Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services
DRC works as an advocate for D/deaf, hard of hearing, latened deaf, deaf-blind to request and ensure the provision of appropriate accommodations for effective communication. For those who believe they may have been denied access to effective communication under the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, or other federal or state laws. We can provide consultation and information regarding the complaint process and other avenues of recourse.
For more information on the ADA and Accommodations for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons in medical settings, download this booklet:
Educational Pamphlet Regarding Medical Practices, Deaf Patients, and Federal Laws
DRC provides education about deafness to the eight (8) counties we serve (Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, and Washington) through outreach presentations available upon request. We also have a Business Partnership Program to provide educational materials to businesses and other organizations about using the Florida Relay Service (711) to communicate with hard of hearing and deaf individuals on the phone. Our ongoing effort to create community awareness about persons who are hard of hearing or deaf is accomplished through presentations to civic clubs, neighborhood and professional associations, businesses, churches, and schools. We also participate in health fairs and community expos.
Through the provision of DRC's qualified and/or certified sign language interpreters, D/deaf consumers are provided effective communication during medical appointments, mental health counseling, government agency meetings and other public services. For this service, please print and fill out the DRC Interpreter Request Form. The form can then be mailed, emailed to email@example.com or faxed to Carol, our Deaf Services coordinator. In the future if there is sufficient area interest, we would like to offer workshops for local sign language interpreters so that they can improve their expressive and receptive interpreting skills. DRC maintains a DVD and book loan library for area interpreters. Topics include Idioms, signing to children, medical terminology, improving expressive and receptive skills, and finger spelling practice.
ADA Effective Communication - Title III in ASL:
DRC recognizes the need to provide a variety of support services to D/deaf individuals and families with D/deaf or hard of hearing family members, and to empower D/deaf or hard of hearing clients who need assistance in overcoming any communication barrier and accessing community resources. This is accomplished through information exchange and referral to appropriate service providers throughout the Central Panhandle of Florida. DRC is considered by many as a central source of information on deafness, sign language, communication systems, interpreting, and adaptive and accessibility equipment for deaf and hard of hearing individuals.
In order to assist D/deaf and hard of hearing individuals who are unemployed or underemployed, our offices have partnered with and have a close working relationship with Vocational Rehabilitation, Goodwill, CareerSource, and other employment related businesses/agencies to provide assistance towards adequate employment to D/deaf and hard of hearing people. DRC office provides printed material related to finding and maintaining employment from our loan library. DRC offers sensitivity training to employers who have D/deaf and hard of hearing individuals on staff.
Local & Regional Deaf Groups on Social Media:
NW Florida Deaf Events: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1808608929354556
Wiregrass Association of the Deaf-Dothan, Ala https://www.facebook.com/groups/147156342128815
Pensacola Deaf Community https://www.facebook.com/groups/1443041952414000
Mobile Deaf Community https://www.facebook.com/groups/1443041952414000
Our Deaf Services coordinator, Carol Davis, can be reached on VP at (850) 387-1800 or on voice line at (850) 769-6890 extension 305, or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
GRIEVANCE AND COMPLAINT PROCEDURES
Consumers may file a complaint with Disability Rights Florida Client Assistance Program (CAP) by mail: 2473 Care Drive; Suite 200; Tallahassee, Florida 32308, or by phone: (800) 342-0823 (Toll Free). Their website is: https://disabilityrightsflorida.org/ .
In addition to or instead, consumers may follow the DRC procedures listed below.
The follow procedures have been developed for consumers who are not satisfied with DRC services and/or staff:
In the event a consumer, parent, or legal guardian of a consumer experiences a problem related to their program at DRC, the consumer, parent, or legal guardian must first attempt to resolve the problem with the immediate DRC staff with whom he/she is working.
If a satisfactory solution is not achieved by working with the staff person, the consumer, parent, or legal guardian may submit a written request to bring the matter before the Executive Director. In such a case, a copy of the request must be given to the staff person involved. Such a request shall include a detailed description of the problem and the course of action that has been taken prior to the request to resolve the conflict.
If a satisfactory solution is not achieved by working with the Executive Director, the consumer, parent, or legal guardian may submit a written request to the Chairperson of the Board of Directors. The mailing address is Chairman of the Board of Directors; 300 W. 5th Street; Panama City, Florida 32401. A copy of this request shall be given to the Executive Director. The matter will be considered and acted upon by the Board, whose decision shall be finale.
When the desires of the consumer differ from those of a relative, the rights and wishes of the consumer shall take precedence if the consumer has attained the age of legal majority and had not been determined mentally incompetent.