720 457 3679
1575 Sherman Street
Denver, CO 80203

November 2017

Welcome to the Navigator!

Welcome to our newsletter… We want to let you all know that the Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing staff had a discussion and decided to pick a new name for our newsletter. What is it? The Navigator.

Why did we pick that name? We feel the name describes our work. You know sometimes when you are on a journey and face an obstacle you have to take a different route to navigate towards your destination. It is the same with our work, when we face obstacles, we work together to find ways to overcome them and continue our work towards accomplishing our goals.

That’s why we picked this title for our newsletter. Thanks!

Luke Adams

Luke Adams is Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing’s new Outreach Consultant – Specialty: Hard of Hearing. He is an alum of Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind and Rochester Institute of Technology, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice.

As the first deaf contestant and three-time competitor on the globetrotting travel show, The Amazing Race, he teamed up with his mother, Margie, and made it to the finale, finishing in third place in the first appearance on the show. Luke and Margie went on to compete in two more All-Star seasons of The Amazing Race. While faced with numerous barriers as a deaf person, he learned how to persevere by self-advocating for solutions.

After working at the New Mexico Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and assistive technology agencies in Anchorage, Alaska, Luke came back to his home state, Colorado, in 2017 and began employment with the Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Luke provides training and consultation on topics such as effective communication, linguistic competencies, law and regulations, effective access to programs and services, and more for Colorado stakeholders, including state and local governmental agencies, community-based organizations and places of public accommodations.

Luke can be reached at luke.adams@state.co.us or 720-949-7482 if you need resources related to hard of hearing or assistance.

Ryan Odland

Ryan Odland joined the team at CCDHH in his new position as the Outreach Consultant representing deafblind stakeholders. Ryan is best known for his work with his previous employer, Helen Keller National Center, as the Regional Representative serving the Rocky Mountain Region. He is a Midwest native from the state of Minnesota. Ryan holds a bachelor degree in Psychology from Rochester Institute of Technology and a master degree in deaf education from Gallaudet University. Ryan is deafblind and an advocate for equal access to promote the quality lifestyle in the community of choice.

Awarded Grantees:

CCDHH is pleased to announce that five out of seven grant applications were selected for fiscal year 2018. Five applications (summarized below) were approved for funding for a total of $40,427.

Name:     Deaf Overcoming Violence through Empowerment

Amount: $9,527

Project:   Start-up of a new therapy program

Deaf Overcoming Violence through Empowerment (DOVE) is partnering with Jessica Dallman, MA LPC, of Natural Wisdom Counseling and Happy Dog Ranch Foundation, Inc. to sustain and expand the existing equine group therapy experience for deaf, deafblind, deafdisabled, and hard-of-hearing survivors of abuse, as well as to address trauma among children, kids of deaf adults (KODAs) and within deaf, deafblind, deafdisabled and hard-of-hearing populations.

Name:     Feel the Beat

Amount: $10,000

Project:   Start-up of a new creative arts education

Feel the Beat, a dance studio for deaf and hard-of-hearing community, will focus on building a culture where children can learn and experience the art of dance in their native language, along with an opportunity to connect with their peers. Curriculum that incorporates a combination of touch, musical vibrations, sign language, and specially constructed tools to aid in the experience of music and dance will be used.

Name:    Hearing Loss Association of America – Colorado Springs Chapter

Amount: $900

Project:  Communication access for the chapter meetings

This very moderate grant will enable the Colorado Springs Chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) to hold nine (9) meetings and educational programs with Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) service.

Name:     Northwest Colorado Center for Independence

Amount: $10,000

Project:   Outreach program

The Northwest Colorado Center for Independence will increase the Deaf Independent Living Coordinator’s time to build awareness about communication accessibility in rural northwest Colorado and implement strategies to address needs of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. This work will include both individual system navigating and systems-change effort.

Name:    Rocky Mountain Deaf School

Amount: $10,000

Project:  Toddler program

The Rocky Mountain Deaf School (RMDS), a bilingual charter school, will utilize the fund to build American Sign Language (ASL) resources and support for its toddler program. This will enable RMDS to 1) develop ASL videos for families to use, 2) support families with acquisition of ASL, 3) share reading materials, including ASL videos with families, and 4) provide professional development to toddler program staff and video project coordinator.

Have Public Transportation Concerns? Share with us!

