What kind of services does the NAD provide?
In addition to legal advocacy, we also offer legislative training. We have five youth programs. We have a magazine publication, NADmag, available to members twice a year. We offer information and advocacy support to deaf and hard of hearing people on many issues, including but not limited to: educational rights; communication access at hospitals, doctors’ offices, courthouses, and lawyers offices; waivers for Commercial Driver’s Licenses; housing options; and many more. We have two main events, both biennial — one is our national conference that occurs during even-numbered years, the other event is our NAD Leadership Training Conference (NLTC) which is held during odd-numbered years.
What kind of clients does the NAD work with?
The majority of our clients are deaf and hard of hearing, and we also provide services to parents and other family members of deaf individuals as well as other individuals and organizations that are interested in supporting the rights of deaf and hard of hearing people.
Does the NAD provide financial assistance, student loans, or sponsorships?
The NAD does not provide financial assistance for the purchase of hearing aids, adaptive equipment, goods, or services. We also do not have resources for student loans. Since the NAD is a non-profit organization that seeks funds and donations to support its own operations and events, the NAD is unable to support other causes and events.
However, the NAD does have the Nancy J. Bloch Leadership and Advocacy Scholarship opportunity. Qualified applicants will receive a first-hand experience with government advocacy and legal activism at the National Association of the Deaf Law and Advocacy Center. Qualified applicants will spend the summer working with NAD lawyers and actively participate in advocacy efforts to protect the civil, human and linguistic rights of the American deaf community. Preference will be given to students pursuing careers in law, public policy, nonprofit management or related fields. This scholarship provides a nominal financial stipend to qualified applicants.
Community and Culture
Do you recommend capitalizing the term “Deaf” for an individual or for the community and culture?
Using the capital “D” as in “Deaf Culture” is best used when describing the culture, community, or identity of those who are part of the sign language community and believe in celebrating that they are Deaf. If a person is part of that Deaf Community or Deaf Culture, they may identify as a Deaf person. So the term can be capitalized for both an individual and for the community and culture.
By contrast, using a lower case “d” for the word “deaf” would be often be used as a way to identify a person who has the requisite hearing level to qualify as deaf without knowing for sure whether that person is part of the Deaf Community. When referring to all deaf and hard of hearing people, the lower case is usually used.
What is wrong with the use of the terms “deaf-mute,” “deaf and dumb,” or “hearing impaired”?
Deaf and hard of hearing people have the right to choose what they wish to be called, either as a group or on an individual basis. Overwhelmingly, deaf and hard of hearing people prefer to be called “deaf” or “hard of hearing.” Nearly all organizations for the deaf use the term” deaf and hard of hearing,” and the NAD is no exception. The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) also voted in 1991 to use “deaf and hard of hearing” as an official designation.
Yet there are many people who persist in using terms other than “deaf” and “hard of hearing.” The alternative terms are often seen in print, heard on radio and television, and picked up in casual conversations all over. These terms include “deaf and dumb,” “deaf-mute,” and “hearing-impaired.” The majority of deaf and hard of hearing people feel that these terms are outdated or offensive. Please show your respect by refusing to use these outdated or offensive terms. When in doubt, ask the individual how they identify themselves.
Where can I join an American Sign Language (ASL) class?
Sign language classes can be found at community colleges, universities, libraries, churches, organizations/clubs for the deaf, and more places. You can practice your signs with people who are deaf or hard of hearing and who know ASL. Generally, people who know ASL are patient about showing new signers how to sign different things, the correct way to sign something, and usually, they will slow down their signing so you can understand them too. They are also willing to repeat words or statement if you do not understand them at the first time (or even second) time.
Explore many opportunities here.
What is the preferred term when referring to someone who is deaf — Deaf? Hearing-impaired? — Are they interchangeable?
Deaf and hard of hearing people have the right to choose what they wish to be called, either as a group or on an individual basis. Overwhelmingly, deaf and hard of hearing people prefer to be called “deaf” or “hard of hearing.”
The National Association of the Deaf strongly urges the use of “deaf and hard of hearing” when referring to the community or individuals in the community. Many in our community find other terms outdated and/or offensive including but not limited to: “hearing impaired,” “deaf and dumb,” and “deaf-mute.”
