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Overview

As increasing numbers of people who are deaf or hard of hearing seek education and employment, Job Corps staff will need to become familiar with how to provide this population access to the program. This guidance will provide:

  • Outreach and admissions (OA) and center staff with information on the accommodation process for applicants and students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Information on common accommodations.
  • Resource information.
  • Frequently asked questions.

In planning for the provision of support services, staff must focus upon the individual's communication style or language. This style or language will have been determined by variables such as age at onset of hearing loss, configuration of hearing, age when training began, type of training provided, and language and cultural background of the individual's family.

Accommodation Process

Applicants/students who are deaf or hard of hearing may need reasonable accommodation to participate in the admissions process and/or Job Corps program. The process for providing reasonable accommodation should follow the Job Corps reasonable accommodation process.

This section of the guidance discusses particular considerations in the accommodation process for applicants/students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

OA Considerations

Accommodations for the Interview

If the applicant will need accommodation to participate in the admissions process, the outreach and admissions counselor (AC) will need to arrange for and provide appropriate accommodations. Prior to the interview, the AC needs to determine the applicant's specific accommodation needs. If the applicant does not disclose until the interview and appropriate accommodations can, therefore, not be arranged, the interview can be rescheduled.

Information Gathering

The interview form is not mandatory but can be used to obtain pertinent information from applicants/students who are deaf or hard of hearing and may need accommodations to participate in the program. This form should be completed during the admissions process and forwarded to the center Disability Coordinator (DC) who will engage the applicant in an interactive process to determine accommodation needs.

Reasonable Accommodation Committee Considerations

All files that contain information indicating an applicant may be deaf or hard of hearing should be forwarded to the Disability Coordinator for review and reasonable accommodation consideration. The Disability Coordinator will need to do the following:

  • Check to see if the file contains the interview form and review this form. If the file does not contain the interview form, contact the applicant to obtain this information. If the student discloses after arrival on center, the Disability Coordinator can complete the form with the student.
  • Obtain/review any support documentation (e.g., the IEP will assist in identifying accommodations that have been previously provided in classroom instructions).
  • Arrange a meeting (in person or by phone) to discuss accommodations. Ensure that appropriate communication accommodations are in place for the meeting.

It is extremely important for the Disability Coordinator and reasonable accommodation committee members to have an understanding of cultural differences when working with students who have hearing impairments. Allowing the student to discuss their cultural history and/or reviewing the audiologist documents will assist in this understanding.

Reasonable Accommodation Committee Meeting

The purpose of the reasonable accommodation committee meeting is to determine what accommodations will be necessary for the student and to develop the accommodations plan that will be in place at the time of arrival on center. A sample accommodation plan is available that identifies common accommodations for deaf or hard of hearing students. The Disability Coordinator may use this plan to discuss the individualized needs of this applicant. It is important that the Disability Coordinator become familiar with the specific accommodations listed in order to review them with the student.

When developing an accommodation plan, consider accommodations for the following areas:

If you determine during the accommodation process that the student may need a sign language interpreter as an accommodation, see the interpreting services section for more information.

The Disability Coordinator is also encouraged to arrange disability sensitivity training for the staff and students as soon as possible. Resources can be found by contacting the local Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and/or your community Deaf Association.

The Disability Coordinator can also investigate the location of schools for the deaf within the community to determine if co-enrollment is an option. It will be important to understand the specific classes that are offered in this school to see if the goals of the Job Corps student can be met through co-enrollment. A directory of deaf schools is available at the DeafConnect.com website.

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Possible Accommodations

This section will describe possible accommodations that can be considered for the student during their enrollment into the program. It is important to discuss with the student what they have used in the past and have that be the starting point for the initial accommodation plan. As the student progresses in the program or if the initial accommodations are not effective, there are other accommodations that can be implemented and then evaluated for effectiveness. Job Accommodation Network (JAN) will be an excellent resource to also refer to when determining other accommodations that may need to be implemented.

