2020 Proposed Priorities

2020-GOV-01

Author: Graham Forsey
Seconded by: Elvia Guillermo

Problem to be addressed:

Insufficient Diversity on the NAD Board Members.

Proposed Solution: 

National multiracial deaf organizations (comprised of all NAD-affiliated multiracial organizations, such as GWADA, NBDA, Council de Manos, and NHLAD) shall appoint (1) one Board Member dedicated to dismantle racism in NAD’s operations and advocacy work. The appointed Board Member must be a member of the Association.

Rationale: 

The NAD Board of Members should reflect the Deaf community, especially representing most cultural identities.

Fiscal Impact: 

YES - the same amount as other Board of Member for transportation, fees, meals and housing for retreat.

NAD Board/HQ Response: 

The NAD recognizes that diversity in the board is absolutely necessary, and have been working hard to ensure such diversity happens on the board. The NAD currently has 5 Board members from the BIPOC community, and many of them have served as board members of other national organizations representing BIPOC communities. To change the makeup of the Board requires a Bylaws amendment.

2020-GOV-02

Author: Steven Gagnon
Seconded by: Marie Campbell

Problem to be addressed:

There is no direct affiliate representation on the board. This is important to build long term relationships and bridges between the affiliates and the NAD. Having a dedicated representation on board for them will ensure that their concerns and voices are heard on the board level. Also affiliates pay dues, so  they should have some voting privileges on the board.

Proposed Solution:

NAD/COR establishes a dedicated affiliates representation on its board.

Rationale:

Affiliates continue to be ignored by the Board.

Fiscal Impact:

None other than expenses incurred by the affiliates representative, including travel.

NAD Board/HQ Response:

This proposal has been attempted unsuccessfully through several conferences. There are no designated board positions for others such as State Associations or specific representation. The NAD Board has however appointed a board member to focus on Affiliate Organizations several times in the past. Changing representation on the Board requires a Bylaws Amendment not a priority proposal.

2020-GOV-03

Author: Richard Jeffries
Seconded by: Jade Sims

Problem to be addressed:

Some of the members who served on NAD Board were also serving as officers of state associations or sat on the state association boards. This has created some conflict of interest between the NAD and state associations and caused some tension between organizations. 

Proposed Solution:

Individuals serving on NAD Board shall NOT serve on any other state association boards or affiliates.

Rationale:

Those sitting on NAD Board should not be serving on any of state association boards as it creates conflict of interest between both the NAD & the state associations. Furthermore, those serving on NAD Board should be able to serve NAD Board with full focus and commitment to address national-level issues that affect all stakeholders that NAD serves.

Fiscal Impact:

None

NAD Board/HQ Response:

State associations and affiliate organizations can set  limitations on who may serve on their boards, and to have such restrictions for their own organization.  Some state associations and affiliate organizations may encourage their officers to serve on the NAD Board, and this promotes diversity for the NAD. This would also limit who can serve on the board, and contradicts proposals during this COR suggesting that we have members from affiliate organizations to serve on the NAD board. The NAD encourages state associations and affiliates to make their own determinations for members to be able to serve on two boards.

2020-GOV-04

Author: Richard Jeffries
Seconded by: Katy Schmidt 

Problem to be addressed:

NAD continues to have issues engaging with the community in general.

Proposed Solution:

The NAD Board shall hire a Chief of Community Engagement, with a primary role of promoting NAD, through relationship building with various entities, including state associations, affiliates, donors, sponsors and partners. This position will complement the CEO position with a primary role of building capacities in order for NAD to move forward while the CEO focuses on operations and the law center.

Rationale:

The current CEO is a skilled litigator and he is an expert in that area. What NAD really needs to strengthen is in areas of community engagement. It is predicted that with NAD building connections with members, donors, and partners that it would generate more revenue opportunities for NAD which further will allow NAD to be able to be more productive in a non- legal arena with a focus on education and advocacy work. We recommend to not use the word COO because the current CEO still does great things in terms of operations and the law center. This position would fill in the gaps that NAD currently experiences and perform many front-facing tasks and functions.

Fiscal Impact:

Either .5 or Full Time Position

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD already has a Director of Communications, as well as a Content Coordinator on staff. The NAD has made great progress in its communications and engagement with the community through press releases, vlogs, website updates, and social media activity. The NAD also relies on all of the staff and board members in engaging with the community. The NAD also has a State Legislative Affairs Coordinator who works closely with state associations and affiliates, along with utilizing the Region Representatives on its board to communicate with and provide support to state associations and affiliates. The NAD President and Appointed Board has strengthened relationships with affiliate organizations that represent marginalized communities. The NAD has also cultivated non-legal relationship building with corporations that ensure ongoing support including but not limited to: JPMorgan Chase, Sorenson, Google/YouTube, Comcast, Apple, NFL, Microsoft, ZVRS/Purple, Verizon, NTID/RIT, Gallaudet, Lyft, Uber, AT&T, Ultratec, Sprint, Charter/Spectrum, TracFone, VITAC, CTIA, Volkswagen, Ford, AirBnB, Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Zoom, and InstaCart.

2020-GOV-05

Author: Elvia Guillermo
Seconded by: Robb Dooling

Problem to be addressed:

The current NAD's hiring, contracting and working with outside entities were often selected by favoritism or by personal connections. The process needs to be open to all entities for any type of work like photography, interpreting service, conference planning, committees, etc. 

Proposed Solution:

Review NAD’s organizational structure and hiring practices of independent contractors and vendors by examining it closely and identifying where systemic racism exists. Develop demographic/performance reports to ensure transparency. Create guidelines for NAD’s transformative justice work by 2022 for membership approval.

