Applying for and Training Service Animals in Texas

The Capsule Group Inc and Sign Shares, Inc. team enjoyed meeting attendees from across Texas at the Abilities Expo Houston in early August 2019. Sign Shares, Inc. provided sign language interpreting to help make the expo more accessible. While there, CEO and Detective Eva Storey, TPLI met with staff from Service Dogs, Inc.

Specialized Service Animals for a Variety of Needs

Seeing eye dog guiding a person on a conveyor belt.
Most people are aware of guide dogs aiding people who are blind, but there are also service dogs for hearing, mobility, and emotional needs. photo credit: EX22218 – ON/OFF This White Dog…. via photopin (license)

The nonprofit Service Dogs out of Dripping Springs provides a variety of service animals that many people may not be aware exist, including hearing, service, courthouse, first responder facility, and PAWS juvenile offender dogs. Whatever the type of dog, Service Dogs provides free trained dogs and lifetime training for them for qualified applicants. They have been providing free assistance dogs since 1988.

Hearing dogs alert partners to sounds from their environment, such as a baby crying, smoke alarm, and other beeps and buzzes around the home or at work. Service dogs provide motor skills support, such as retrieving objects, opening, closing, and pushing things within their partner’s environment, as well assisting with movement or dressing. Courthouse dogs provide emotional support for children in tense courtroom situations.

According to the organization’s website, one of their programs, PAWS, is “the first and only juvenile offender service dog training program in the country.”

First Responder Facility Dogs work with emergency medical professionals, such as EMTs, paramedics, Emergency Room staff, and others in the hospital setting. The dogs help staff “de-escalate from the traumatic things they see every day,” such as fatalities, accidents, and emergency room happenings.

Seeing Eye Dogs in Texas

While Service Dogs, Inc. provides many types of service animals, they do not provide seeing eye dogs, which are provided by Guide Dogs of Texas. If you’re at least 17 and legally blind, you can call the organization to set up an appointment at (210) 366 4081. No matter which organization’s service animal type you need, expect to wait one to two years to secure a service animal that is trained to your specifications.

Additional Services Provided by Service Dogs, Inc.

Picture of a service dog from the Wisconsin Academy for Graduate Service Dogs.
Service animals are finely trained to devote their attention to work and to have the appropriate temperament for a working animal. The amount of dogs who qualify is limited. photo credit: slambo_42 Friendly service dog via photopin (license)

Service Dogs, Inc. also provides training for professional dog trainers.

Besides assisting people, the organization provides a new start for shelter and rescue dogs, as well as dogs changing careers from other organizations.

If you wish to apply for a Hearing, Mobility or Facility dog, you must be at least 25 years old, have a hearing or mobility disability or represent a facility that provides some of the services listed above, such as at first responder or law and justice programs. The application process may take up to six months, and it may take 10 months to a year before a service animal is placed.

Contact Us to Increase Accessibility and Adaptability

Sign Shares and The Capsule Group is on your side. Contact us regarding interpreting services or advocacy needs.

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The Capsule Group, inc & Sign Shares, inc will be at Abilities Expo Aug. 2-4: Join Us for a Book Signing, Advocacy, & New Launches for Fall 2019!!!

Capsule logo_bigGearing up for Abilities Expo, Houston, TX, on Aug. 2-4, 2019!!! The event will be held at the NRG Center, Hall E from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 2-3, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 4.

The expo is a national, annual event that celebrates the abilities of all. It includes:

Register for the event

The expo is free to attend. Register now. Indicate on the registration if you will need a sign language interpreter or CART live captioning. When you register, you can opt to receive Abilities Expo updates.

Find us at the expo

The Sign Shares and The Capsule Group Inc team will be at booth 930, which is located toward the back right of the expo hall, around the corner from 3E Love and directly across from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Author and audiobook cast book signing

This year, Sign Shares, Inc and The Capsule Group, Inc will host author Christina Goebel for a book signing for her novel, the science fiction fantasy, Birth Right: Galak’s Rising.