Regional Transportation District (RTD) established the Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities earlier this year. The first advisory meeting was held on August 31st, followed by another meeting on September 28th. Ryan Odland was invited to serve a two years term on the advisory council representing the deafblind stakeholders. Extending the opportunity to the deaf and hard of hearing community, Ryan welcomes input from deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind stakeholders. Do you have concerns about accessibility with public transportation including Access-A-Ride service, City and Commuter Bus, Commuter Rail, Light Rail? We want to hear from you! Please help us improve the public transportation system.

Seabeck Camp

I had the opportunity to attend Deafblind Retreat in Seabeck, Washington which is located close to Seattle, Washington. The DeafBlind Retreat took place on August 26th through September 2nd, 2017. There were over 70 DeafBlind individuals and 150 volunteers in attendance. This year the DeafBlind Retreat marked the 39th year of the annual gathering of DeafBlind individuals from the different parts of the country as well as some countries around the globe. What impressed me the most about the DeafBlind Retreat is that entire camp program was run by the team exclusively made up of DeafBlind staff. The core team consisted of 4 DeafBlind individuals, who have involved in the program management. They have different roles, but they worked together as a team and made decisions together daily. From what I saw, their approach in leadership was successful and efficient.I gained rich experience as a Support Service Provider volunteer. I learned a lot about (1) myself as an individual, (2) deafblind culture, and (3) the role of an SSP. Before I went to the camp, I had little experience as an SSP to truly capture what it means to be one. Additionally, I understood only a fraction about deafblind. Not only that I learned so much about the deafblind culture. I developed my skills in using Pro-Tactile American Sign Language (PTASL) to support DeafBlind individuals in communication and sharing of environmental information. I enjoyed learning about PTASL and how to use it, I continue to use it at work with my co-worker, Ryan Odland. Through this experience, I learned to become more receptive to touch and use touch to express myself. Touching helps DeafBlind individuals become aware of what is happening around them and in the immediate environment. For example, when I join a table with DeafBlind people I will connect my knee to their knees. That way they will know I am present. For anyone considering to become an SSP or already an SSP under the CCDHH SSP Program, I strongly recommend to sign up as a volunteer for the DeafBlind Retreat next year. It will significantly enhance your skills as a volunteer (and as an SSP) working with DeafBlind folks here in Colorado. More information about the Seabeck DeafBlind Retreat will be available in January 2018.

Community Needs Assessment for Persons who are DeafBlind

CCDHH will be conducting a survey in the part of our needs assessment to capture the accessibility gaps preventing a person who is deafblind from equal and full participation in their community. The survey consists of questions about access to community services, employment, healthcare, recreation, and transportation. The process is intended to replace the Fiscal Year 2015 DeafBlind Task Force Roadmap to reflect the current trends in the DeafBlind Community within the State of Colorado. The survey will be distributed to deafblind individuals. CCDHH will compile information from the survey responses received and make the aggregated data available at the strategic planning meeting in January. A meeting announcement will be sent to deafblind community members and stakeholders in November.

VR Professional Development – How to work with DeafBlind

Through the collaborative partnership with several agencies including CCDHH, Helen Keller National Center, Marion Downs Hearing Loss Center, and University of Northern Colorado, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation held a two full days workshop to provide information and training how to work with deafblind customers. The training was designed to acclimate the rehabilitation counselors and teachers on various communication strategies and instructional techniques. Four deafblind individuals were invited to participate on the panel to share their experience about employment and accommodations. The following topics were addressed in the two days sequence:

  • Etiology on Hearing and Vision Losses
  • Communication Strategies and the Use of Interpreters
  • Working with Youth: Transition Services
  • Overview on Support Service Provider
  • Orientation and Mobility
  • Assistive Technology and iCanConnect Program

Notice of quarterly commission meeting and community forum:

There will be an information sharing and discussion regarding Colorado Daylight Partnership’s (CDP) new initiative, Integrated Care, during the community forum from 5:30 and 7 p.m..

Integrated Care is the systemic coordination of general and behavioral healthcare. Integrating mental health, substance abuse and primary care services usually produces the best outcomes and proves to be the most effective approach to caring for people with multiple healthcare needs.

Your participation in the discussion will assist CDP greatly in its development of an action plan to efficiently serve deaf, hard-of-hearing and deafblind consumers within Integrated Care in the metro Denver area. Issues could include your comfort level use of video relay interpreting (VRI) during your doctor appointments, access to hearing assistive technology, how to ensure you receive behavioral health support while you are in the integrated care system, etc.

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