Alerting Devices

Alerting devices often indicate the presence of certain sounds in the environment through three primary methods: louder or more audible (low frequency, alternating) tones, light flashes, or vibration. Examples of sounds that are often signaled include telephone rings, doorbells, door knock, smoke alarms, weather radio warnings and security alarms. Some devices, such as a vibrating watch or vibrating alarm clock, do not use sound. Other types of alerting devices include vibrating alarm clocks, vibrating pagers, and hearing dogs.

In general, all alerting needs in a student's dormitory room or workplace should be evaluated as a whole, rather than addressing one alerting need at a time. Rather than choose a stand-alone device that addresses only one need when there may still be other unaddressed alerting needs, it may be more effective to design an integrated alerting system that addresses all of the student's alerting needs. For example a vibrating pager can be used as a communication device, but can also be used to alert the student during an emergency. Note: There should always be more than one way to alert a student who is deaf to an emergency situation and staff are ultimately responsible for ensuring the student's safety.

Resources: Harris Communications, HearMore.com

Communication Devices

Communication accommodations will range from low tech to more sophisticated technology that can be used for the student who is hard of hearing or deaf.

Low Tech Communication Accommodations

Low-tech communication accommodations can be easily made available to the student that can facilitate information between the hard of hearing or deaf student and one other person. The low-tech communication accommodations cannot be an effective communication accommodation for a classroom situation. The following are examples of low-tech communication accommodations:

  • Dry erase board
  • Notetakers
  • Pen/pencil and paper
Assistive Listening Devices

An assistive listening device (ALD) is any type of device that can help the hard of hearing function better in day-to-day communication situations. An ALD can be used with or without hearing aids to overcome the negative effects of distance, background noise, or poor room acoustics. So even though a person may have a hearing aid, ALDs can offer greater ease of hearing (and therefore reduced stress and fatigue) in many day-to-day communication situations.

The three major types of ALDs include:

