2016 Sign Shares’ Blog Reflections

Capsule and Sign Shares' LogosDuring 2016, Sign Shares, Inc./International and The Capsule Group completed more advocacy outreach and support. Nationwide,CapsuleLogo events, news and lawsuits signaled the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community’s need to address communication access, civil rights, and bullying. Celebrities who are Deaf experienced thrills and losses. The blog continued to publish in-depth articles about key advocacy issues.

January 2016

Having CART at events ensures that people with hearing loss have another option. photo credit: CART captioning via photopin (license)
Having CART at events ensures that people with hearing loss have another option. photo credit: CART captioning via photopin (license)
Two people use tactile sign language
Interveners and DeafBlind Interpreters may work together in educational settings, with the Intervener focusing more on meeting individualized educational plan goals. photo credit: Communication via photopin (license)

The blog began 2016 with information outreach about consumers who are DeafBlind or Hard of Hearing and their needs.

The Sign Shares’ blog posted a series relating to the needs of consumers who are DeafBlind, including: DeafBlind Resources, DeafBlind Interpreters, Interveners, the difference between DeafBlind Interpreters and Support Service Providers.

We also shared information about what is CART captioning and why people need it.

February 2016

Marlee Matlin signs I love you
Marlee Matlin signs her love to fans when she collects her Hollywood star. photo credit: Marlee Matlin via photopin (license)

Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin signed the national anthem for Lady Gaga at the 50th Super Bowl, and received almost no TV coverage.

The National Association of the Deaf announced it made a deal with a large airline movie provider that it will have all of its movies captioned for its airline audiences by June 2016.

Target began carrying accessible shopping carts for families who have individuals who use wheelchairs.

We invited consumers to provide input about online video captions for a survey by the Hearing Loss Association of America.

The blog shared ways to advocate instead of suing.

March 2016

Capsule and Sign Shares' LogosMarch 25, Sign Shares held its first focus group in Houston at the Houston Center for Independent Living.

The blog announced a survey for the Texas State Plan for Independent Living so consumers could provide input on the state’s three-year plan for disability services.

We shared ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and Easter in sign language.

April 2016

Gavel above picture of planet Earth
A group of Deaf lawyers have been sworn in at the highest court in America.

12 lawyers who are Deaf were sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court Bar.

Many Texans experienced heavy floods across the state and the blog provided information about where to file disaster claims with FEMA.

We explored DeafSpaces in architecture and how design can make buildings more accessible.

May 2016

Sign Shares and The Capsule Group advocates traveled to Austin, Texas for the national Deaf Grassroots Movement at the Capitol to speak with legislators about the need for greater communication access. We also provided an interpreter for GDM leadership to be interviewed by the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities and for advocates to speak with their representatives.

America’s Top Model Nyle DiMarco won Dancing with the Stars, completing his television coup–and brought needed attention to Deaf and Hard of Hearing issues, including teaching sign language.

June 2016

The Galveston Daily News article says At Galveston rally, a call for live sign language interpreters
Galveston resident Janie Morales can use the cards to point out her rights.

Sign Shares held its second focus group for the Houston Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.

Sign Shares and Capsule joined to support the Galveston Deaf community’s desire to present at their City Hall. We later created information cards for consumers about accommodations for their health care providers.

The blog provided in-depth information about how revisions to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act would affect consumers with communication disabilities.

RespectAbility released a report that 153,000 inmates who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing are housed in the criminal justice system, which is about 7 percent of prisoners. Communication access is still a problem within the system.

Deaf issues in the Supreme Court: the Supreme Court agreed to hear a Texas case regarding five individuals who are Deaf from four Texas cities. They alleged they were denied sign language interpreters for driver’s education courses required by the Texas Education Agency and later by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

Haben Girma, who is DeafBlind, presented at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference about creating more accessible digital worlds.

July 2016

Question mark symbol
Many people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Deaf-Blind have questions about accommodations they may receive at their doctor’s office or local hospital.

