March 22, 2012 Leave a comment
Next month marks my first full year with NEBA. One of the things that attracted me to this organization was their openness to serving any population. This mentality has allowed me to be of service to the deaf population in Connecticut. I am hard of hearing and am able to speak in ASL (American Sign Language). Last year Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) certified us/me in ASL so we could serve the deaf population. We currently serve four deaf clients through BRS and one through the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). I have enjoyed working with them, but we face a number of challenges and are working as a team to break through those challenges.
Here are some of the things NEBA emphasizes in working with the deaf population:
- Deaf people are able to compete in any competitive employment environment as well as anyone else.
- Any accommodations that the people we serve require are reasonable and and are of minimal or no cost. An example of an accommodation is a video phone. Any deaf person can make calls in the same manner as a hearing person, but an interpreter interprets everything that is being said by both parties in a phone conversation. There are many examples of technology that has opened up a new horizon for the deaf population.
- Communication can be difficult but it is NOT impossible. When a deaf person is hired in an environment in which no one knows their language, NEBA is able to help facilitate communication. This usually does not take too much time.
NEBA and I both take pride in being able to serve the deaf population in the employment world and make a positive impact. We want to do all we can to ‘bridge the gap’ between the beautiful deaf world, its unique culture and language, and the hearing world. We hope to recount some great success stories in the coming weeks and months!