Every Conversation is Important! New State Program for Deaf-blind in Oregon

State Program for Deaf-blind: Beginning on January 2, Bridges Oregon will be in charge of managing Oregon’s Communication Facilitator services, a brand-new initiative that gives DeafBlind Oregonians who use tactile or close-vision methods to communicate in American Sign Language access to make and receive video to video and Video Relay Service calls.

In addition, Oregonians who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and have a mobility issue in their arms or hands that interferes with their expressive communication are supported by Communication Facilitator services, a program of the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC). The Communication Facilitator utilizes their receptive skills to transmit or express the Deaf or Hard of Hearing person’s message when a person on the video screen is unable to comprehend as a consequence.

State Program for Deaf-blind
State Program for Deaf-blind

“A fundamental necessity of humans is to communicate. Staying in touch with people and participating in society, government, education, and healthcare need access to video communication systems. “Communication Facilitator services will address this lack of access that many in the community suffer,” said Chad Ludwig, executive director of Bridges Oregon, and Jon Cray, a program manager at the PUC.

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Oregon is the first state to pass a bill, House Bill 3205 during the 2019 legislative session, to expand the Telecommunications Devices Access Program to offer Communication Facilitator services to Oregonians who are DeafBlind or are Deaf or Hard of Hearing with an upper mobility disability.

Bridges Of Oregon

Bridges Oregon is a nonprofit organization for Oregonians who are Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing or face other communication barriers. The nonprofit’s mission is to facilitate equity, and inclusiveness, and to provide a bridge to opportunities through advocacy, education, and communication. β€œCommunication is a fundamental human need.

Bridges Of Oregon
Bridges Of Oregon

Staying in touch with people and participating in society, government, education, and healthcare need access to video communication systems. “Communication Facilitator services will address this lack of access that many people in the community suffer,” said Chad Ludwig, executive director of Bridges Oregon, and Jon Cray, a program manager at the PUC.

House Bill 3205, which would have expanded the Telecommunications Devices Access Program to provide Communication Facilitator services to Oregonians who are DeafBlind or are Deaf or Hard of Hearing with an upper mobility disability, was passed by Oregon as the first state during the 2019 Legislative Session. Deafblindness refers to the combination of hearing and visual loss that severely impedes communication, education, employment, and independent living.

While some individuals are totally deaf and blind, most deaf-blind people have different degrees of hearing and vision loss. For those with Usher syndrome or who are older, hearing and visual impairments may become worse with time. Infants born with the syndrome or whose mothers contracted rubella or the Zika virus while pregnant can be deaf-blind from birth.

Bridges Of Oregon
Bridges Of Oregon

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The National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness estimated in 2008 that there are around 10,000 children (ages newborn to 22 years) and roughly 40,000 people who are deaf-blind in the United States. The numerous senior adults with severe combined hearing and vision loss were not included in this census of the deaf-blind in the United States. This Deaf-Blindness Resource Guide is for persons who are deaf-blind, as well as for their parents and professionals who deal with them.

Bridges Of Oregon
Bridges Of Oregon

This guide is structured into four sections. Part One includes information resources on a range of themes linked to deaf-blindness. A bibliography in Part Two covers the subjects mentioned in the resources section. Part Three is a bibliography of books about deaf-blindness in the NLS collection. The contact information for the organizations included in this handbook is provided in Part 4. Keep in Touch with Focus HillsboroΒ for further updates.

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