Birth Right Galak's Rising logo
Join Birth Right: Galak’s Rising’s audiobook cast and get your book signed at the Abilities Expo Houston on Aug. 2-4, 2019.

Members of the agency’s team read parts in Goebel’s upcoming audiobook for the novel and will be available for the book signing, including The Capsule Group’s Eva Storey and Anthony Butkovich, and Kade D.M. Murdoch, Faith L.D. Storey, and Gerald Goebel. The audiobook is in the editing phase and will be available later this year. This is a rare opportunity to have most of the audiobook cast sign Birth Right.

GoldenHeart: How to Love Humanity by Christina Goebel
Christina Goebel’s book, GoldenHeart, contains a chapter on disability with information about awareness and resources. GoldenHeart focuses on how to love yourself, others, and humanity.

Goebel will also sign copies of her self-help love manual, GoldenHeart: How to Love Humanity. This book was the start of the Twitter movement of 29,000 followers (@lovegoldenheart) promoting love and kindness and using the #GoldenHearts hashtag.

Those purchasing the novels will receive a discount price and free giveaway items not available elsewhere, including buttons for the book. You can learn more about Goebel’s books at her website. Goebel is the Advocacy Advisor for The Capsule Group.

Creating capsules with you

Besides providing access for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, The Capsule Group teams enjoy meeting people with all abilities and providing information and resources for a variety of needs so that all Texans can live a full and rewarding life. Stop by to discuss any concerns you have, and the team will assist you in finding answers during or after the event. The Capsule Group creates capsules that enable your growth and success.

Stop by the The Capsule Group Inc | Sign Shares Inc’s booth 930, receive some goodies, and enjoy a chat with our team. See the floor plan for the Abilities Expo Houston.

Receive updates

For updates, join Sign Shares’ more than 55,000 followers on Facebook.

Getting to the expo

NRG Center events utilize Gate 10 on the corner of Kirby and McNee. Type in the address: 8600 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX 77054 for the most accurate driving directions. Learn the location of accessible parking here. Parking will be $15 and is accepted via cash only and does not include any debit or credit card payments.

Abilities Expo Links

Facebook: @AbilitiesExpo
Twitter: @AbilitiesExpo
Imstagram: @abilities_expo
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/AbilitiesExpoTV
Pinterest: @abilitiesexpo
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/abilities-expo/

Houston Deaf Grassroots Movement National Corner Rally this Thursday

The Houston Deaf Grassroots Movement will have a National Corner Rally this Thursday, Oct. 20, at Houston City Hall. This is part of a national effort to raise awareness about Deaf issues.

The three goals of the national Deaf Grassroots Movement are: Communication Access, Education, and Employment.

Street painting of sign language hand showing beginning of alphabet, A, B, C, D...
When people don’t know sign language or use captions, Deaf and Hard of Hearing community members need accommodations to have equal rights. photo credit: Hindrik S put your hand … via photopin (license)

Deaf Grassroots members will hold events at 85 cities across the nation, including:

According to Deaf YouVideo, the National Association of the Deaf met together with the Deaf Grassroots Movement to plan events for this Oct. 20.

Howard A. Rosenbaum of the National Association of the Deaf signed, “DGM and the NAD work together and support each other. Allow me to explain how. The NAD has always met with the federal government to discuss various issues including education, employment, and access. While such discussions are productive, sometimes we get nowhere. Thanks to DGM’s movement and making noise about our needs, the federal government reached out the NAD recognizing their actions. This helps the NAD continue the dialogue we want to have with the federal government. I am very appreciative of the work DGM has done to support the rights of deaf and hard of hearing people.”

“October 20th is a very important day! You can get involved by looking for the DGM Facebook page in your state, and find out details about October 20th. You can join for an hour, a few hours, or all day! Your time contributed to this movement will have an impact across the country!”

Map showing location of City Hall at 901 Bagby Street, Houston, Texas 77002The Houston event will be from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at 901 Bagby Street, Houston, Texas 77002.

“There is a serious need to fight for the Deaf rights of communication, education, for jobs and many other issues of discrimination. The Deaf community must continue to fight for these rights and the best way to do so is to make the public aware of the issues of discrimination,” according to the event’s listing at the Deaf Network of Texas.

