April 8, 2016 MNCDHH Announcements

MNCDHH Newsletter

April 8, 2016 |  Advocating for communication access and equal opportunity with the 20% of Minnesotans who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing.


MSP has VRI at all Information Booths

A VRI interpreter is visible within a tablet. He is signing 'interpreter.'

MNCDHH is pleased to announce that MSP Airport has placed tablets with a Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) application at all information booths at their airport. VRI is a technical solution to providing interpreting services through the use of high-speed Internet, a device such as a tablet, and qualified interpreters. The airport has released the following statement, 

"Traveler's Assistance, a program of the Airport Foundation MSP, has introduced tablets at their information booths located throughout MSP International Airport. The tablets can connect to a VRI (Video Remote Interpreter) service called Cyracom. This allows volunteers at the information booths to provide services to individuals using American Sign Language.  Tools such as these help us to enhance the travel experience for all 35,000,000 guests passing through our airport every year."

VRI is now located at information booths in non-secure areas of the airport (such as ticketing) and in secure areas (past security) to assist deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing travelers who use ASL for any questions they may have.  

MNCDHH has been working with MSP Airport for years with the mutual goal of creating one of the most accessible airports in the world. In 2014, MNCDHH and MSP Airport created a permanent travelers with disabilities advisory group.

Andrew Palmberg, a former intern at MNCDHH and current architectural drafter and ADA specialist at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT), is MNCDHH's representative on the advisory group. VRI is one of the goals created by the traveler's advisory group. Congratulations on reaching this significant milestone! 

[Image description: A tablet is propped upright on a marbled counter-top. Onscreen is a male interpreter who is wearing a black shirt and a phone headpiece. He is signing the word, 'interpreter.']

Text to 911: Need Individuals for Interviews

An iPhone with many apps, placed on a paper-covered table

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division (DHHSD) and the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans (MNCDHH) are partnering with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) on a promotion campaign related to Text to 911. Right now, the projected date to roll-out Text to 911 in Minnesota is the end of 2016. The month of April is National 911 Public Education Month, so DPS wants to begin promoting Text to 911 to individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have dual vision and hearing loss. 

DPS is looking for deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing individuals who have personally experienced challenges calling 911 in the past, and are willing to be interviewed (and possibly filmed) about their experiences. 

Anyone interested should contact either Marie Koehler or Anne Sittner Anderson.

[Image description: Image of a black iPhone with many apps on the screen, placed on top of sheets of paper, on top of a wooden desk.]


MNCDHH's exhibit table at Deaf Nation with people surrounding it

We got the statistics back from DeafNation! 

2,100+ attendees, 54 booths

We (Community Outreach Specialist Emory K. Dively and Communications Coordinator Anne Sittner Anderson) had an amazing time interacting with everyone. We did the following:

* introduced our new brochures and closed captioning materials, 
* showed our vlogs with legislative agenda/updates and our strategic 5 year plan, 
* and we recorded personal narratives on voting for our upcoming digital storytelling project. (Watch for more information on that project.)

We would like to thank Commission Members: Tracy Ivy, Nancy Diemer, Kathryn Rose and Jason Valentine for working at the booth with us.

MNCDHH will be attending 2 more events this April:

* the 2016 MRID Spring Conference, hosted by the Minnesota Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (MRID), on April 9th and 10th. The conference is called, "The African American Experience: A Perspective on Language, Culture, and Race." It will be presented by Carlos Grant, NIC and has an amazing lineup of panelists. MNCDHH is also the primary sponsor for this conference;

* and Deaf Awareness Day, hosted by Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens (MADC), on April 23, 2016. There will be many vendors, product demonstrations, children's activities and concessions.

We hope to see many community members and allies at these events!  

[Image description: Emory K. Dively and Kathryn Rose are standing near the MNCDHH exhibitor booth. Both are talking with visitors. In the background are the blue and red iconic backcloths provided by DeafNation.]