Understanding Americans with

Disabilities Act – Effective
Communication

April 8
th
, 2014
Mount Aloysius College

Presented by
Benjamin Moonan, Representative
Office for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing


Office for the Deaf
&
Hard of Hearing
ODHH: The big picture


An office within the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry

Office locations: Harrisburg, Allentown, Johnstown, & Erie

Provides 4 core functions

Staff performs the functions via a self-created state-wide network

No eligibility requirements or fees for our services

By law, ODHH does not provide direct services

ODHH: Hearing Loss Expo
Save the date

• Our 4
th
expo, occurs biennially
• Showcases services & products for people who are deaf or hard of hearing
• NEW for 2014: 2 day event—business & family focused activities
• Educational seminars
• Hearing screenings
• Benefits transitioning high school students



Hearing Loss Expo 2014
November 14-15, 2014
Radisson Hotel Harrisburg

American with
Disabilities Act
ADA: What it Requires?


EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)


Title II: State & Local governments must ensure effective communication with
individuals with disabilities

The person with the hearing loss decides what is ―effective communication‖



Title III: Public Accommodation must provide auxiliary aids and services when they are
necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with hearing,
vision, or speech impairments

Both parties, the person with the hearing loss & the agency should
compromise & agree on best communication method


ADA: Reasonable Accommodations




―Reasonable Accommodations‖ allows for provision of accommodations
that are reasonable to all parties: provider and the person who is deaf or
hard of hearing



Because of communication barriers, sign language interpreters, or Assistive
Listening Devices (ALDs) are considered ―reasonable accommodations‖






ADA: Effective Communication
Communication & services between providers and
patients should be equal regardless of hearing loss

Factors in determining accommodation:
• Importance/reason for appointment
• ASL may be their primary language & English may be
their 2
nd
language
• Service being provided
• Number of people involved

ADA: Auxiliary aids
The type of auxiliary aid or service necessary to ensure effective
communication varies in accordance with the method of communication
used by the individual who is deaf or hard of hearing

Nature, Length, and complexity of the situation impacts the service.

Examples of Auxiliary Aids:
• Computer Assisted Real-time Translation (CART)
• Assistive Listening Devices (ALD)
• Qualified sign language interpreter
• Note-takers
• Closed captioning
• TDD/TTY




ADA: Accommodations

• They request an accommodation

• Provider does not have to honor their request

• However, must provide effective communication
& consider their request
ADA: qualified interpreter
According to www.ADA.gov:

A ―qualified interpreter‖ is someone who is able to sign to the
individual who is deaf what is being spoken by the hearing person
and who can voice to the hearing person what is being signed by the
person who is deaf.

Certification is not required if the individual has the necessary skills.
To be qualified, an interpreter must be able to convey
communications effectively, accurately, and impartially, and use any
necessary specialized vocabulary



ADA: qualified interpreter in PA

ADA requires entities to provide effective communication
via qualified interpreter

ADA does not have a clear definition of a ―qualified
interpreter‖

According to the PA law, Interpreter & Transliterator State
Registration Act:

Qualified interpreter = state-registered with ODHH


ADA: Family members and friends
• A public accommodation and entity shall not require an individual
with a disability to bring another individual to interpret for him or
her.

• A public accommodation and entity shall not rely on an adult
accompanying an individual with a disability to interpret or facilitate
communication, except –
(i) In an emergency involving an imminent threat to the safety
or welfare of an individual or the public where there is no
interpreter available; or
(ii) Where the individual with a disability specifically requests
that the accompanying adult interpret or facilitate
communication, the accompanying adult agrees to provide
such assistance, and reliance on that adult for such assistance
is appropriate under the circumstances.
Effective Communication
The bottom line is –

They all have the right to receive effective communication!




Any Questions?


ODHH: Benjamin Moonan, Representative


1-800-233-3008 V/TTY (PA only)

814-792-2381 Phone/ Videophone

814-255-0230 TTY

bmoonan@pa.gov



ODHH: Contact us

1-800-233-3008 V/TTY (PA only)

717-783-4912 V/TTY

717-831-1928 Videophone


Ra-li-ovr-odhh@pa.gov

www.dli.state.pa.us/odhh


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