Participants will meet at corner intersections. Members of the Houston Deaf community are encouraged to attend to bring attention to their rights.

According to the event listing, “There is power in numbers and you will want to attend with your friends.”

To learn more, contact Darla Conner at dconner@cbfl.cc,  at 713-491-2381VP, or at 713-974-4621voice/tty.

Click here to let event organizers know you wish to attend.

NAD and DGM Links:

Follow @National Association of the Deaf:
Facebook – https://facebook.com/nad
GooglePlus – https://plus.google.com/nad
Twitter – https://twitter.com/nad
YouTube – https://youtube.com/nadvlogs
Website – http://nad.org

Follow @Deaf Grassroots Movement:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/events/deafgrassrootsmovement
Official Website – http://www.tdgm2015.org

Deaf Grassroots Movement Hashtags:
Facebook – https://facebook.com/hashtag/dgm
Instagram – https://instagram.com/explore/tags/dgm
Twitter – https://twitter.com/hashtag/dgm

Related Deaf Deaf Grassroots Movement:
Deaf Grassroots Movement – National Deaf Rally
Deaf Grassroots Movement Nationwide Rally
Deaf Protest at White House in Washington DC
Deaf Protest At The White House 2015 Live Video

Houston Deaf Community to Meet with METRO

The Houston Center for Independent Living will host “A Time To Speak Up/Advocate and be heard METROLIFT Customers.”

Some customers who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing are having difficulty getting picked up on time and communicating with dispatch about it. This could lead to customers waiting in unsafe situations. photo credit: hvandjez msp2016-236 via photopin (license)
Some customers who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing are having difficulty getting picked up on time and communicating with dispatch about it. This could lead to customers waiting in unsafe situations. photo credit: hvandjez msp2016-236 via photopin (license)

The Community Engagement Meeting with METRO Staff will be on Tuesday, Oct. 18 from 12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m. at the Bayland Community Center, 6400 Bissonnet, Houston, Texas 77074.

The meeting topics that will be discussed with METRO staff include:

  • METROLift same-day policy
  • Feeder Service Pilot Program
  • Pedestrian-Accessible Review (PAR) Program

Since refreshments will be served and METRO will provide ASL interpreters, contact HCIL staff to let them know you wish to attend at 713.974.4621 Voice/TTY or 713-491-2381 V.P.

In a Deaf Network of Texas post, Robert Yost shared how the Houston Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community is impacted by METROLift services, including:

  • late pick ups,
  • difficulty reaching the dispatcher when pick ups are late, and
  • driver’s favoring hearing consumers and people who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing being dropped off last.

Houston presentation will share ways lawyers can have interpreter fees reimbursed

Tuesday, Aug. 2, the Houston Police Department will host a presentation about a fund that will help lawyers get reimbursed for interpreter or other communication aids needed with Deaf and Hard of Hearing clients.

Picture of courtroom showing judge's desk far from seats of other people.
Court rooms present special challenges for people with hearing or vision loss. The long distances between speakers makes the environment challenging. photo credit: 1897 Courtroom via photopin (license)

This event is a part of the department’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Positive Interaction Program.

According to a flyer from the department, Brandon Tuck, member of the Texas State Bar of Disability Issues, and also a certified sign language interpreter, will discuss the fund, which was created by the State Bar of Texas.

The fund reimburses lawyers sign language interpreters, Computer Assisted Real-Time Transcription (CART), Braille documents, and screen readers to support effective communication.

Sign says Lawyer and points to a business.
A fund helps lawyers get reimbursed so that they can maintain effective communication with Deaf and Hard of Hearing clients. photo credit: Lawyer via photopin (license)

There will be door prizes at the event and anyone wishing to volunteer to bring food or drinks to the meeting should email James Sobota.

The event will be held on Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at Woodhaven Church for the Deaf at 9920 Long Point Rd. Houston, TX 77055.

If you’d like to learn more or have questions, contact Officer James Sobota at Voice # 713-308-9079 or by email.