Which is appropriate, “deaf child” or “a child who is deaf”?
For a long time, many in the disability community emphasized “people first” language, although that issue is now a recent topic of debate. By contrast, the deaf and hard of hearing community has always preferred to place an emphasis on our culture first. Consequently, many in our community prefer to use “deaf child” or “hard of hearing child” rather than “a child who is deaf.”
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) believes that being deaf is not a disability but rather a cultural identity and support the identity first approach.
The NAD advocates for the civil, human and linguistic rights of deaf and hard of hearing people. The NAD believes that being deaf is not a disability but rather a cultural identity; however, it is necessary to utilize the current legal framework which extends rights and protections to people with disabilities to achieve equal rights. The rights accorded by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and many other laws (both federal and state) provide deaf and hard of hearing people with ways to achieve communication access on the condition that being deaf or hard of hearing is considered a disability. For that reason, the NAD recognizes that being deaf or hard of hearing is considered a legal disability to secure rights necessary to achieve equality and communication access. “Special needs” is a phrase typically used in “special education” and the NAD prefers to focus on ensuring every deaf and hard of hearing child receives an appropriate placement with the services necessary to ensure a quality education. This includes ensuring that every deaf and hard of hearing child has an appropriate Individualized Education Program that reflects each child’s unique communication needs and development.
Where can I find data/statistics about unemployment, population, age, etc within the deaf and hard of hearing community?
- The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) refers to this source by Johns Hopkins from 2011 which states there are 48 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the U.S.
- U.S. Census Bureau (American Community Survey)
- National Institute on Deafness and Communicative Disorders (National Institute on Health)
- National Deaf Center
Law and Advocacy
The NAD Law and Advocacy Center advocates on public policy issues of concern to the deaf and hard of hearing community, particularly at the national level, and often in collaboration with other national organizations. We provide general legal information about deaf-related issues and discrimination law. We also respond to hundreds of emails and calls every month for information, advocacy support, legal advice, representation, and referral. Our attorneys represent individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing in carefully selected disability discrimination civil rights cases.
Does the NAD Law and Advocacy Center have offices in other states?
The NAD Law and Advocacy Center has only one office, located in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Does the NAD Law and Advocacy Center help hard of hearing people too?
Yes, the NAD Law and Advocacy Center advocates on behalf of and responds to inquiries from deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, and DeafBlind individuals, and their families and friends. Our attorneys also represent individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, or DeafBlind in carefully selected disability discrimination civil rights cases.
Do I have to pay for their legal services?
There is no charge for routine inquiries, information, advocacy support, advice, and referral. Legal representation in carefully selected disability discrimination civil rights cases by NAD Law and Advocacy Center attorneys is provided in accordance with the terms of an attorney-client representation agreement. Courts may award attorney fees and costs (other expenses) to the prevailing (successful) party in civil rights cases. Settlement agreements may also provide for legal fees, costs, or other awards.
Will they take my case?
The NAD Law and Advocacy Center provides legal representation in a few carefully selected disability discrimination civil rights cases. Our attorneys evaluate each complaint individually, considering the law and the facts of each case. Our attorneys may co-counsel with attorneys who are licensed in other states, but only on a limited, court-approved, case-by-case basis. Our attorneys can also consult with attorneys who represent deaf or hard of hearing clients.
We also focuses on public policy issues, particularly at the national level, and provides individuals with information, advocacy support, advice, and referral.
Can I hire a NAD attorney to handle my divorce or other non-disability related legal case?
The NAD Law and Advocacy Center attorneys are only able to take disability discrimination civil rights issues and cases.
How do I find a lawyer in my area?
Some tips to help you find an advocate or lawyer in your state who may be able to help you with discrimination or other legal problem:
- Contact your state’s office that serves people who are deaf or hard of hearing, or the office that serves people with disabilities, for advocacy support and information about advocacy and legal services in your state.
- The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the largest provider of legally-based disability discrimination advocacy services in the United States. There is at least one NDRN office in every state and territory. The nickname for these offices is “Protection and Advocacy” or “P&A.” Go to their website and find the P&A office in your state.
- Your state’s P&A office may be able to help you.
- If your state’s P&A office cannot help you, they may be able to give you names of lawyers in your state who may be able to help you.