  • Personal frequency modulation (FM) systems are like miniature radio stations operating on special frequencies assigned by the Federal Communications Commission. The personal FM system consists of a transmitter microphone used by the speaker and a receiver used by the listener. The receiver transmits the sound to a hearing aid either through direct audio input or through a looped cord worn around the neck. Personal FM systems are useful in a variety of situations including the classroom environment.
    FM systems are also used in theaters, places of worship, museums, public meeting places, corporate conference rooms, convention centers, and other large areas for gathering. In this situation, the microphone/transmitter is built into the overall sound system. The user is provided with an FM receiver that can connect to a hearing aid (or to a headset if the person does not wear a hearing aid).
    Resources: Comtek Communications Technology, Harris Communications, HearMore.com
  • Infrared systems are often used in the home with TV sets; but, like the FM system, they can also be used in large settings like theaters.
    Sound is transmitted using infrared light waves. The TV is set at a volume comfortable for family members. The infrared system transmitter transmits the TV signal to a receiver, which can be adjusted to the desired volume. Thus, TV watching as a family becomes pleasurable for all.
    Resources: Comtek Communications Technology, Harris Communications
  • Induction Loop systems are most common in large group areas. They can also be purchased for individual use.
    An induction loop wire is permanently installed (perhaps under a carpet) and connects to a microphone used by a speaker. (In the case of individual systems, a wire loop is laid on the floor around the user and the speaker.) The person talking into the microphone creates a current in the wire which makes an electromagnetic field in the room. When the user switches his/her hearing aid to the "T" (telecoil/telephone) setting, the hearing aid telecoil picks up the electromagnetic signal. The volume can be adjusted through the hearing aid.
    Resources: Comtek Communications Technology, Harris Communications, HearMore.com
Other Communication Devices
  • C-Print is a speech-to-text system developed at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), a college of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). C-Print uses special software which uses an abbreviation system and/or automatic voice recognition (ASR) to produce near instantaneous text. C-Print is rarely as accurate as Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) and it is typically more accurate and quicker than Computer-Assisted Note Taking (CAN).
    Resources: C-Print
  • Closed Captioning is mandated by the Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990. Since July 1993, all televisions manufactured for sale in the U.S. must contain a built-in caption decoder if the picture tube is 13 inches or larger. Closed captions on television programs most often have a black background and white text, although different combination are possible and utilized on some programs.
  • Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is the verbatim, near instantaneous conversion of spoken language into text. A stenotype machine, notebook computer and realtime software is used to produce the text. The text is usually displayed by either on a screen by a projector connected to the notebook computer, or on a notebook computer or computer monitor. CART offers word for word translation and is provided by a professional who is skilled and trained in using the stenographic equipment. CART services must be scheduled in advance, so such an accommodation would generally need to be requested or planned ahead of time. CART is usually utilized by students with hearing loss who use spoken language (English) as a primary mode of communication. This service usually costs $100.00/hour for professional services. CART services can be provided from remote locations through a telephone line.
    Resources: Accommodating Ideas, Inc., JAN's CART Services
  • Computer-Assisted Note Taking (CAN) is a method of providing notes for people with hearing loss during a meeting using the services of a typist who uses a normal keyboard. Unlike CART, which can provide instant transcription (sometimes more than 225 words a minute), CAN does not usually come close to verbatim when presenting the text. There are some professional CAN operators who are fast typists and use special software and pre-trained codes to enhance their note taking speed. An advantage of CAN over CART is that it may be less expensive depending on travel time of the CAN operator and the equipment available. CAN services can be provided from remote locations through a telephone line.
    Resources: JAN's CART Services
  • Gus! Pocket Communicator is a hand-held communication device that allows a person who is deaf to communicate with others using a screen and/or keyboard with voice output.
    Resources: EnableMart
  • iCommunicator is a tool that provides a multisensory, interactive communication solution for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and other persons who experience unique communication challenges. The National Office has purchased the iCommunicator software program (and a laptop) that can be loaned at no cost to centers to provide as an accommodation for students who may benefit from its use. The center must involve the applicant/student in discussions about the use of the iCommunicator as an accommodation.
    It is important to remember that the iCommunicator only offers English Sign Language and not (ASL) American Sign Language. The Disability Coordinator must ask the applicant/student if he/she understands English Sign Language. If ASL is the only sign language understood, then the iCommunicator will not be an effective accommodation. If you have an applicant or student that may benefit from iCommunicator, contact Michelle Day or Carol Abnathy for information on how to obtain the software.
    Resources: iCommunicator
  • TypeWell is a similar system to C-Print. It also uses abbreviation software. Like C-Print, it is not quite as accurate as CART and is typically less expensive than CART. Instead of providing a verbatim transcription, both TypeWell and C-Print operators sometimes condense information, and put more emphasis on conveying the meaning rather that conveying what is said verbatim.
    CAN, C-Print and TypeWell generally cost between ten and sixty dollars an hour. Considerations such as time needed, experience of operator, equipment used and travel expenses should be considered in final cost.
    Resources: TypeWell
  • UbiDuo Face to Face Communicator is a portable, wireless, battery-powered, stand-alone communication device that enables deaf/hard of hearing people to communicate instantly with anyone face to face without a third party.
    Resources: UbiDuo Face to Face Communicator

