Delegates representing state association affiliates, eligible nonprofit organization affiliates and other groups voted on top priorities for 2016-2018 during the 53rd Biennial NAD Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Most are tied to the Vision 2020 Strategic Plan; the NAD Board of Directors is responsible for follow up action. Periodic reports on progress will be posted here.
The Official 2016-2018 Conference Top Priorities (5) are as follows:
Priority Code: 2016-AZ-PUB-003
After the conclusion of the employment resources center task force, NAD shall through coordination or partnership with other organizations; NAD shall take the lead in establishing a National Employment Resource Center for Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf with additional disabilities and Hard of Hearing individuals covering both private and public sectors.
Current economic conditions have made it harder for many Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals seeking employment. Too often, Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf with Additional Disabilities and Hard of Hearing individuals are passed over in favor of their co-workers for promotion for various reasons. Rapid technology changes have made it harder for many employers to keep track of available accommodations solutions they could utilize. Employers are overwhelmed with the changing landscape whether it's in legislation, or technology. Exacerbating this gap is the fact that no one-stop shop does exist for employers seeking resources including available ASL and cultural awareness materials to further educate themselves as to the needs of Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals and identifying potential solutions.
Priority Code: 2016-AZ-GOV-005
The NAD shall enhance its information clearinghouse and communications strategy by taking these steps:
- The NAD shall conduct an NAD.org website refresh that prominently positions, front and center, a central information clearinghouse for parents and families of Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf with Additional Disabilities and Hard of Hearing children.
- The NAD shall enhance NAD.org's search engine optimization (SEO) and targeted link exchange campaign.
- The NAD shall enhance its communications strategy and expand its celebrity spokesperson team by inviting additional celebrities from the entertainment, government, business and/or other industries to serve as organizational spokespersons; and obtain permission and authorization to use their name and likeness.
- The NAD shall design, develop and disseminate a series of media campaigns leveraging existing social media platforms to effectively communicate messages from the spokesperson team and for the purpose of information dissemination, fundraising and creating political currency.
- The NAD shall design, develop and disseminate to the media a set of journalistic and media style guidelines promoting the universal use of the capitalized “D”eaf to represent all subsets of our community in recognition of our community’s human right to learn and use American Sign Language.
- The NAD shall, through coordination or partnership with other organizations, take the lead in establishing a National Data Resource Center to collect data and statistics to document, support and make data driven decisions that will focus in the areas of civil, human and linguistic rights of Deaf Americans. Areas of research and data collection shall include, but not be limited to the short- and long-term impacts of language acquisition and development, communication modalities and types of education received on employment, reliance on federal and state funding (e.g., welfare benefits and mental health services).
- NAD.org needs to be the go-to information source of parents and families of Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf with Additional Disabilities and Hard of Hearing children.
- SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid and paid results; and is used to drive traffic, parents, learners, the medical community, donors and other stakeholders to an organization’s website.
- Targeted linkage reaches out to the online community to find a target audience and build a network.
- Celebrity sells. The mass appeal of celebrities can motivate the American public to identify with and favorably respond to an organization’s mission and core values. Nonprofits who secure celebrity spokespersons or endorsements count on a positive response to their name and image to drive people to support their cause and provide funding.
- With the growing need for data driven decisions, it has become necessary for the NAD to take the lead in developing a National Data Resource Center to assist the NAD and State Associations in various legislation related to civil, human and linguistic rights of Deaf Americans. Currently, there is no one-stop shop for advocates seeking resources to drive decision-making processes and educate decision makers as to the short- and long-term impacts of their decisions. Without centralization of data, this leaves the NAD and State Associations vulnerable to opposition as we address state and federal legislation to address educational and socio- and neuro-linguistic development.
Priority Code: 2016-AZ-PUB-007
The NAD is to create legal strategies and action regarding children who are removed from 1) Deaf parent(s) home who are either themselves Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf with Additional Disabilities and Hard of Hearing and 2) Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf with Additional Disabilities and Hard of Hearing Children removed from hearing homes.