- You may prefer a lawyer who is deaf or hard of hearing, a lawyer who understands and is familiar with deaf and hard of hearing people. However, you need a lawyer who is experienced in your type of legal problem. Like doctors, most lawyers have expertise in specific areas of the law. For example, a lawyer who defends people accused of a crime might not be a good choice if you need a divorce. When you contact lawyers, ask them if they have experience with your kind of legal problem. If they do not, ask them if they can recommend a lawyer who can handle your kind of legal problem.
- If you and your lawyer have trouble communicating, ask the lawyer to provide an interpreter, captioning, or other way to communicate effectively with you. If the lawyer does not know about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ask the lawyer to contact the NAD Law and Advocacy Center.
- Search the Internet for your state’s name and the words “bar association” (the association for lawyers licensed in your state) (for example, search for “Maryland Bar Association”). Most state bar associations have a “lawyer referral” program. They may give you the names of several lawyers who handle your type of legal problem. Often, there will be a low cost for the first consultation. After you meet the lawyer, the lawyer will explain his or her usual fee arrangements and you can decide if you want to hire that lawyer. If you are unemployed or have a very low income, you may be eligible for free legal help from your local legal aid society, legal services office, or a nearby law school’s legal clinic program. If you are charged with a crime, you may be eligible for a court-appointed lawyer or public defender.
- Explore How to Find and Work with a Lawyer or contact the NAD Law and Advocacy Center.
How do I file a discrimination complaint?
The NAD strongly encourages every individual to file complaints when you experience discrimination. When no one complains, the discrimination will probably continue. When no one complains, enforcement agencies don’t know there is a problem and will not take steps to correct it.
It is up to all of us to try to correct discriminatory practices. When you file a complaint, you also raise awareness that there is discrimination taking place. When many people file complaints, enforcement agencies are more likely to take action to stop the discrimination.
How and where to file a complaint depends on many factors. Most complaint rules have time limits for filing a complaint, so don’t wait to file your complaint later. You can explore some resources to learn how to file a complaint — the page lists many (not all) possible situations, be sure to select one that applies to your situation. You may have additional rights under federal and state law.
Filing a complaint requires you to tell a story about what happened. Most times, a complaint is a letter explaining the incident. However, some agencies have complaint form. Your complaint may include a copy of any documents that show what happened, such as e-mail communications, letters, notes, pictures faxes, and video recordings. If you need help writing or filing your complaint, you can contact the agency that handles your kind of complaint.
I am a service provider, do I need to pay for interpreter and other accommodations for a deaf or hard of hearing client/patient?
Businesses and services providers must ensure effective communication with people who are deaf or hard of hearing under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This federal law applies to a wide range of “places of public accommodation,” including retail stores and the wide range of service businesses such as hotels, theaters, restaurants, doctors’ and lawyers’ offices, optometrists, dentists, banks, insurance agencies, museums, parks, libraries, day care centers, recreational programs, social service agencies and private schools. It covers both profit and non-profit organizations. Places of public accommodation must give persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in and to benefit from their services. They must modify their policies and practices when necessary to provide equal access to services and facilities. In order to provide equal access, all public accommodations are required to provide auxiliary aids and services, such as qualified interpreters or captioning, when necessary to ensure effective communication.
Auxiliary aids and services must be provided unless the entity can demonstrate that doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, or would constitute an undue burden (significant difficulty or expense). Whether or not a particular auxiliary aid or service constitutes an undue burden depends on a variety of factors, including the nature and cost of the auxiliary aid or service, and the overall financial and other resources of the business. The undue burden standard is applied on a case-by-case basis. Undue burden is not measured by the amount of income the business is receiving from a deaf or hard of hearing client, patient, customer, or member of the public. Instead, undue burden is measured by the overall financial impact on the whole entity. Therefore, it is possible for a business to be responsible for providing auxiliary aids and services even if it does not make a sale or receive income from a deaf or hard of hearing person, if the cost of the auxiliary aid or service would not be an undue burden on its overall operation.
For more information, see ADA Title III: Public Accommodations.