Telephone Devices

  • CaptionCall - Similar to captioned television, uses voice recognition technology and a transcription service to quickly provide written captions of what callers say on a large, easy-to-read screen. It works like a regular telephone, simply dial and answer calls as usual, speak and listen using a phone headset like always. The captioning service is free. Captioning is provided by CaptionCall and paid through a fund administered by the Federal Communications Commission. The telephone is free by submitting a Professional Certification Form signed by a qualified professional stating the need for the service. In some cases, CaptionCall may charge $75.00 for the phone if the supporting documentation is not available.
    Resources: http://www.captioncall.com
  • An amplified landline phone made for people with hearing loss is usually the size of a typical office phone. These phones provide a significant amount of amplification. FCC regulations require all amplified telephones to revert to normal volume each time it is used.
    Resources: HearMore.com
  • One-to-one communicators. Sometimes in a restaurant or riding in a car, a person may want to be able to easily hear one person. The user can give the person a microphone to speak into. The sound is amplified and delivered directly into a hearing aid (or headset if the user does not have a hearing aid). When using the one-to-one communicator, the speaker does not have to shout, and private conversations can remain private.
  • An inline amplifier is a small, often box-like device with a volume control. It is attached by a cord to the telephone; the telephone handset cord is plugged into the receiver for amplification. The usual cost is $50.00 and is powered by AA batteries of an AC adaptor.
    Resources: Harris Communications, HearMore.com
  • Captioned Telephone (CapTel) works like any other telephone except it displays every word the caller says throughout the conversation. For incoming calls, the other party must first call the relay through an 800 number and then give the communication assistant the number of the person they are calling. The communication assistant repeats all of the words spoken by the non-Cap Tel user into a speech recognition program and the text appears on a screen on the computer.
    Resources: CapTel
  • IP Relay is a service that will allow any person with hearing loss to use the phone with the help of an operator using their personal computer. This method has become popular and has replaced traditional devices such as the TTY/TDD.
    Resources: IP-Relay.com, Sorenson IP Relay, Hamilton Internet Relay
  • TTY/TDD is one phone used by people who are hard of hearing or deaf. It is a teletypewriter with a keyboard and screen.
    Resources: Harris Communications, HearMore.com
  • Video Relay Service (VRS) enables deaf and hard of hearing individuals to conduct video relay calls with family, friends, and business associates through a certified sign language interpreter. The deaf person sees an interpreter on their TV and signs to the interpreter, who then contacts the hearing user via a standard phone line and relays the conversation between the two parties.
    Resources: Communication Access Center, Sorenson VRS
  • Voice Carry Over (VCO) allows deaf or hard-of-hearing users to call and speak directly to hearing people. When a standard telephone user speaks to you, a communication assistant serves as your "ears" and types everything said to your TTY or VCO phone.
    Resources: HearMore.com, Purple VRS

Interpreting Services

  • Video Remote Interpreting Services (VRI) uses video conferencing technology to enable deaf and hearing individuals that are in the same room to communicate via a live remote interpreter. The service can be used on-demand virtually anywhere with high-speed internet and video conferencing equipment.
    Resources: Birnbaum Interpreting Services, Communication Access Center VRI
  • Some students who are deaf or hard of hearing may require a Sign Language Interpreter as an accommodation. To determine whether a sign language interpreter is necessary, the Disability Coordinator will need to do the following:
    • Ask the applicant if sign language is their primary communication language when involved in a two-way conversation. If yes, then determine what part during the training day the need for sign language interpreter would be necessary.
    • To locate a sign language interpreter, go to Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and also contact your community association for the blind and deaf for assistance. This sample sign language interpreter contract can be used to develop an agreement with a sign language interpreter and the center.
    • To request accommodation funds for a sign language interpreter, the Disability Coordinator will need to estimate the hours that will be required for the interpreter. The Disability Coordinator will also need to list the other resources researched to assist in the accommodation funds. The request is then signed by the Center Director and forwarded to the center's Regional Program Manager. Review and complete the Job Corps Reasonable Accommodation Funding Request Form included in PRH Appendix 605.
    • Investigate the Department of Rehabilitative Services within the community to discuss how the Job Corps program can collaboratively work together on providing interpreter services. It is important to take the Job Corps and Department of Rehabilitative Services cooperative agreement in order to establish a preliminary working relationship.
    • Some consideration that will assist in providing interpreting accommodation will be the use of the iCommunicator and Video Remote Interpreting as an alternative to sign language interpretation.
    • Please remember that during times that an interpreter is not available, other communication devices can be implemented as well.
    The applicant should not enter the Job Corps program until the accommodation plan is mutually agreed upon by the reasonable accommodation committee and the applicant. To have a student, with a need for a sign language interpreter, arrive on center without an interpreter in place puts the hard of hearing/deaf student in a very difficult situation. To insure that this process is completed in a timely manner, it would be prudent for all Disability Coordinators to begin immediately investigating a number of resources.

Classroom Accommodations

It is well documented that a student's academic achievement depends on the student's ability to hear. Information on instruction strategies to support students who are deaf or hard of hearing is available.

Possible Residential Living Accommodations

The biggest challenges for a residential student who is deaf or hard of hearing are communication and safety. There are a wide variety of assistive technologies that are available for a student that is deaf or hard of hearing as they prepare to reside on center. Some of these accommodations include:

Vibrating alarm clocks with bed shaker and lamp shaker provides alarm notifications by means of a lamp flasher connection, buzzer, or bed shaker.

