around their neck, and their voice will be sent directly to my hearing aids.

I can also plug it into the computer, my iPod, the TV, or connect it to my iPhone via Bluetooth so that voices or media sources are also directly streamed from the transmitter to the receivers.

I also now use another mic with the system, which is a smaller and more basic clip-on mic.

Inspirational deaf dancer Macy Baez going for hip hop gold in US

August 1, 2014 in Community News, Hearing Loss & Deafness



Illawarra Mecury, Australia

July 22, 2014
Article Source

Born profoundly deaf, Albion Park hip hop dancer Macy Baez doesn’t hear the beat of the music the same as the rest of her crew, rather she “feels the music”.

The 14-year-old is part of Crew Illagroovers, a young dance troupe that will jet off to the United States next week to represent Australia in an international hip hop competition.

Macy’s drive and talent has inspired many, including NSW Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka, who on Tuesday presented the crew from Street Beatz Hip Hop studio with a $5000 cheque to help them on their way.

“Macy is one determined little individual. It was my honour to meet her and help her get one step closer to the United States to dance,” he said. “… Macy is a great role model for all young people with disability.”

The Dapto High School student, who has bilateral Cochlear implants, said she was thrilled to be able to compete on a global stage.

The crew of seven, aged from 12 to 14, will compete in the varsity section of the World Hip Hop Championships in Las Vegas from August 4 to 10 and Macy is going for gold.

“I’m going there to win,” she said. “I’m very excited, and a bit nervous, but I love competing because it’s a lot of fun and it has a serious side too.”

Not only has Macy’s dancing improved since she started lessons six years ago, so has her hearing.

“I have to listen hard for the beat,” she said. “I feel it before I hear it.”

Popularity of Sign Language among Hearing Students

July 31, 2014 in Community News
Blog – Latest News
July 25, 2014
Article Source

Sign language is finding popularity among hearing students as a new way of communicating with each other and with their deaf friends. In some schools where it is offered as a foreign language, the demand is so heavy that they often have to turn down prospective students. According to a Modern Language Association Survey, American Sign Language ranks as the fourth most popular language almost displacing German from third place. In the past 10 years, students taking ASL has risen by more than 50 percent.

The popularity and increasing interest in sign language can be gauged from the fact that Silent Games, involving 200 colleges was held at Federal Way High School. It also involved school students and their parents, some hearing, some deaf. The participants who could not speak all evening except using sign language participated in many games and competitions.

In one school, for one day each semester, a teacher gives all her students including those who can hear a pair of earplugs to wear all day.

“The deaf have been learning the language of the hearing for the past 150 years,” says a teacher. “Now it’s time for the hearing to learn the language of the deaf.”

Ninety-one thousand students opted for an ASL class at 730 U.S. institutions during the Fall of 2009, according to the language association. This figure is expected to rise dramatically in the next survey in early 2014.

Some of the reasons for this popularity are mentioned here

  • Students see a practical use for ASL and as an education for getting  jobs of interpreting, teaching and counseling
  • Students have a difficult time sitting through entire classes all day without much movement. Sign language gives them an active and visual relief. Students are seen signing to one another outside the classroom and, in it, making sign conversations about weekends and boyfriends.

Read More

Deaf Oregonians cry foul in DHS contracting process

July 31, 2014 in Community News, Interpreting & Transliterating



Saerom Yoo,
Statesman Journal
Article Source

The Oregon Department of Human Services is in the process of hiring a company to coordinate and provide interpretive services for deaf and hard of hearing Oregonians, but the very people who are supposed to benefit from the services are saying they’ve been left out of the process.

The deaf and hard of hearing community is criticizing the state for not soliciting its input when writing the request for proposal and for choosing an out-of-state company. Signing Resources & Interpreters is negotiating a contract with state officials. Some have demanded that the state cease talks with the Vancouver, Wa., company and start over.

DOCUMENT: Signing Resources and Interpreters Redacted
DOCUMENT: Request for Proposal from DHS
DOCUMENT: RFP 3724 Scores – Redacted

For years, there was only one full-time state staffer coordinating and billing for interpretive services across the state, said Nathan Singer, deputy chief operating officer for aging and people with disabilities. But as the job became more demanding, Singer said, it became clear that a contractor was needed to help provide the services.

The program supports hearing impaired Oregonians’ ability to participate in public meetings and take advantage of state provided services. Other government agencies can also request the service from DHS.

According to the request for proposal, the Oregon Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services provides 700 to 1,100 hours of interpreter services statewide per month.

The RFP was issued in April. Seven proposals were submitted and six were scored by three DHS employees and one member of the Oregon Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Advisory Committee. DHS is now in negotiations with the top scoring proposer.

Members of Oregon’s deaf community and advocates packed a meeting room in the Oregon State Library on Wednesday afternoon for an open forum with DHS. With the help of interpreters, people asked questions and expressed their complaints.

Chad Ludwig, president of the Oregon Association of the Deaf, said through an interpreter that DHS did not seek out comments from the ODHHS advisory committee and that it invited members to help score the proposers late in the process. The state also refused to accept the committee’s input in editing the RFP, he said.

The OAD board also has concerns with Signing Resources & Interpreters, he said, because leaders of the local deaf community have never heard of the business.

Singer agreed that DHS could have done a better job engaging with the deaf community, but during the procurement process, the state takes a step back from speaking with stakeholders. The hands off approach is deliberate and used to avoid creating a perception of favoritism, he said.

Read More