Rationale:

The current NAD's hiring, contracting and working with outside entities were often selected by favoritism or personal connections. It needs to be open to all entities for any types of work like photography, interpreting service, conference planning, committees, etc.

Fiscal Impact:

N/A

NAD Board/HQ response:

The NAD is constantly reviewing its organizational structure and processes through the Board (including Diversity Strategy Committee) and the staff. All hiring decisions are done by committee. We recognize that there is still work to be done, and will continue to do so.

2020-GOV-06

Author: Stephanie Hakulin
Seconded by: BJ Wood 

Problem to be addressed:

Racial justice needs to be addressed through collaboration with BIPOC organizations due to systemic oppression. We are facing the issues that impact the deaf, hard of hearing and DeafBlind community due to current events (Black Lives Matter (BLM), fraternities, and school/service organizations).

Proposed Solution:

To create and implement a racial justice action plan related to state associations, educational institutions, service organizations, state agencies and other institutions that serve the Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened communities.

Rationale:

The Racial Justice Task Force should include BIPOC members to address the issues and to reach out to BIPOC organizations/communities to dismantle the system.

Fiscal Impact:

  1. Use of NAD zoom meeting for Racial Justice Task Force
  2. A small stipend for Staff/Committee or NAD staff to cover the cost for traveling if required.

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD has been collaborating with BIPOC organizations, has had a Diversity Strategy Team, and is in support of this proposal.

2020-GOV-07

Author: Richard Jeffries
Seconded by: Lissette Molina Wood 

Problem to be addressed:

Selection of NAD Conference sites is not transparent and input from state associations would be helpful in increasing participation from state associations

Proposed Solution:

The NAD Conference site selection process should include input from the delegates attending the COR.

Rationale:

Since the Philadelphia conference, the board has held exclusive discretion in deciding NAD conference locations without input from COR. This motion ensures that the COR delegation has some say in conference location to ensure that the conference will remain well-attended based on feedback from the COR. It is hoped that if the COR delegation is part of the decision making process, that they would support NAD with ensuring that it continues to be well-attended. The state association of the conference site shall be a contributing part of the planning committee utilizing their local connections to enhance conference experiences.

Fiscal Impact:

None

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The process for selecting conference sites requires a professional assessment of locations available in each region (based on consecutive order). The possible hotel options for review are based on which hotels are available and have the capacity and accessibility to handle the NAD conference’s size, as well as other factors such as appeal and costs. The NAD does reach out to local state associations where the NAD has determined are potential conference sites to explain why their state should be selected for a conference site. The NAD Board votes 4 years ahead of each conference based on the information available as to the best location possible to maximize turnout and minimize costs.

2020-GOV-08

Author: Richard Jeffries
Seconded by: Marie Campbell 

Problem to be addressed:

There continues to be some NAD priorities that did not achieve what the authors intended them to. The NAD Board has too much latitude to redefine some of the priorities that were proposed by the COR. As a result, the final products were not as strong as intended when the COR proposed them.

Proposed Solution:

NAD shall establish a seven-member Accountability Task Force (five members from regions/ affiliates and two members from the NAD Board), with each member appointed by the given regions/affiliates to define process and success and to develop a way of measuring the progress and completion of the NAD priorities.

Rationale:

We need a consistent system where we are able to keep track of the progress of each NAD Priority. We also need to define success - does it mean merely contacting people or creating legislative action? The Accountability Task Force, along with the NAD Headquarter, should determine the timeline of completion of the Priorities.

Fiscal Impact:

None

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD Board and Headquarters strive to follow the spirit and letter of every priority that is passed. However, despite  the good intentions of all proposed priorities, the reality often requires different strategies and actions to achieve the intended goal. As work begins on each priority, the NAD committee or staff often learn additional information after the proposals are made, which results in shifts in strategies and actions to accomplish the goal of the priority. The NAD Board previously had an Accountability Committee and we have incorporated their recommendations.

2020-GOV-09

Author: Graham Forsey
Seconded by: Elvia Guillermo 

Problem to be addressed:

NAD to establish a pipeline and mentorship program to help Deaf interpreters of color receive training and certification.

Proposed Solution:

The U.S. Department of Education already has a $5 million grant to build a pipeline of POC interpreters - https://www.unco.edu/project-climb/ - and NAD can work with the University of North Colorado to continue the program.

Brianne Burger, Director/Liaison of the Office of Special Institutions at the U.S. Department of Education, is a Deaf DCAD member, and says she is available to facilitate some transitions if this proposal passes the NAD COR.

Rationale:

Insufficient number of Deaf POC - there are only 17 Deaf POC Certified Deaf Interpreters in the country.

Fiscal Impact:

Government grant options available + educational or program partnerships . Some staff time may be required.

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD supports this proposal. While there are only 17 BIPOC certified deaf interpreters, there are many who are unable to attain certification due to lack of testing means or resources. The NAD can explore opportunities to support BIPOC individuals interested in pursuing the deaf interpreting profession.

2020-MEM-01

Author: Chad Ludwig
Seconded by: James Christianson Jr.  

Problem to be addressed:

The NAD does not have data about their membership's identities, pronouns, preferences, and intersectionalities.

Proposed Solution:

It is proposed that through NAD's annual or biennial membership renewals, or signing up as a new member with NAD, there is an optional questionnaire that inquires as to the member's identities, pronouns, preferences, and intersectionalities.

Rationale:

This would provide NAD an opportunity to create a framework to work closely with their members who come from different identities and intersectionalities.

Fiscal Impact:

Zero.

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD is in support of this proposal.

2020-EDU-01

Author: Robyn Miller
Seconded by: Jeffrey Yockey 

Problem to be addressed:

Many deaf children lack communication at home due to non ASL signers at home. If deaf children are taught at schools that enable them to learn using ASL,  homes should also enable the child to continue to learn what was taught at schools. If hearing children learn at home and at school using the same language, why can’t it be the same for the deaf children?