State and local government agencies and service providers must ensure effective communication with people who are deaf or hard of hearing under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This federal law applies to all types of state and local government agencies, including courts, schools, social service agencies, legislatures, commissions and councils, recreational facilities, libraries, and state/county/city departments and agencies of all kinds. It applies to activities that are administered directly by government agencies, and to activities that are carried out by private subcontractors. Under the ADA, state and local agencies are required to give equal access and equally effective services to people with disabilities. They may not deny people an opportunity to participate in their programs, or give them an opportunity that is less effective than the opportunity given to others. Often, the public entity must provide qualified interpreters, captioning, and other auxiliary aids to ensure effective communication with deaf or hard of hearing people. The appropriate auxiliary aid depends on many factors, such as the type of communication used by the individual and the situation in which the communication occurs. An auxiliary aid that is appropriate for one person, or in one context, may be useless in another setting or for a person with a different type of hearing loss.
For more information, see ADA Title II: State and Local Government Services.
Public and private entities and service providers that are recipients of federal financial assistance have obligations to ensure effective communication with people who are deaf or hard of hearing under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which provides:
No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States…shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…
29 U.S.C. § 794(a).
These obligations under Section 504 are very similar to the obligations under the ADA described above.
For more information, please contact the NAD Law and Advocacy Center.
I’m a deaf person studying in the medical field, but my school or company does not know how to accommodate me, what do I do?
We recommend that you contact a group of deaf medical professionals as they may have ideas on such resources, http://amphl.org/.
I’m not receiving TRS accommodations, what can I do?
The NAD seeks to ensure that all places of public accommodations understand their legal obligations with respect to dealing with deaf and hard of hearing individuals who use telecommunications relay services (TRS). The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has clear mandates requiring places of public accommodation to provide effective communication to clients who are deaf and hard of hearing, including over the telephone. Public accommodations who run afoul of such provisions are subject to legal action and have been the focus of investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
The NAD Youth Programs include Jr. NAD, Youth Leadership Camp (YLC), Youth Ambassador Program, College Bowl, and National Deaf Youth Day. Through its Youth Programs, the NAD strives to develop scholarship, citizenship, and leadership qualities.
I don’t have any Jr. NAD chapters near me, can I still go to the Youth Leadership Camp?
Yes, you can still apply to attend YLC! If interested in establishing a Jr NAD chapter, you can reach out to the NAD Youth Programs to learn how. YLC is an extension of the Jr. NAD program – the YLC experience will help you to make the chapter active throughout the year and in the future.
What are some virtual touch points you offer?
We encourage corporations to consider becoming a strategic web partner to take advantage of many possible virtual touch points.
Our website receives about 80k visitors per month and spends an average of two minutes on our website. We receive about 1,300 inquiries per year, most of which we direct to our website. Our website provides resources for deaf and hard of hearing people, hearing parents of deaf children, educators, administrators, employers, employees, lawmakers, state associations of the deaf, non-profit organizations, commissions for the deaf and hard of hearing, and more. Our content includes American Sign Language (ASL) videos to ensure quality and accessible information for our community.
Our Facebook page has 52k followers, generating an average of 1.6 million minutes viewed on our videos in 2019. Our Twitter page has 21k followers. Our Instagram page has 24k followers. Our YouTube has 5k subscribers. Our LinkedIn page has 6.5k followers. All of our social media content is accessible with captioning and transcripts/visual descriptions.
As a web partner, you have access to additional visibility opportunities!
- Shared content on our Social Media platforms
- Donation match campaign on Social Media
- Brief blurb in the monthly eBlasts to all our subscribers
- Four web articles shared on NAD.org and sent to all our organizational affiliates
- Display your company’s logo, mission, and why you want to support the NAD placed inside the NAD Headquarters’ Lobby
- Provide the NAD Staff training on a concept, product, or important topic
- Free full-page ad in two NADmag issues
If you are interested in becoming a strategic web partner, please let us know!
Where can I advertise my product?
The NADmag is a full colored magazine that is published two times per year. We accept display ads for products/services as well as employment ads. You can find advertising information and rates here.
Do you have an online store?
The NAD publishes and distributes titles published by the NAD. We are in the process of setting up an online store to allow interested people to purchase different items, books, clothing, and so on. If you are looking for a specific title that we have published, please email [email protected] and we will send you pricing information and availability for the titles requested.