Workplace Solutions for Individuals Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Science, Health Science, Audiology
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Workplace Solutions for Individuals Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing Chris Knigga, M.S. Director of Facilities Services and Sustainability National Technical Institute for the Deaf Mick Posner, MSSeD, M.S. Employment Consultant Bureau of Rehabilitation Services

Introduction/Background 

Mick Posner’s Work History   

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Employment Consultant (BRS) VR/Rehabilitation Counselor for the Deaf (BRS) Senior Adjunct Professor (Manchester CC) High School Teacher (American School f/t Deaf) Installer/Trainer (Sorenson Communications) RASA Coordinator (Rochester School f/t Deaf)

Introduction/Background 

Chris Knigga’s Work History

Director, Facilities Services & Sustainability (RIT) Owner, CMK Construction

Construction Project Manager (MCC Construction Co.)

Sr. Project Manager (Trinity Construction Group, Inc.) 

$5 million project to build Video Relay Centers around the USA.

Project Engineer (Garrison Co.) Project Engineer (DeMattia Group) 

Shopping malls in Indiana, Ohio and Texas.

Facilities Project Manager (Communication Services f/t Deaf) 

Renovations of military bases in Michigan and Colorado

Volkswagen HQ of America

Field Engineer (WCB Associate) 

Ohio Turnpike Toll Booths - $20 million project.

CK’s Video Clip

Video Phone Technology

iPhone 

(Almost) All-In-One Communication Device 

Text/E-mail (perfect for communicating with supervisors, co-workers, etc.) Photo (not just for “selfies”) but can be used to take pictures of notes, whiteboard information, business cards, locations, etc. Plethora of apps that can be utilized:

iPad 

Ideal for VP and FaceTime communication.

FaceTime: Easier for lip-reading purposes. Less grainy/choppy (iPads generally have more memory, which allows for faster data stream.) Apps that works on the iPhone also would work well here. Think: iPhone on steroids.

On-The-Job Accommodations 

In most cases with Deaf/HH workers, the #1 barrier in the workplace is communication. Fortunately, it can be alleviated quickly via low-cost, effective methods of accommodations.

Interpreters ($$$) Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) ($$$) Paging Devices (ex: Lowe’s Distribution Center) Strobe Lights (ideal for shipping/receiving type of work, especially w/ vehicles) Pressure Alert Mats Desktop/Screen mirror Telephone Amplification Telephone Flashers Telephone w/ numbers listed for call-back. Video Relay Service (VRS) Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)

And when all else fails… pen & paper 

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Medical Professionals 

RIT/Gallaudet joint effort to study how to increase number of Deaf professionals entering the medical field.

Deaf Medical Student – UC Irvine (perfect example of CART and iPad technology being utilized.)

Accommodations for Personal Use 

How do I wake up in the morning?

I am the dad of two small kids – how do I know if they wake up in the middle of the night?

Environmental sounds at the workplace, home and out in public.

Accommodations for Personal Use 


It should be noted there is no restrictions on a deaf person’s ability to obtain a license/operate a motor vehicle (except for commercial use.)

Creative Strategies Examples 

Job Interview – used the desktop computer for communication purposes.

Possible accommodation: using the VP instead of face-to-face meetings (depends on the job.) – must be in different rooms, per se law.

Asking for someone to take minutes (not just for the deaf person but would benefit everyone in the office.)

Tips/Strategies 

As a Deaf Professional, I feel it is important to be proactive when it comes to advocating and utilizing AT in the workplace. 

Educate employer before a situation arises. Take time to show employer devices. Most of the time, they will find it “amazing.” It’s also a way to develop communication-based rapport. Take responsibility to provide AT myself (iPads, iPhone, pens/papers, etc.) If I can’t afford something, seek resources. Paradigm shift regarding providing interpreters and who pays for them, particularly during job interviews. Example: Google

Situations – how would you solve them? 

An employee working in an office environment had hearing loss due to tinnitus. She could not be around noise in the office environment for long periods of time. A physical therapist who attended weekly staff meetings and occasional training was having difficulty participating in groups due to hearing loss. She wore hearing aids and could benefit from amplification, but sometimes found it difficult to follow-along during long meetings or training seminars.

Situations (continued) 

An electric serviceman with progressive hearing loss sometimes worked in a bucket truck and needed to communicate to coworkers. The usual method of communication was via a radio.

An employer was considering hiring a deaf employee to be a material handler. The employer had some safety concerns.

Thank You 

Any questions?

I can be reached at my work e-mail: [email protected] or my personal email: [email protected]

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