Proposed Solution:

There are several organizations that work with families. We can use them and schools for the deaf. Hiring deaf people in the community and professionals who are deaf rates can vary. NAD can create a fixed rate and create a contract to work with organizations or schools.

Rationale:

If we have parents and families learn ASL from day one,  it will increase a number of higher functional deaf populations and higher college enrollment.

PA is struggling to get LEAD-K to be a priority for deaf children education. This can be applied to any states that doesn’t have LEAD-K. This is a good way to defeat the system by signing a public law stating that if a child is born deaf, the parents must learn how to sign in ASL, Regardless of what the parents are planning on doing for the child, CI or not, they are still required to learn ASL. https://acadeafic.org/2019/06/24/sign-language-shaming-norway-sweden/

Fiscal Impact:

NAD board works with all different states who have LEAD-K or working on LEAD-K.

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD currently has Education Advocates in all 50 states, and much of this work is already being done but the success varies by state. Further, the NAD has developed several model bills for states to adopt, and the NAD has a state legislative affairs coordinator to support this activity. Beyond that, the NAD does not have the resources to cover the hiring of contractors in all states across the country. The NAD has fully supported states associations and organizational affiliates who want to pursue this concept for their state.  The NAD also has recently published a directory of ASL resources organized by state and is working actively with over 20 organizations and universities that are working on increasing ASL resources and services for families the past four years- this work is ongoing. The fiscal impact would be in excess of $150,000.

2020-EDU-02

Author: Natnail Tolossa
Seconded by: Aubrie Bauer

Problem to be addressed:

Schools with larger deaf and hard of hearing enrollments often have more access to resources. Schools with smaller enrollments or students in mainstream schools most likely do not have access to the same amount of resources. Resources and information and training on things such as bilingual education, recruiting/retaining employees, instruction methods and strategies and quality extracurricular programs should be shared to benefit more schools and programs equitably. 

Proposed Solution:

The NAD will partner with CEASD and NDEC and NAD Education Advocates to explore how schools with larger enrollment numbers of deaf and hard of hearing students can share resources with smaller schools of the deaf and mainstreamed programs that may need assistance.

Rationale:

We want to ensure that all deaf and hard of hearing students receive top quality education and extracurricular activities. By encouraging our bigger and successful schools to share knowledge and resources, all students will have increased access to top-notch quality of life at schools. This priority will also ensure that NAD Education Advocates work with schools to develop best practices and to encourage the schools to achieve CEASD accreditation. By working with NDEC, CEASD and NAD Education Advocates, more teachers and staff will have access to a wide variety of training in critical areas of raising quality in schools

Fiscal Impact:

NAD staff and NAD Education Advocates will be involved with this project. Potential revenue may come from schools that send their staff members to NDEC conferences.

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD through its staff, NDEC, and Education Advocates, is already working closely with CEASD to identify and promote best practices to all schools, and the NAD is in support of this proposal.

2020-PUB-01

Author: Corey Axelrod
Seconded by: Mary Lynn Lally

Problem to be addressed:

Systemic barriers result in Deaf and hard of hearing infants and toddlers remaining at risk for language deprivation and having inadequate exposure to appropriate American Sign Language (ASL) language models and Deaf role models at a young age. Without appropriate measures in place and the NAD, to date, failing to take a public stance and hold those reprehensibly responsible for their transgressions, professionals and organizations primarily focused on restorative hearing and Deaf children’s ability to speak continue to pass along the burden of children’s failure to acquire language by iterating, “it’s the parent’s choice.” 

Proposed Solution:

The goals of this motion are two-fold:

  1. Renew the NAD’s mandate from 2012 on language deprivation, as well as renew the 2014 re-mandate due to the NAD’s failure to make sufficient progress on the 2012 mandate.
  2. Establish a clear and public timeline for implementing strategies to achieve this priority, including model bills to be used to introduce at the federal and state levels.

By January 1, 2021, the NAD shall:

  1. Establish an ad-hoc committee of individuals with expertise in various relevant areas including legal, educational and socio- and neuro-linguistic development to carry out the deliverables associated with this priority. This committee shall report to the NAD CEO or employee(s) designated by the NAD CEO.
  2. Create and widely distribute ASL- and English-based press releases describing the reasons for pursuing this priority.
  3. Create and widely distribute a timeline implementing strategies to achieve this priority.
  4. Send a public letter to the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) demanding that AG Bell disavow Alexander Graham Bell’s statements on Deaf people and sign language.
  5. Collaborate with the State Association/Affiliate Committee (SAAC) to establish an independent ad-hoc committee, one that will consist of a combination of NAD board members and members of SAAC, to oversee and report progress on this priority to NAD members on a regular basis.

Before the next NAD Conference, the NAD shall at a minimum:

  1. Develop model state and federal legislation that would hold entities and individuals responsible for actions causing harm to Deaf and hard of hearing infants/children by way of deprivation of ASL.
  2. Develop model federal legislation and/or a rewrite of IDEA Part C to mandate the use of Deaf professionals in supporting language development among Deaf and hard of hearing infants and toddlers.
  3. Develop model state legislation that would mandate contracted state and local early intervention programs to incorporate the use of Deaf professionals as a part of their comprehensive service model.
  4. Develop model state and federal legislation that would require medical and audiology personnel to refer Deaf and hard of hearing infants/children and their families to ASL instruction and education prior to undertaking any medical procedure that may presume to provide hearing.
  5. Develop an ASL resource kit to distribute nationwide to healthcare and early intervention providers working with Deaf and hard of hearing children and their families.
  6. Develop and distribute standardized ASL Development Benchmarks and/or Checklists to be used by early interventionists and classroom teachers in schools across the country in evaluating progress and Kindergarten Readiness among all Deaf and hard of hearing children.