An ASL Interpreter and captioning will be provided.

Texas Cities Open Cooling Centers to Cope with Heat

man in suit and tie sweats profusely
Texas cities brace themselves for hot temperatures. photo credit: Misery via photopin (license)

Houston and Dallas have opened cooling centers across their metropolitan areas for people to escape the heat.

Houston-area cooling centers

With temperatures forecast in the upper 90’s all week, and heat indexes making it feel like it’s in the mid-100’s, the City of Houston has activated its heat emergency plan to provide cool places for people to spend hours or the day.

Words read Air Cooled
Spending time in cooler air helps the body prepare for the stress. photo credit: air cooled – Phoenix via photopin (license)

Most of the locations are libraries. Some run regular business hours, as early as 8 a.m. to around 4, 5, or 6:00 p.m. Others stay open as late as 9 p.m. The cooling centers are open different days, with many being closed on weekends or having certain days open.

Click here to locate a Houston-area cooling center near you.

To arrange for transportation to a designated cooling center in Houston, call 3-1-1.

Dallas-area cooling centers

In the Dallas area, Salvation Army has opened cooling stations. According to CBS DFW, centers have weekday business hours, except for the homeless shelters, which provide cooling seven days a week.

Locate a Dallas-area cooling station here.

man dumps ice bucket over his head
Before dumping an ice bucket on your head, maybe you can visit your local cooling station! photo credit: Mission Accomplished – ALS Ice Bucket Challenge via photopin (license)

Planning for heat safety

The Houston Fire Department has many suggestions for heat safety, including:

  • drinking water before going outside,
  • wearing light, loose clothing,
  • avoiding leaving children, seniors, or pets in hot cars, and
  • working early in the day to avoid the heat.

Heat exhaustion or heat stroke can be caused by too much exposure to the heat and/or not enough fluids. Learn more about the symptoms for these two illnesses here.

Deaf heat safety video

Watch an American Sign Language Extreme Heat Emergency Information Video.

The video was produced by the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Northeast Texas Public Health District.

 

Business Provides Medical Access Cards to Celebrate Health Care Law Revisions

Sign Shares boat logo with blue handsIn honor of new Section 1557 revisions that place first preference on the person with a disability’s choice of accommodations with their health care providers, Sign Shares, Inc. will provide free wallet cards for individuals who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Deaf-Blind.

Sign Shares is an interpreting agency for all languages, and is Deaf and Hard of Hearing friendly, providing services 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

Through Galveston and Houston focus groups in partnership with The Capsule Group, or Capsule, as well as advocacy calls, the company has discovered that many health care providers don’t ask individuals which accommodation they need, causing problems for members of the Deaf Community.

One recent example is when providers offer Video Remote Interpreting, or VRI, without consent of the individual needing services. Some individuals don’t know what it is, while others insist on face-to-face interaction for important events concerning their health. Other problems result from the denial of interpreters, or pressure for individuals to use unqualified friends or family members to interpret for them.

According to the company’s website, “Patients who are Deaf & Hard of Hearing, now must be given an option for their choice of proper language communication access. They make the choice, since they know their language. It is their human right to choose. A Deaf person’s language is 3D – a flat screen device does not do justice towards their voice.”

Wallet cards will give those with hearing loss or deafness the ability to “Keep your rights, right by your side!” according to the website.

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

Orders your free cards here. Scroll down to enter your contact information.

The Sign Shares’ website has also provided a countdown for when Section 1557 goes into effect, which you can see here by scrolling to the bottom of the screen. As of today’s writing, it’s 20 days away, but complaints may be filed now.

Complaints may already be filed because the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, who drafted the revisions, determined that existing laws that impact Section 1557 already required that health care providers attempt to use the patient’s choice of accommodation as a first choice.

Want to keep up more with Deaf Community news? Like Sign Shares on Facebook.

 

Want to Advocate for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Access Needs?

Black and white picture of hand breaking through paper, maybe an art canvas.
Join us to help educate others about the Deaf/Hard of Hearing/Deafblind communities. photo credit: A criatura da mão via photopin (license)

Do you want others to know about access needs for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deafblind communities?

