The ADA: Effective Communication _review

Seven community members wearing face masks are seated around a table in a small meeting style room.
It may not seem like it, but the people in this room are socially distanced. An American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter is in the room to sign for anyone who needs it.
Carrie, a Black woman in her 30s wears a facemask, has a white cane and a miniature horse that serves as her service animal

Carrie: Local emergency management and public health departments must ensure that their communications with people with disabilities are as effective as communications with people without disabilities. Local governments are required to provide auxiliary aids and services, like closed captioning and an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, that promote effective communication.

With that in mind, let’s look at this policy:

Auxiliary Communication Aid Policy

When providing public emergency services, Disasterville County will provide auxiliary communication aids and accessibility services, such as American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, upon request. The person who needs ASL interpretation will be charged a small fee to cover the interpreter’s travel costs, if any.

This policy is:

Other aids and services which may be needed include:

Written materials
-Exchange of written notes
-Qualified sign language interpreters
-Assistive listening devices
-Audio recordings
-Hearing aid compatible phones
-Text messaging
-Video-based communication and interpreting systems

Plain language materials
Large print materials
Qualified readers
-Braille materials

And there may be more. For example, a dry erase board may be useful for quick communication with someone who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing under certain circumstances.

PJ, in their 30s, wears a facemask and glasses

PJ: If one auxiliary aid or service is an undue financial or administrative burden, the local government must use another auxiliary aid or service to provide effective communication. Remember, high cost alone usually doesn’t mean an undue burden.

? What’s the best auxiliary aid or service to use?

Marco, Franny and their baby Juniper stand together. Wearing facemasks, Franny signs "Hello" in ASL and Marco has Juniper in a front-facing baby carrier

Marco [Signing]: Accessible communication is important in emergencies. It’s important for local governments to use more than one form of communication for emergency alerts, warnings, and public education or instruction. After all, emergency management and public health offices want to make sure everyone can get the same information at the same time and is able to communicate with public health and emergency services.

? Think about situations that call for accessible communication in more than one form.

Franny [Signing]: The Action Team gets a lot of questions about sign language interpreters.

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