Rationale:

As mentioned in significant detail in the original priority motion in 2012, efforts to reform early

intervention and Deaf education for Deaf children have experienced limited success. It is

gravely unfortunate that eight years later we are in a similar position. This warrants re-mandating the original priority motion, one that was intended to introduce systematic changes to ensure Deaf children are not isolated and linguistically deprived and to reduce long-standing underemployment and unemployment rates among Deaf individuals. With recognition and appreciation of recent efforts to prevent language deprivation, there is a need to make those liable for past, current and future actions that cause harm to Deaf children by means of depriving children of ASL. 

Furthermore, it is recommended an independent ad-hoc committee oversee and report progress on this priority. In the past, there have been discrepancies between delegates and NAD

Board/Headquarters regarding the totality and efficacy of the work the NAD completed. The intention of this independent ad-hoc committee would be to mitigate discrepancies and report on the totality and efficacy of the work done under this priority. 

Fiscal Impact:

Minimal. The work behind this will be mostly made up of volunteers. NAD’s staff contributions will be imperative to this priority and their time spent on this will have the biggest fiscal impact in the short- and long-term. NAD CEO will have full discretion to determine which staff members and, if appropriate, interns will contribute to the ad-hoc committee.

NAD Board/HQ Response:

Pursuant to the 2012 Mandate on Language Deprivation, the Public Policy Committee’s Education Group, which included experts from psychology, language development, education, special education law, and other areas created a position statement outlining the need for appropriate language acquisition: https://www.nad.org/about-us/position-statements/position-statement-on-early-cognitive-and-language-development-and-education-of-deaf-and-hard-of-hearing-children/

Further, a model bill (titled “"Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’s Right to Language Acquisition Act”) was developed with the purpose of reducing language deprivation for states to adopt and are available for state associations to use for lobbying purposes. This has been presented to state associations for their use but is not made publicly available to prevent giving away our game plan to those who have opposing interests.

A Language Deprivation Taskforce with community experts was established in 2012 and worked for 4 years to do a systemic analysis and this work continues with a broader coalition of organizations and universities committed to language access for deaf and hard of hearing children ages 0-5. This taskforce is known as the Language Accountability, Support, & Empowerment Roundtable (LASER). This has resulted in increased communication and research exchange to support systematic changes both on the state and national levels. This coalition includes VL2 which has already developed a Family Information Package that is available to families all over the country. https://www.nad.org/resources/education/language-deprivation-taskforce/.

Further, with respect to ASL standards and checklists, the Clerc Center with NAD encouragement has published ASL standards for grades K-12 which is publicly available and open for use.

Moreover, the NAD has encouraged states to look to LEAD-K as a template for their state to combat langage deprivation, and have over the years worked with various state associations and affiliates to seek passage of LEAD-K in their respective states. To date, 14 states have passed various forms of LEAD-K legislation.

The NAD also developed and promoted to state associations and affiliates an updated model Deaf Child Bill of Rights. Again, this model bill is not shared publicly but is available to our affiliates for strategic reasons. Two states have recently passed this bill. This bill expands on ensuring that deaf children continue to build on language acquisition and have access to appropriate language models throughout their education.

With respect to modifying federal law, the reauthorization of the IDEA has been repeatedly postponed and we do not know when it will be up for debate, amendment, and passage. Nevertheless, we have worked with CEASD to propose the Cogswell-Macy Act to address some concerns regarding language development including specific provisions in Part C and Part B (to support families’ acquisition of ASL) in preparation for the time when Congress eventually reassesses the IDEA. We also have been meeting regularly with the U.S. Department of Education to push for key policy changes re: language access and environments, and we will not give up until those changes happen.

Our efforts have been extensive with respect to EHDI and ensuring that Deaf mentors are at the forefront of all early intervention efforts. We were instrumental in key changes to the EHDI Act in its reauthorization in 2017. As a result of these changes, every state is now required to provide visual resources and to establish Deaf mentor programs. This has been put in effect as of April 2020 along with the requirement for a national language acquisition assessment data collection. We have made significant progress in this regard and will not let up until every family is provided with Deaf mentors.

Our National Family Campaign priority report illustrates our ongoing efforts to reach out to every family who has a deaf child and show them the need to incorporate ASL in their deaf child’s education and development.

The NAD will continue this work and does not support the specific mandates of this priority as many of these are completed, but agree on the general goal of eradicating language deprivation of deaf and hard of hearing children.

2020-PUB-02

Author: Stephanie Hakulin
Seconded by: Jennifer Witteborg 

Problem to be addressed:

There are companies, research institutions, and organizations whose goal is to eradicate deafness in the world today. There has been an increase in policies and research to advance gene editing, genetic and stem cell treatments, including Deaf genes/cochleas. Deaf people are not being consulted, giving input on the ethical considerations or even aware of the issues. Companies, organizations, and research institutions are not considering the bio-ethics of what they are doing.

Proposed Solution:

NAD will address the ongoing practice of eugenics and eradication of the Deaf by different companies, organizations, and research institutions. We propose the NAD shall do the following:

  1. Hold companies, organizations, and research institutions accountable for the advancement of eradication of Deaf people.
  2. Create a bill for US Congress addressing the reality of Eugenics and to stop the advancement of eradication of Deaf people.
  3. Create a position paper regarding current practices of Eugenics and our stance on the issue.
  4. Communicate to the Deaf community about Eugenics and how the eradication of our community is happening.
  5. Work with the American Medical Association on the bio-ethics of such research and application.

