Tricia Leakey is the Auxiliary Services Manager for the Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, effective April 23, 2018. The Auxiliary Services Program secures qualified auxiliary services (e.g., sign language interpreting, CART services, or assistive listening systems) for Colorado’s deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind to ensure effective communication in the Colorado State Courts, probation, and court-ordered treatment. Tricia holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and relied on auxiliary services throughout her education. She has several years of experience in project management, worked with several deaf-focused entities, served as a law clerk at the Colorado Supreme Court and Colorado Court of Appeals, and worked as an Assistant Attorney General for three years at the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. A writer, she has a novel in progress about deaf education in Indiana. Tricia enjoys reading, writing, history, the great Colorado outdoors, and spending time with her family.
CCDHH welcomes Ms. Leakey to the team!
Previous articles focused on how to self-advocate for access to medical service providers and the use of Video Remote interpreters in medical settings. The easy to follow chart below follows Federal guidelines for determining when the use of VRI is appropriate for effective communication:
‘Secret Shopping’ is not the term that you hear too often. What does secret shopping mean? Secret shoppers are instructed to make a purchase or navigate through a public facility in order to evaluate a facility’s or program’s products and services.
CCDHH Outreach Consultants have applied the secret shopping concept to evaluate the provision of effective communication by governmental programs. A recent evaluation of access to a state agency involved a deaf consumer. The deaf consumer (CCDHH Outreach Consultant) entered the facility and when identifying himself as deaf to the security guard, he was escorted to another person who allowed him to bypass the waiting line and took him by the arm leading him to an employee who would provide the service he requested.
A request was made to communicate via paper and pencil, but the employee did not have a pen or notepad readily available. Although the Outreach Consultant was only asked a few questions, the interaction took approximately 20 minutes. The Consultant was then told to wait in another location to complete the transaction. As a deaf person, the Consultant waited for 20 minutes to see if his name had been called and was advised that his name had been called out several times, but unfortunately he missed his turn.
At that point, the CCDHH representatives met with administrators to advise them that we had just conducted an evaluation of effectiveness of their services for a deaf person and shared the Consultant’s experience as a deaf consumer of their services. After sharing what was determined to be barriers to effective communication, it was agreed that this experience would be shared with their administrators during a CCDHH sponsored training on how to provide culturally affirmative services for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind.
The CCDHH is in the process of finalizing its five-year strategic plan for Fiscal Year 2018-19 through Fiscal Year 2022-23. As a set of guiding principles that establishes a collective focus and action plan for a group over a period of time, this strategic plan will shape the work of the agency for the next five years in all areas of operations. Considering that the agency has doubled in size and scope since the previous strategic plan was commissioned in 2010; careful thought and consideration went into developing an updated strategic plan. Staff and Commissioners especially wanted to ensure services reached every corner of the state of Colorado and that outreach efforts increase awareness of the services provided by the agency.
The strategic plan development progress began with a nearly year-long process of conducting a needs assessment, surveying the Colorado community and its stakeholders, internal discussions, a Commission retreat, and a review of the previous strategic plan for analyzing goals and gauging, approximately how much time will be needed for their completion. The strategic plan draft has five major areas of focus (the list is not prioritized):
Each area of focus has several goals that tie back to the overall vision of CCDHH envision a barrier free Colorado, “and the mission”, to be an agent of change for a sustainable statewide network of resources, dedicated to cultural and linguistic equality. The area of focus on technology will cover the Telecommunications Equipment Distribution Program/National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, trainings, and accessibility. Whereas, the area of focus on accountability will include establishing stakeholder feedback system for Auxiliary Services, inter-organizational communication, development of a quality assurance program for interpreting, as well as include program monitoring. In terms of education and empowerment, the four goals include educating governmental agencies and other entities about the Support Service Provider (SSP) program, expansion and dissemination of information, provision of online trainings for multiple stakeholders, and updating all agency materials. Another areas of focus include intersectionality and community; peer system navigation, culture affirmative training for all staff and commissioners, and targeted outreach to historically underserved populations are the associated goals. Also, the blueprint for a future area of focus covers the grant program, communications and systems access, expansion of programs and services, staffing, and collaboration with other agencies/organizations.
CCDHH is prepared to finalize the new Strategic Plan and share it with the community it serves and its stakeholders sometime in May 2018. Thank you to the Commissioners for their hard work, crafting this plan, and shaping the future of CCDHH.
CCDHH, in collaboration with the DeafBlind Task Force, is pleased to host a forum for the deafblind community and its stakeholders. This forum will cover several relevant topics, including the potential creation of a statewide Deafblind Citizens Council under the Commission of CCDHH.
The forum will be held on Saturday, June 9, 2018, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Malley Senior Recreation Center, 3380 S. Lincoln Street, Englewood, CO 80113.
Accommodations (interpreters, CART, auxiliary aids and Support Service Providers) and lunch will be provided.
Come and join the forum and learn about resources and technology for improving access, join the discussion about the roadmap and existing solutions to transportation barriers and consider applying to be a representative in the new Deafblind Citizens Council.
Anticipate a flyer regarding this forum soon.
The next quarterly Commission meeting will be held from 4:00 to 5:50 p.m. on Thursday, June 7, 2018 at Denver Police Department 1311 W. 46th Avenue Denver, CO 80211.
Click the link for agenda of the meeting and community forum.
There will be an information sharing and discussion regarding two potential pilot programs for coordination and provision of auxiliary services to state agencies within the Executive Branch and constituents in rural areas by CCDHH during the community forum between 6:05 and 7:00 p.m.
Your participation in the discussion will assist CCDHH greatly in its implementation of the pilot programs.