Transcript: Hi My name is Liz Hill, President of PSAD. For this month’s vlog, want to share with you a few things. First, I had the opportunity to attend the NAD’s National Leadership Training Conference (NLTC) from October 5-7 in Oklahoma City. It was a wonderful experience to meet other state association presidents – to share ideas and strategies on how to improve and grow our state associations. The workshops were really good and included information on mental health, education advocacy, VRI, microaggressions. Everyone is encouraged to attend in two years to increase your knowledge base, meet and network with people, and improve your leadership skills! The next NLTC will be, I believe, in Arkansas, so please consider attending!
Good news! The U.S. Congress recently passed the Early Hearing and Detection Intervention (EHDI) reauthorization. President Trump signed it into law. The NAD proposed several amendments to improve programs and services for deaf and hard of hearing infants and their families. Some of the amendments include: recognition of both oral and visual modalities, which includes American Sign Language (ASL), and language acquisition services and assessments as the baby grows up. Language acquisition services will include “deaf consumer support.” Most of you are probably more familiar with “deaf mentors”. The law chose to use a broad term “deaf consumer” as it seems that states have different terms for mentors and chose to encompass all. Deaf mentors are so important for families that are new with their deaf and hard of hearing infants. Deaf mentors help them visualize a future as a deaf adult, how to be successful, what it is like to be deaf, and exposure to Deaf culture. The inclusion of these amendments will hopefully improve services. We now have to be on the look-out for regulations. Regulations will determine what the language of the amendments looks like in everyday life, and how states will implement the new law. Proposed regulations will be released for the general public to provide comments and feedback. NAD had a Facebook Live discussion about the EHDI changes and explained that there is no telling when the regulations will be done. It all depends on the pace of the current administration. It is important for states to keep on the look-out and for individual concerned citizens to be ready to provide feedback. Deaf input is so important.
And finally, PSAD’s member-at-large and past President, Grace Shirk-Emmons, released a vlog last May about what was happening at our PA Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH). Grace has just released another vlog with a status update. I encourage everyone to watch her vlog. If you are concerned about ODHH, its current level of services, what its structure is like compared to what it once used to be when it was first established, if you are concerned about ODHH’s future, please contact Grace. Send her your stories and feedback via vlog or through text. Her email is included in her vlog so please contact her.
As always if you have ideas, questions, or feedback, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org