Are you Deaf, Hard of Hearing or Deafblind?

Are you a parent, advocate, or organization that wants improved communication access for those with hearing loss and deafness?

Are you a business or organization wanting to learn more about communication access?

Sign Shares, Inc./International and The Capsule Group invite you to share your stories at future Focus Groups.

To be placed on our email list, send an email to info@signshares.com.

Houston Internship Opportunity with Disability Advocacy

Pink cherry blossoms in front of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington. D.C.
With this internship opportunity, you can travel to Washington, D.C. License: (license)

If you’re currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at college, this internship opportunity provides training in disability advocacy and laws, and an opportunity to travel to the nation’s capital to attend a national conference regarding disability issues.

According to a recent announcement from the Independent Living Research Utilization program, the internship includes a $2,160 to $3,600 stipend and will last six to ten weeks during the time frame of June 6 to August 12, 2016.

Travel to the National Council on Independent Living in Washington DC, July 25-28 is required. You can learn more about this annual conference here.

The Independent Living Research Utilization program at the TIRR Memorial Hermann Research Center in Houston, Texas seeks applicants for its 2016 summer undergraduate internship program.

Interns will learn about research, the Affordable Care Act, disability laws and policy, and disability and independent living history and philosophy.

The interns will be supervised by Lex Frieden and Richard Petty at ILRU and will be mentored by other researchers in the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living.

According to the announcement, interns will attend the annual conference of the National Council on Independent Living in Washington, D.C., where they will gain additional exposure to disability issues, policy and the disability movement.

Interns will also assist in conducting town hall meetings regarding centers for independent living, learn from disability leaders, and visit federal agencies and meet federal officials in the disability network.

Applicants should submit:

  • a cover letter indicating their interest and availability,
  • an up-to-date resume,
  • transcript, and
  • a letter of recommendation.

See what a cover letter looks like here.

Need to make a resume? Resume Genius has templates you can download to make sure you cover important topics in the resume and that it looks good.

Submit your application package to Richard Petty at Richard.petty@bcm.edu by April 22, 2016.

Applicants will be evaluated on:

  • Academic performance,
  • previous research experience,
  • writing ability,
  • experience with disability,
  • experience in healthcare, and
  • interest in the field.

Applicants should include the above information in their cover letter and/or their resume.

Applicants should be enrolled as undergraduate or graduate degree-granting students.

Final selections will be made by May 9, 2016.

A majority of ILRU’s staff have disabilities and they provide reasonable accommodations, including:

  • meetings with Interpreters and CART live captioning,
  • TTYs,
  • screen readers,
  • accessible office furniture,
  • chemical-free work spaces,
  • emergency evacuation chairs,
  • flashing alarms,
  • accessible offices, parking, paths of travel, equipment and furniture.

ILRU’s offices, parking, paths of travel, equipment and furniture are physically accessible and convenient for access of staff and visitors with disabilities.

 

Electric Bicycles Improve Accessibility

Many new bicycles now have hybrid electric power. These offer support for people who might not have cycled because they didn’t have enough power to continue. Now, they will.

Old picture of a bicycle with a gas tank and motor added to make it like a motorcycle.
You don’t have to rig your bicycle up for power anymore! You can purchase an electric bicycle, already made! photo credit: William “”Bill”” Wheatley Collection Photo Electric bicycle via photopin (license)

At Houston’s recent Electric Bike Expo, more than 80 models were exhibited by 18 brands including: A2B, BESV, BULLS, Easy Motion, Focus, Gazelle, Haibike, IZIP, Kalkhoff, Polaris, Raleigh, Stromer, Tempo, Trek, Xtracycle, Yuba with the latest electric drive systems from Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, and more!

You can link to the brands’ websites here.

The expo is part of a national roadshow sharing the new technology.

According to the main website: ““The first time you feel the power added to your pedal and the ability to tackle that incline is when you realize how this will change your love of cycling and take your return to riding to a whole new level.”

That additional power is the technology that will make cycling possible for more people of all abilities.