Rationale:

This priority proposal ties directly into the NAD's mission statement to protect the civil and human rights of deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States. Genetic therapies and treatments go further than merely banning sign language. They will fundamentally alter human nature and the Deaf person.There are current companies who are investing dollars into finding gene therapy cures for deafness. Such an example is: https://akouos.com/our-focus/. Many Deaf people are not aware of this and should have an input.

Fiscal Impact:

Costs would include finding Subject Matter Experts in the creation of a position paper, as well as doing a social justice campaign, staff time, conferences/travel for meetings if needed, and materials if needed. Final costs unknown at this time, but can be kept to a minimum if done right.

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD supports this priority, and has consistently addressed various medical efforts that have an eugenic effect. Previously, the NAD has had a BioEthics committee and it can be restarted to develop a position statement.

2020-PUB-03

Author: Kirsten Poston
Seconded by: Jacob Leffler 

Problem to be addressed:

Throughout the country from deaf schools, to nonprofits to state associations and other service based entities, the longstanding problem of racism has been prevalent for a long time. It is time for NAD to develop toolkits that would be utilized as mechanisms to address diversity equity and inclusion issues within entities serving deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing communities.

Proposed Solution:

NAD would set up a task force to develop virtual toolkits and continue anti racism efforts. These toolkits would be used for State Associations and other deaf entities to help them to build a diverse membership base and to provide safe space where diversity equity and inclusion strategies will help eradicate racism within the deaf community and strengthen the deaf ecosystem for all.

Rationale:

The Black Lives Matter movement motivated this country to make positive change and tackle racism in all of its forms. The deaf community needs to maximize tools that will help and grow the organizations, the schools and other service based entities./p>

Fiscal Impact:

No Impact.

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD is in support of this proposal, which requires collaboration with BIPOC organization.

2020-PUB-04

Author: Aubrie Bauer
Seconded by Stephanie Hakulin 

Problem To Be Addressed:

We ask for the continuation of the NAD Justice priority from 2018 with the addition of these two specific focuses, all through an intersectional, racial justice lens:

  • Police brutality
  • Communication with law enforcement, especially as it pertains to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Proposed Solution:

  • NAD to collaborate with Black, Indegenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) organizations to identify models of programs and services that can do a better job than the police.
  • Develop a draft bill to be used on the national level, as well as for states to implement in their local/state levels regarding communication from the police to Deaf/Hard of Hearing/DeafBlind persons, especially given the recent increase in police brutality as a result of miscommunication, racial bias, and other social justice factors.
  • Establish a national database or registry using a driver’s license/government identification as a means to flag a Deaf person in law enforcement systems.
  • NAD to develop a nationalized standard training curriculum for law enforcement.
  • Changes to law enforcement ticketing systems to use visual icons as well as written language.

Rationale:

It is essential to address the issues including Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the racial system to ensure and support a radical justice system. In addition to the existing systemic racism and audism, COVID-19 has created an additional communication barrier with the widespread use of face masks. The Deaf/Hard of Hearing/DeafBlind communities have been significantly impacted by this. With law enforcement and the use of face masks, there is a higher risk for miscommunication.

Fiscal Impact:

Potential costs of developing training materials, public advocacy materials, or curriculums. Potential costs of hiring qualified BIPOC subject matter experts to develop the above.

NAD HQ/Board Response:

The NAD supports this priority, which would be a continuation of the current priority on addressing how law enforcement interacts with deaf and hard of hearing persons. The NAD is actively working with NASADHH as well as stakeholder groups such as NBDA to develop guidelines on how to do the advocacy work, as well as develop a position statement, which will incorporate racial injustice issues. The work focuses not just on training but transforming how law enforcement responds to any issues involving deaf and hard of hearing, and will develop a national model even though the current law enforcement system is localized and does not report to a federal agency. While law enforcement does not follow any national standards (each local agency has its own training program), we are nevertheless working on a nationalized training curriculum and hope to promote it to all local law enforcement agencies.

While the NAD supports the overall priority, a national database or registry is not recommended primarily due to privacy concerns, but also because many deaf and hard of hearing individuals do not want to be identified in this way.

2020-PUB-05

Author: Stephanie Hakulin
Seconded by: BJ Wood 

Problem to be addressed:

NAD to identify and address systemic barriers impacting immigrants and refugees, including reversing the public charge rule that penalizes people with disabilities who need services, and strongly opposing containment, deportations, and denaturalization.

Proposed Solution:

NAD to continue to advocate to Congress and federal agencies about communication access and education issues that face immigrants and refugees with disabilities - particularly those who are Deaf, DeafBlind, Late Deafened, and Hard of Hearing.

Rationale:

The federal government is changing the rules that approve asylum and entry into the United States by individuals from other countries. It is imperative that those in charge of making the rules understand the unique situation faced by many Deaf, DeafBlind, Late Deafened, and Hard of Hearing immigrants and refugees in their home country. And if the immigrant or refugee is held in confinement, the federal government must provide communication access services to these individuals. The communication access must be made available for any and all hearings regarding deportation and denaturalization.

Fiscal Impact:

  1. NAD staff time would be significant.
  2. Committee/Task Force meetings could be held via ZOOM to reduce travel expense
  3. NAD may call upon individuals to testify before Congress and/or a federal agency

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD has engaged with other organizations doing work on this issue, and is in support of this proposal.

2020-PUB-06

Author: June McMahon
Seconded by: Lissette Molina Wood 

Problem to be addressed:

The current iteration of Deaf Seniors Task Force has worked very hard the past two years and have much more to do. The current NAD structure requires all committees and task forces to wind down as conferences approach. But because of the progress the task force has made and the fact that they have much more to do - the task force should be able to continue past the 2020 COR.

