Answered Questions: Monthly News for the Disability Community – June 2017

Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need. This month’s question is: What research is being done in employment, education, and technology to improve the lives of people who are Deaf and hard of hearing? This edition of Answered Questions includes items that discusses NIDILRR-funded research on improving outcomes on using augmentative and alternative communication, on improving accessibility, utility and technology, and on VR assessment Tools in ASL; discuss the availability of mental health services for people who are Deaf; discuss perspectives on tele-practice for serving families of children who are Deaf or hard of hearing; discuss assistive technologies; and discuss the connection between a lack of education and a lack of employment as negative outcomes for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing in Mexico. More about Answered Questions.

NIDILRR Projects:

Improving Outcomes Using Aided Augmentative and Alternative Communication for Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (90IF0122) (English) is developing a technology-assisted language intervention (TALI) program that incorporates aided augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) utilizing iPads to improve language in children who are Deaf or hard of hearing (DHH). The project conducts focus groups with families and other stakeholders to understand the barriers to interventions and additional outcomes that are important to families, as well as monitoring AAC application to measure adherence. The final product is a model of evidence-based practice for language interventions that maximizes the full inclusion and integration of children who are DHH into society and allows for social self-sufficiency through improved language skills.

RERC on Improving the Accessibility, Utility, and Performance of Technology for Individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH-RERC) (90RE5020) (English) provides consumers who are hard of hearing or Deaf, as well as their families and clinicians, with the knowledge and tools necessary to take control of their communication and hearing technologies, adapt those technologies to their needs, and achieve greater autonomy in their technology use; and to derive the full benefit of the shift from special-purpose devices to increasingly powerful and interconnected electronics. Through research and development projects, this RERC aims to narrow the gaps between the potential for new technologies to improve the lives of people who are hard of hearing or Deaf and their ability to exploit this potential.

Translate and Adapt VR Assessment Tools into ASL (90DP0067) (English) improves vocational rehabilitation (VR) services and enhances employment outcomes for people who are Deaf. The project translates and adapts widely used VR instruments into American Sign Language (ASL) and validates these assessment tools for use with VR consumers who are Deaf; develops a vocational assessment instrument in ASL designed specifically to be used with VR consumers who are Deaf; develops online access to these ASL-based VR assessment instruments; evaluating the feasibility, usability, and adoption of online assessment resources by VR counselors and consumers who are Deaf and hard of hearing; and promotes the utilization of DRRP developed ASL resources to state and territorial VR agencies with a targeted knowledge translation strategy


Availability of mental health services for individuals who are deaf-blind (J75840) (English) describes a study that investigated the availability of state mental health services for people who are deaf-blind. The study surveyed state mental health agencies and found that a majority do not have a specific policy or procedure regarding how to provide mental health services to people who are Deaf or who are deaf-blind. Agency representatives reported that staff lack knowledge of how to provide mental health services to people who are deaf-blind and that the agencies lack qualified interpreters.

Provider perspectives on tele-practice for serving families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing (J72639) (English) discusses a study that examined the provider perspectives on the use of tele-practice to deliver remote early intervention services to families of infants and toddlers who are Deaf or hard of hearing. The results from this study showed a great variability in hardware and software, with many providers surveyed raising concerns regarding security. The findings from this study will be valuable valuable in guiding future areas of investigation and improving tele-practice in the field.


Assistive Technologies for People with Auditory Disabilities (New Technologies Blog) describes two groups of assistive technologies for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. The first group of technologies are educational or provide training. The technologies that fall within this group include devices that use vibrotactile stimulation, training systems based on software, and software that translates speech into text. The other group of assistive technologies provides alternative and augmentative systems so that people who are Deaf or hard of hearing have access to environmental information. Assistive technology within this group can include hearing aids, infrared receptors, cochlear implants, FM systems, and smartphone apps.

Find the Right Channel – Communication Aids for People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (AbleData) (English) describes assistive technology (AT) products that are available to help people who are Deaf or hard of hearing bridge the communication gap. This guide from AbleData (English) presents a few of the AT products designed to help people who are deaf or hard of hearing to communicate effectively, seamlessly interact with others, and live a more independent and productive life. AbleData also provides a comprehensive list of AT products (English) for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Captions, whiteboards, animation, and videos: Technology improves access (J71933) (English) describes the types of technology that are frequently used during classroom instruction with students who are Deaf or hard of hearing. These types of technology are categorized as text, pictures, animation, and videos with sign language.


The Deaf in Mexico, without education or work (El Universal) discusses the repercussions that the lack of special schools for the more than 2 million Mexicans who are Deaf has on job development in Mexico. The majority of young people in Mexico who are Deaf or hard of hearing rely on some form of assistance because of poor employment options. Two thirds rely on government programs, while a third rely on charitable or family support. Statistics for adults who are Deaf are similar. The article also discusses organizations, such as Fundación Nacional para Sordos María Sosa, that are working towards providing an education to Mexicans who are Deaf so that they can find employment and live independently in the community.


Employment for people who are Deaf, a silenced right (Conectas) is an article that discusses how the Deaf community looking for employment in Mexico City has to deal with the lack of employment opportunities and low salaries. The article also describes how Grecia Ocampo, who lost her hearing at the age of 2 due to a fever and later found Mexican Sign Language (LSM in Spanish) as a teenager, works for the Sciences and Humanities College of UNAM. However, she is a rarity in Mexico. Only 9 out of 100 people who are Deaf participate in the economy, according to the Mexican Census of 2010. Like Ms. Ocampo, many in the Mexican Deaf community work in supportive roles. Only 2 out 100 have the opportunity to work as directors or as officials.


Further Research:

About Answered Questions

Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned below is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. With the exception of the NIDILRR Projects and Further Investigation, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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