Decisions to remove children from homes and placed in the CPS system are not consistent throughout the United States and often depend on the individual caseworker. Knowledge and willingness to adhere to best practices for children whose first language is ASL is not consistently adhered to. Hearing children removed from Deaf homes are often placed in homes where the primary spoken language is English. Depending on the process of reunification, parents and children are losing their bonding time – which affects the bonding assessments. As with the Deaf children being removed from their (deaf or hearing) family, the state becomes the legal guardian. The state’s lack of awareness on the deaf child’s needs will impact the child’s education growth and medical needs. The child may be at risk of being deprived of their human rights and access to American Sign Language. The National Association of the Deaf has published position statements and we are in need of a CPS legal strategy team to address serious issues with the CPS system. The CPS legal strategy team will come up with strategies that will be used on state level collaborating with State Associations and/or Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Priority Code: 2016 AZ-PUB-015 (MERGED)
- The NAD shall support the successful nationwide LEAD-K initiative for the purpose of ending language, cultural, and physical/emotional deprivation. The NAD shall also seek to convene a national coalition led by LEAD-K and the NAD and consist of select organizations committed to the inclusion and preservation of American Sign Language as a human right in the United States of America.
- The NAD shall also, through collaboration with State Associations and affiliates, aggressively promote and disseminate research and testimony challenging related propaganda/falsehoods to target audiences including the general public, parents of Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf with Disabilities and Hard of Hearing children, and the medical community. The NAD shall also communicate to external stakeholders the importance of baby sign language and how it positively impacts future language acquisition and development.
- Using data-driven research available, the NAD and LEAD-K shall design, develop, implement and maintain a collaborative strategy to have nationwide Deaf educational and advocacy organizations and programs include and preserve American Sign Language as an inherent human right in their organizational and programmatic missions and core values. An important component of this strategy is to ensure that organizations advocate teaching sign language to all Deaf and Hard of Hearing babies.
- The NAD and LEAD-K shall explore the feasibility of developing and executing a legislative strategy towards Federal and state legislation recognizing the American Deaf community as a protected class with the inherent right to learn and use American Sign Language and English.
- The NAD and LEAD-K shall explore the feasibility of developing and executing a legislative strategy towards enacting and/or amending Federal and state legislation requiring national- and state-based Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI), LRE/ IDEA and other programs to recognize, include and preserve American Sign Language as an inherent human right.
- The NAD and LEAD-K shall rally the American Deaf community to join the movement and educate members as to their roles and responsibilities.
- LEAD-K is a successful community initiative that should be a part of the NAD organization.
- A coalition is a temporary alliance or partnering of groups in order to achieve a common purpose. Coalition building is the process by which parties come together to form a coalition. Forming coalitions with other groups of similar values, interests and goals allows members to combine resources and become more powerful than when they each acted alone.
- Research efforts recognize that early ASL acquisition positively affects Deaf children’s cognitive, social and economic development and literacy skills. Language and cultural deprivation must end for it has negative effects whereas sign language acquisition and participation in the American Deaf community have overwhelmingly positive effects.
Priority Code: 2016-AZ-PUB-016
The NAD to partner with relevant federal agencies, universities, and/or SAMSHA to develop mental health training program and to create a communication hub that focuses on mental health related issues with resources on preventative care, mental health and wellness programs, and relevant information for Deaf users by providing information in ASL. The goal is to inform the public, including the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community on mental health related issues and to advocate for more bilingual Mental Health Clinicians (i.e., from Gallaudet University) to fill in vacancies across the country.
Creation of Mental Health Training Program -- As described above, the majority of the Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf with Additional Disabilities and Hard of Hearing population are not receiving culturally and linguistically appropriate Mental Health Services, and that is due to lack of qualified clinicians available despite job vacancies that are specifically created to work with D/HH/DB consumers. Having another ASL-centered training program will help expand the numbers of qualified clinicians to fill the job vacancies across the county.
Communication Hub on Health Related Information -- Communication access is the vital on improving awareness in healthcare among the Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf with Additional Disabilities and Hard of Hearing communities. Many individuals do not receive full or adequate communication access in the healthcare setting that leads to unhealthy lifestyles.
- Centralized healthcare information
- Increases awareness
- Improves self-advocacy
- Bridge societal and environmental barriers
- Enhances decision making
- Maximizes access
- Reinforces individuals independence
- Improves quality of life
- Increases health care literacy