Our survey/interview results found that most people struggle with finding facilities that are fully accessible and finding caregivers that are able to communicate with them. There is no centralized resource for the caregiving profession even though most people prefer to live independently with the assistance of a caregiver. 

Proposed Solution:

I would like to see that DSA and NAD continue their work with the Aging issues among the deaf and senior population beyond 2020 COR with its current members intact providing they are still interested in serving on the task force. To continue the NAD Senior Citizen Task Force for as long as deemed necessary, as they will be aligned with Deaf Seniors of America (DSA), as well as aligning with Deaf State Associations.

Rationale:

There is a need for a centralized task force to address continuing issues, as well as recent issues involving resources on how Deaf senior citizens can deal with world pandemics and national emergencies. Such resources may also involve healthcare, housing, and accessibility to information from local and state governments.

The proposal was made at NAD Conference in Hartford, Connecticut two years ago and was carried. It is still ongoing so we need to continue this task due to high population of senior citizens all over our country. The population of Deaf seniors is booming and their accessible rights at assisted living facilities, nursing home, long term care services and so on continue to be denied - and the work of the Task Force remains critical at this time. To minimize lag time in creating new committees after conferences, we are asking that the current task force remain intact with all of its members. 

  • Promote relationships between state associations and local deaf senior groups.
  • Ensure that the Administration on Aging and State Departments enforce ADA regulations for all types of Senior Care at the city, county, state and federal levels.
  • Provide the Deaf Senior groups working with the State Associations and State Commissions, with relevant research findings and tools for advocacy.
  • Capitalize on providing webinars on specific issues that Deaf Seniors face such as preparing for the Golden Years, accessing healthcare information, identifying facilities/aging in place, preparing for hospice, and arranging for caregiving.
  • Develop a directory of Elder Law attorneys with awareness experience working with Deaf-related issues.
  • Develop a directory of health care providers and caregivers who are well versed in the needs of Deaf Seniors and, if available, fluent in ASL.
  • Seek funding opportunities for caregiver training programs.

Fiscal Impact:

Staff time, travel as needed and potential revenue with grants.

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD is in support of keeping the NAD-DSA Seniors Task Force.

2020-PUB-07

Author: Chad Ludwig
Seconded by: James Christianson Jr.  

Problem to be addressed:

Many studies have reported that 1 in 1,000 of children experience hearing loss during childhood. For this priority, we will define childhood as birth to age 18. With the population of children in the United States expected to reach 74.1 million children in 2020, we can expect approximately 75,000 of these children to be diagnosed with varying levels of hearing. On another note, currently 440,000 children are in the foster care system in the United States. This number fluctuates on a yearly basis. In 2018, there were approximately 690,000 children in the foster care system (https://www.childrensrights.org/newsroom/fact-sheets/foster-care/). If we merge these two data systems together, we can assume that approximately 444 to 690 deaf or hard of hearing children enter the foster care system on a yearly basis. This is a significant number. An example of how significant this number is the fact that Texas School for the Deaf usually averages between 550 to 600 students.

There are many government agencies who work with many deaf and hard of hearing children in many different situations. Examples of these agencies include the Department of Human Services (DHS), which can house specific services such as Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Child Welfare (CW), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). WIC is a supplemental nutrition program to help gain healthy children. There are many names and acronyms for Child Welfare (CW), but this agency oversees the care of children in the foster care system. The proposer of this bill is from Oregon, where we call this system the Child Welfare system. The goal of this agency is to see children in a safe environment as their parents work towards reunification. In some cases, reunification cannot happen, and the child goes up for guardianship or adoption. TANF provides families with support to take care of children, prepare for jobs, and provide support for parents to support their children.

Proposed Solution:

For this priority, we ask the following:

  1. The Foster Care Bill of Rights will be amended to include communication needs of the child. This communication needs will be assessed by screeners in the foster care system. The child will be provided with a cultural and language broker to ensure full communication for health and safety needs of the child.
  2. Each state will recruit, develop, and manage a plan to ensure there is a listing of caregivers who can provide ASL language support and cultural needs to all deaf and hard of hearing children in the foster care system. Even if the child themselves may not understand sign language, it is still important to have a representative who understands the emotional and cultural ramifications of this disability.
  3. The agency will recognize the child’s communication needs, and provide the child with accommodations for communication, in line with the child’s ability to receive this communication. For example, if the child has additional needs other than deafness, the appropriate method would be to provide the child with a deaf interpreter, to ensure full access in a different way. If the child is deafblind, then the appropriate example may be a tactile interpreter.
  4. Any agency worker who will be working directly with deaf and hard of hearing children must undergo sign language proficiency interview using either a Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) or the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI). If there are no agency workers, then the agency must utilize a cultural broker to attend visits, participate in meetings, and interact with the child and parents to ensure safe and appropriate approaches are utilized.
  5. Each state needs to work with agencies to identify all children with disabilities appropriately, and to obtain appropriate services for these children with disabilities. Data needs to be collected and analyzed, to ensure equitable services are provided. Data should be collected on the following: language needs, success stories, provision of services, possible outcomes, and length of time needed to address complex needs. This data must be shared and published yearly.
  6. In the case of Child Welfare, if needed, the parents of the children must show sign language proficiency and understanding of language and cultural differences in their deaf and hard of hearing children before reunification can occur. This is imperative due to the safety of the child. If the child is unable to communicate with family, or communicate about abuse, then that will continue to jeopardize the health of the child.
  7. If the child is present, regardless of parental involvement, the child must be given access to their own interpreter, and in cases where it is applicable, the deaf mentor or Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) must join to ensure optimal access is given to the child to state their needs. We have oftentimes seen parents speaking for their deaf child, and this must stop.
  8. When there is a taskforce and/or meeting concerning children with special needs, or cases concerning specific children, there must be a stakeholder from the deaf community or the deaf school (specifically school counselors/school psychologists) on this committee, in order to raise issues concerning these deaf and hard of hearing children.
  9. Children must receive emotional/physical/mental health services separate from the parents or other caregivers, with providers and appropriate communication brokers, to ensure full access to this specific support.
  10. Provide children with legal advocates, in order for them to get their needs met.