Section 1557 revisions to the Affordable Care Act went into effect in July 2016, making the focus of health care accommodations on the consumer’s needs.

Britain celebrated its first Deaf man to cross the English Channel.

We covered DeafHealth’s American Sign Language resources.

August 2016

CGLogo_Confetti_ROUNDEDThe Capsule Group’s website went live.

Sign Shares and Capsule supported the Houston Deaf Community’s voices when they held an educational rally at the Houston City Hall.

People all wearing white NO VRI, Video Remote Interpreters T-shirts, hold rally signs saying NO VRI.
Houston advocates represented the Deaf Community at City Hall.

Sign Shares provided interpreters for the Houston Abilities Expo and had a booth where our staff met with local community members and provided them with information and resources.

Sign Shares’ staff met with traveling mobility advocate Cory Lee at the Houston Abilities Expo and shared the need for communications access too.

Good news and bad news about U.S. restaurants demonstrated some people are learning and using sign language with customers, while lawsuits demonstrate considerable complications for fast food customers who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

A Deaf Hawaiian is battling to save Hawaii Sign Language.

September 2016

Governor Greg Abbott is speaking, the top rim of his wheelchair is visible.
Gov. Greg Abbott recognized this week as Deaf Awareness Week, kicking off social and awareness events this week.

Sign Shares’ blogger Christina Goebel wrote about American captioning options at movie theaters for The Limping Chicken, “the world’s most popular Deaf blog.”

Texas consolidated its five health service agencies into three, abolishing the Departments of Rehabilitative Services (DARS) and the Aging and Disability Services (DADS).

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared Sept. 18-24, 2016 Deaf Awareness Week.

The story of Nebraska students who bullied another student who was Deaf went viral. His friends used crowdfunding to quickly raise funds to replace his damaged cell phone.

The Federal Communications Commission held a session on technology transitions to copper telecommunication networks across the nation. Network providers must give consumers advanced notice before changing their networks.

Dallas held its Deaf Celebration Expo.

October 2016

Hurricane over the ocean near Florida.
Hurricane Matthew over the Bahamas. Wikipedia reported the hurricane caused 1,027 fatalities. This time, the media took a better approach at informing the Deaf community. photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery Hurricane Matthew pass over the Bahamas. via photopin (license)

Sign Shares provided interpreters for the National Deaf Grassroots Corner Rally in Houston at the City Hall. Events were held in 85 American cities.

The Houston Chronicle and reporter Brian M. Rosenthal published the first story in a series: “Denied How Texas keeps tens of thousands of kids out of special ed,” prompting the U.S. Department of Education to write a letter to the Texas Education Agency and to lift its limitations on Special Education enrollment.

The Houston Center for Independent Living held a hearing about METROLIFT.

Hurricane Matthew hit the East Coast on Oct. 8, with storm surges causing problems along the Eastern Seashore. News and emergency updates shared more sign language access than during past disasters, such as Hurricane Andrew.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear the case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, which will address “the IDEA’s mandate that public schools provide children with disabilities a free appropriate public education, or FAPE.” The court’s decision will determine the minimum educational impact a student with a disability’s education should be.

The Sign Shares’ blog had long-form articles covering employee rights’ lawsuits presented by workers who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and worked for FedEx.

November 2016

Sticker has American flag and says I voted.
photo credit: Ian Aberle I Voted via photopin (license)

Deaf Texans won the right to request sign language interpreters when they vote in elections.

December 2016

Men and women in holiday sweaters pose in front of a lit Christmas tree inside a restaurant.
Sign Shares’ Executive Assistant, Anthony Butkovich, and CEO, Eva Storey, pose with Deaf community members Darla, Robert, and Nancy.

Sign Shares held its annual holiday party at Massa’s South Coast Grill in Houston. Kathy had the ugliest sweater.

Our blog shared ways to share the holidays in a more accessible way, including learning some sign language.

For our new year’s resolution, we suggested becoming more Deaf and Hard of Hearing aware.

We look forward to 2017 and the news it brings!

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