September is National Deaf Awareness month. One of the goals of the month and the International Week of the Deaf is to “Gain greater understanding of the American Deaf and Hard of Hearing community and its culture and heritage.” At Applied Development, we believe in this goal. Our mission is to champion the rights of people of all abilities to work and communicate effectively.
We’ve grown our reasonable accommodation and diversability services because we recognize and understand the underlying need for the services. Not all businesses provide reasonable accommodations for their employees.
The need for affordable, reliable reasonable accommodation services is clear. We offer three different services to support Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals in the workplace: Sign Language Interpretation, CART Services, and 504/508 compliance.
Sign Language Interpretation
Another objective of the International Week of the Deaf is to educate the public about how sign language is an essential human right. Last September, Lea Labaki of the Human Rights Watch explained that, “For deaf people, access to sign language is key to breaking down communication barriers and participating in society just like anyone else.”
Our very first diversability contract was providing Sign Language Interpretation. We now have 19 contracts providing this service to federal employees. This demonstrates how fundamental American Sign Language (ASL) is to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the workplace.
For example, we provide interpreters at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, ensuring that patients and family members can access all the information doctors, nurses, and hospital staff provide. We’ve also provided ASL interpretation at work places, schools, and public events, making sure everyone can understand each other and be understood.
Another objective of National Deaf Awareness month is to discover technologies, education, and resources for the community. Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) services provide transcription services for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Not everyone in the Deaf or Hard of Hearing community uses ASL for a variety of reasons. However, CART displays written text transcribed from spoken English.
Some businesses, schools, and events provide CART transcriptions in place of ASL interpretation. This service, a combination of technology and a professional transcriber, allows Deaf and Hard of Hearing people to read words that are being said and communicate effectively.
As we developed our specific diversability services, we also saw an opportunity to work in the reasonable accommodations advocacy space. Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires that Federal agencies offer reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities and provide equal access to technology.
Our 504/508 Compliance Services make sure that Federal agencies are providing the services that people deserve, including accommodations for Deaf and Hard of Hearing employees.
For example, through a contract at the Department of Defense (DoD), we help recruit disabled people into the Federal workforce via the DoD Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP), process complaints regarding reasonable accommodations, and develop disability policy across the DoD. We take pride in making sure that every employee feels they can convey and receive messages as intended.
Learn more about all of our Diversability Services.