Rationale:

While we are making advances for deaf and hard of hearing adults, we are seeing lack of support for deaf and hard of hearing children under the age of 18. In many cases, there are no interpreters being provided. Agencies may be quick to assume that parents will take care of the communication process. This eliminates the child’s ability to be heard, and the child’s voice cannot be considered, especially when it comes to decisions which concern the child themselves.

We are proposing one of NAD’s priorities should be focused on the welfare of the children who are required to access governmental services, such as WIC, TANF, Developmental Disabilities (DD) and Child Welfare. For example, when children are required to attend medical appointments, the interpreter should be provided for the child, even though the parent is with the child. This does not often happen. During Child Welfare meetings, the child should be provided with a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), or a cultural broker who understands their language and culture, in order to provide the most comprehension to the child. Also, an interpreter should be provided at all times. For DD, many times, the support worker or the agency worker do not have adequate language access to the child.

Fiscal Impact:

NAD Staffing time. 

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD already has a position statement regarding deaf children who are in the foster care system, which can be found here; https://www.nad.org/about-us/position-statements/position-statement-on-quality-foster-care-services-continuum-for-deaf-children/.  Clarification of the proposal is needed to assess what additional goals are needed beyond the position statement.

2020-PUB-08

Author: Jeffrey Bronk
Seconded by: Joel Mankowski 

Problem to be addressed:

For emergency interpreting services. state and local governments often called for interpreters for Coronavirus briefings on TV and the internet. When they declare any other emergency alerts, they don't usually call interpreters. We need to demand all levels of government to stay with interpreting services for all types of emergencies. We feel that those media outlets must provide interpreting services anytime.

Proposed Solution:

  1. Create a local communication access advisory council at local levels to maintain communication between deaf and hoh communities and local authorities.
  2. Develop a guideline to ensure all communication access is available.
  3. Provide information related to emergency services to local authorities.

Rationale:

Our rationale is to ensure all local communication access is available for emergency situations. For instance, Cory Barr whose parents are deaf was killed during an explosion on July 10, 2018 in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. No local outlets provided interpreting services until last minute. And more, a deaf couple in West Oshkosh whose daughter was at her high school during a shooting spree last year lost contact with local authorities due to lack of the availability of interpreting services.

Fiscal Impact:

None. Video/online conference only. Information referral can be posted on nad.org.

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD already has a position statement available for Emergency Management Agencies regarding accessibility, which can be found here: https://www.nad.org/about-us/position-statements/position-statement-on-accessible-emergency-management-for-deaf-and-hard-of-hearing-people/. The NAD has supported and is available to support state associations and affiliates who would like to pursue their local communities for increasing access for individuals who are deaf, deafblind, deaf and disabled, and hard of hearing. Recently, the NAD has begun working with others to develop and pass federal legislation to mandate specific standards for provision of ASL during emergency announcements and briefings.

2020-PUB-09

Author: Creighton Quigley
Seconded by: Jeffrey Yockey 

Problem to be addressed:

Deaf people don't really understand VRI and then to have them try to understand the device to make it work often leads to frustration and frustrations lead to misdiagnosis.

Proposed Solution:

To have CDI work along with VRI So that they are aware of how to handle the device and become familiar with VRI so that  deaf people can remain calm and focus entirely on the medical situation and get proper diagnosis.

Rationale:

if they don't, then in the long run, it could cause more complications due to misunderstanding.

Fiscal Impact:

If they didn't do it right the first time, then it could cost more down the road.

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD has a CDI Task Force that has been tasked with developing a document that explains exactly what CDIs do, and this is for all settings including VRI. The NAD, in partnership with DSA, has a policy statement for VRI standards as well: https://www.nad.org/about-us/position-statements/minimum-standards-for-video-remote-interpreting-services-in-medical-settings/

2020-PUB-10

Author: Jacob Leffler
Seconded by: Tamera Deem 

Problem to be addressed:

We, Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind people experience barriers when we are on  ships, planes, trains, subways, buses, and other public transportation.

Proposed Solution:

NAD should create a Task Force where they can work with Amtrak, FAA, and airports to ensure that Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing people have access to information including VP or text if there are any changes, emergencies, or safety information. The Task Force also should develop a position statement for the State Associations to pass on to work on local transportation for subway, metro, bus, and public transportation. The Task Force also should develop resources to educate about the transportation accessibility.

Rationale:

It is an ongoing issue within our community. It is time for NAD to address transportation accessibility and it is a serious concern regarding safety for us. We are in the 21st century and it is time to address that now and improve our lives. We should have equal access.

Fiscal Impact:

There will be no fiscal impact for this priority proposal.

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD, through its Policy Institute, has done extensive work on all modes of transportations with respect to legal and regulatory requirements as well as position statements and ranking projects to promote best practices. These efforts include work with many stakeholder groups including organizations representing other people with disabilities on task forces that focus on the FAA (for airplanes regulations), Amtrak (for train regulations), FMCSA (for CDLs), Access Board (for regulations on buses, trains, trucks, ships, and autonomous vehicles) and other entities to improve access.  The NAD is also working with several car manufacturers to ensure autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars) include access for deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind, and deaf with other disabilities.

2020-PUB-11

Author: Stephanie Hakulin
Seconded by: BJ Wood 

Problem to be addressed:

NAD needs to investigate and advocate on issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic such as preventative measures that are inclusive, health/mental health disparities, housing, unemployment, access to public services and benefits, and other areas of significant socio-economic impact. Also, NAD needs to continue to ensure accurate and accessible information gets out to the community related to the pandemic and stimulus programs.