Fire alarm transmitters can be wired to a building's fire system so that when the fire alarm is activated the strob receiver will flash to alert the student of the fire alarm, smoke, and carbon monoxide. A pillow vibrator or bed shaker can also be connected to the system to alert the student of an emergency if they are asleep.

A doorbell with a flashing strobe light can be installed which can be used to alert the student that someone is knocking on the door.

There are various other communication devices, assistive listening devices and telephone devices that should be considered for deaf or hard of hearing student residing on center. Remember that not all students that are deaf or hard of hearing communicate the same way. Ask the student how they prefer to communicate as their communication preferences may change depending on the situation.

Tips for Residential Staff Communicating with Deaf/Hard of Hearing Students

  • Maintain eye contact – get the student's attention before you begin speaking and look directly at the person when you are speaking
  • Use body language and facial expressions
  • Ensure effective communication for dormitory meetings (e.g., sign language interpreter, assistive listening devices, whatever is appropriate based on the student's accommodation plan).
  • Have the "closed captioning" turned on in areas where there are televisions.
  • Write down words if the student is experiencing difficulty with understanding what you are speaking.
  • Ensure you provide feedback to the center's reasonable accommodation committee if you feel the student may need adjustments to his/her accommodation plan.

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Resources

Interpreting Services

  • Accommodating Ideas, Inc. provides sign language interpreting services on a fee for service basis.
  • Birnbaum Interpreting Services (BIS) is a deaf-owned and operated company offering sign language interpreting services for government, healthcare, legal, religious, business and entertainment environments.
  • Communication Access Center (CAC) is a non-profit agency that provides services that bridge the communication, cultural, and environmental barriers to the deaf and hard of hearing since 1965.
  • Hands on Video Relay Services (HOVRS) allows the deaf and hard of hearing community to communicate effectively and naturally with the hearing world through American Sign Language. HOVRS uses the internet to provide an audio/video link to a qualified, certified video interpreter who interprets between the visual language of ASL and the auditory language of a hearing person.
  • IPRelay.com is the first service to offer deaf and hard of hearing persons the ability to place calls over the internet.
  • UbiDuo Face to Face Communicator is a portable, wireless, battery-powered, stand-alone communication device that enables deaf/hard of hearing people to communicate instantly with anyone face to face without a third party.

Organizations

  • Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing emphasizes the use of technology, speech, speech reading, residual hearing, and written and spoken language. Focuses specifically on children with hearing loss, providing ongoing support and advocacy for parents, professionals, and other interested parties.
  • American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA) is an individual membership organization of more than 1,000 ASL and Deaf Studies educators from elementary through graduate education as well as agencies.
  • Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is a nonprofit, educational organization that implements national public information programs on hearing loss and available medical, surgical, hearing aid, and rehabilitation assistance for millions with uncorrected hearing problems. BHI maintains a toll-free Hearing HelpLine telephone service that provides information on hearing loss and hearing help.
  • Hear Now is a national program that provides assistance to individuals and families with limited financial resources. Hear Now maintains the National Hearing Aid Bank, which provides new and reconditioned hearing aids to deaf and hard of hearing people who cannot afford them. These hearing aids are distributed through hearing health care providers in communities nationwide. Hear Now also has a Cochlear Implant Program that raises funds to provide cochlear implants and related services to both adults and children. In addition, Hear Now has developed the National Hearing Assistance Directory (NHAD), which provides state-by state listings of financial and social resources offered through government agencies and private organizations.
  • The National Association of the Deaf promotes, protects, and preserves the rights and quality of life of deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America.
  • The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf is a national membership organization of professionals who provide sign language interpreting/transliterating services for Deaf and hard of hearing persons.

Retail Outlets

Training

  • The Gallaudet University Regional Centers (GURC) offer extension courses, training workshops, and technical assistance to address the educational, transition, and professional development needs of deaf and hard of hearing people from birth through adulthood. For information on GURC locations, visit the GURC website. The Disability Coordinator should investigate a partnership/co-enrollment of the student to this regional center.
  • Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a free consulting service that provides information about job accommodations, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the employability of people with disabilities.

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