Proposed Solution:

NAD needs to set up a Pandemic Task Force comprising of 1 person from each state association. This Task Force will examine how information is currently being distributed about the virus. Once done, they can either advocate for communication- accessible information to be provided or produce such information in accessible language to the Deaf, DeafBlind, Late Deafened, and Hard of Hearing communities.

Rationale:

News and information about COVID-19 changes often and may or may not be accessible. COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on our daily lives, and protecting ourselves is of utmost importance. It is imperative that we have timely and accurate information to be safe.

Fiscal Impact:

  1. If NAD staff are assigned as a liaison to this priority, then staffing time would be a financial impact.
  2. Suggest this Task Force meet via ZOOM to minimize travel expenses.
  3. NAD would need to purchase either the Pro ($14.99/month/host) or the business ($19.99/month/host) ZOOM platform.
  4. Federal grants are available through the U.S. Small Business Administration, Council of Nonprofits, FEMA, and other organizations.

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD has been working very hard since March to advocate for accessible information and with federal and state governments to ensure appropriate policies, and to develop several position statements regarding the needs of Deaf/Hard of Hearing/DeafBlind/Deaf and Disabled during this pandemic. The NAD is in support of this proposal.

2020-PUB-12

Author: Michael Deuel
Seconded by: Frederick Miller

Problem to be addressed:

The U.S. Department of Health Services and Human Services do not have guidelines or plans that assist the states with a detailed plan for Deaf parents and/or Deaf children related to communication access in regarding the use of ASL interpreters and ethics.

Proposed Solution:

NAD should address this issue and provide guidance, support, and ensure that the U.S. Department of Health Services and Human Services develops a plan that focuses on Deaf/HOH individuals in the nation and their need for communication access to ASL under the ADA.

Rationale:

There are a number of families that got destroyed by the Department of Human Services due to lack of communication, misunderstanding, and they tend to use children to interpret inside the family's home. They also tend to interview the hearing children in front of their deaf parents or parents without providing access to information. The policy under DHS shows a Handout for Volunteer/Community Interpreters that also shows a violation of the code of professional conduct.

Fiscal Impact:

Minimal cost for NAD travel because HHS Government Headquarters is in Washington, DC. Also, NAD can work with each state association (SA) to increase channels for each state human department to save on travel expenses.  With COVID-19, this will provide businesses with opportunities to use teleconference if needed. With SA involved, they can help reduce the NAD lawyer workload if possible.

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) does mandate accessibility within state agencies but does not actively enforce such accessibility. However, each state has its own “Department of Human Services” (which vary in name) and not all of them comply with HHS regulations and mandates. Some states have been sued to comply with HHS guidelines. State agencies are also required to comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act along with any additional relevant state laws or regulations. The NAD could meet with officials at HHS to discuss this area of concern. However, it may be more effective for impacted consumers to individually file ADA complaints against their state agencies.

2020-PUB-14

Author: Tamara Deem
Seconded by: Jacob Leffler 

Problem to be addressed:

Acquiring high quality healthcare is a problem for the deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing community when trying to acquire high quality healthcare and there are also communication barriers with the health providers. The telehealth method uses a phone line where you call in and talk verbally to medical experts, counselors/therapists, social workers, etc. This method does not work for deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing patients. Most health facilities don't have very good internet signals when using VRI. Some healthcare providers don't have or don't want to use clear masks or face shields to be able to communicate with deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing patients.

Not all health providers have the right equipment or understanding of accessibility for deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing patients.

Heath providers should be required to acquire a high quality medical certified interpreter for the deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing patients.

Proposed Solution:

NAD should create a task force to resolve the healthcare issues the deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing community is having and enforce medical providers to provide accessibility for the deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing patients. The task force should also develop a best practice (including the requirement of high-speed internet) document for the healthcare providers. NAD should work with national medical organizations to educate providers on how to provide accessibility for the deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing community.

Rationale:

This priority is an important matter and health safety concerns for the deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing community. The current situation has a severe impact on healthcare for us in the community.

Fiscal Impact:

There is no fiscal impact for this priority.

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD already has several position statements regarding access to healthcare, including telehealth.

2020-PUB-14

Author: Richard Jeffries
Seconded by: Marie Campbell 

Problem to be addressed:

Deaf children continue to experience language and communication struggles at the time of identification and we believe that sign language should be one of options to support child's development.

Proposed Solution:

We are proposing that NAD work to incorporate sign language in ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision) as one of the viable treatments at the time of identification.

Rationale:

Right now, sign language is not even one of the treatment plans for loss of communication because of hearing loss. Medical professions are not aware. They still think sign language is a novelty, something cute to learn. Since the last conference, NAD said it is not a priority. Per 2017, 98% babies were screened for hearing loss, 6,500 babies were identified with a hearing loss. Supposing the numbers are the same in the two years since the conference, 13,000 babies were identified with a hearing loss and sign language is not one of the treatment plans because NAD said it is not a priority.

Fiscal Impact:

None

NAD Board/HQ Response:

The NAD has been actively pursuing the inclusion of ASL as a covered service with the HHS. Our focus is on making changes in insurance coverage of ASL services. The ICD-10 is an international body with which the NAD has no involvement and would require extensive outreach before we have any influence.. We are aware of key researchers exploring the inclusion of language deprivation disorder in the DSM, which is not accepting any major revisions at this time. Nevertheless, we have been advocating for sign language as a necessary approach at the time of identification. This process is ongoing and lengthy, and may exceed more than two years before changes may happen.