Celebrate Communication on Saturday, May 16

  • May 5, 2015
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  • publicrelationsdept

The Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC), the area’s leading non-profit for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, and deafblind, is proud to host Celebrate Communication 2015. Northern Virginia’s premier information fair for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community will be held from 10am – 2pm on Saturday, May 16 at the Northern Virginia Community College Ernst Center Gymnasium in Annandale.

Celebrate Communication is free for the public and will feature exhibits and activities providing information to support better communication and understanding for people with hearing loss and their families and friends. More than 40 organizations, businesses, educational institutions and community groups will be on site offering free information on hearing assistive technologies, cochlear implants, government services, hearing aids, telecommunications and Relay services, hearing assistance dogs, professional services, and more. A full list of sponsors and exhibitors can be found on NVRC’s website at www.nvrc.org.

Other activities for all ages will include:

  • Free hearing, vision and blood pressure screenings in the Lions Club Mobile Van
  • Face painting by Dee Vinchey from 11am – 1pm
  • Craft vendors
  • Raffle prizes
  • An appearance by NVRC’s mascot, Yellow Dog

AT A GLANCE:

WHAT: Celebrate Communication 2015

WHO: The Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC)

WHEN: Saturday, May 16, 2015; 10am – 2pm

WHERE: Northern Virginia Community College
Ernst Center Gymnasium
8333 Little River Turnpike
Annandale, VA 22003

COST: Free; free parking available in “B” lots

CONTACT: Please contact Bonnie O’Leary at boleary@nvrc.org; 703-352-9055 x106 (V), 703-352-9056 (TTY), or visit www.nvrc.org.

CapTel 840i and 2400i Now Available at Low or No Cost

  • Feb 20, 2015
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  • publicrelationsdept

Virginia Relay and Hamilton Relay are excited to announce that CapTel 840i and the 2400i are available to Virginia residents at low or no cost!

There are now three ways to obtain a CapTel phone in Virginia:

    1) CapTel phones and other assistive telecommunications equipment are available at no cost to people who qualify medically and financially through the Technology Assistance Program (TAP). To find out if you qualify, contact the VDDHH outreach office nearest you. For a list of office locations visit http://www.vddhh.org/orproviders.aspx or call 1-800-552-7917(voice/text).

    2) People who do not meet TAP’s financial requirements, but are able to obtain certification of hearing loss from a qualified independent third-party professional (physician, audiologist, government/veterans program or other hearing healthcare professional), may request a CapTel 840i or 2400i phone at no-cost. For more information, please call 1-800-826-7111 or email Stephanie Ulmer at stephanie.ulmer@hamiltonrelay.com.

    3) All CapTel phones, including models that do not require internet service, are available to non-qualifying TAP applicants for for purchase for the exclusive discounted price of just $75. To order, please call 800-233-9130 or visit www.captel.com/availability/VA.php.

Introducing the CapTel 2400i®

  • Jan 7, 2015
  • |
  • publicrelationsdept

The newest addition to the family of CapTel technology, the 2400i captioning telephone, will be available in early 2015 to Virginians with hearing loss. The CapTel 2400i includes new elements along with a variety of enhancements to its popular features, providing another option for enjoying phone conversations with clarity and confidence!

The CapTel service is the same, offering quality captions through the use of voice recognition technology. With its new touch-screen technology, the 2400i allows users to enjoy a large colorful display with the capability to navigate the menu and dial a number by touching images on the screen.

Check out these great features:

  • Large, colorful display with easy touch-screen technology
  • Easy-to-follow menu system
  • Built-in answering machine stores up to 100 unique messages
  • Adjustable font sizes and colors
  • Amplification and adjustable tone control
  • Bright flashing when phone rings
  • Phone book allows you to easily store and dial more than 95 names and phone numbers
  • Save up to 10 favorite numbers and 4 speed dial numbers
  • Menu options and prompts available in English or Spanish

In addition, the 2400i Captions will default ON automatically, due to recent
changes with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This means that users will not be required to turn the feature on at the beginning of every call.

To learn more about CapTel, call 1-800-552-7917 (voice/TTY) or visit
www.varelay.org.

CapTel is a registered trademark of Ultratec, Inc.

The Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) and Hamilton Relay, Virginia’s captioned telephone (CapTel®) service provider, recently announced that Stephanie Ulmer has been hired as Virginia Relay Captioned Telephone Outreach Coordinator. In her new position, Stephanie will provide outreach support and education services for the entire Commonwealth of Virginia to raise awareness of the CapTel services available through Virginia Relay. Virginia Relay is a free public service that enables people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or who have difficulty speaking to place and receive telephone calls.

Ulmer is highly experienced in business and customer service within the health care field. Previously, she worked for the District 19 Community Services Board as administrative associate in Child and Adolescent Services. She currently resides in Prince George, Va.

“I am looking forward to shifting my focus to marketing,” says Ulmer. “I am excited to have the opportunity to travel and meet people throughout Virginia and educate them about the life-changing benefits CapTel provides for individuals who have difficulty hearing over the phone.”

CapTel is designed specifically for people who have difficulty hearing over the telephone. Using a CapTel phone, users speak directly to the other person and are able to listen while reading word-for-word captions of what’s said to them during phone conversations. Behind the scenes, captions are generated by a specially-trained Captioning Assistant using state-of-the-art voice recognition software. Captions appear on the CapTel phone’s display screen nearly simultaneously to the spoken word, adding clarity and confidence in using the phone to communicate with friends, family and businesses.

Virginia residents are eligible to purchase CapTel phones at a special reduced rate of $75 through Virginia Relay. CapTel phones are also available at no cost to people who qualify medically and financially through Virginia’s Technology Assistance Program (TAP). For more information, please visit www.varelay.org or contact Stephanie Ulmer at stephanie.ulmer@hamiltonrelay.com.

Happy Grandparents Day!

  • Sep 5, 2014
  • |
  • publicrelationsdept

This Sunday is National Grandparents Day! If your grandparents, or other friend or relative, would like to hear better over the phone, we offer no-cost amplified phones, captioned telephones, and other assistive telecommunications equipment to qualified applicants through the Technology Assistance Program (TAP). To learn more about TAP or to request an application for equipment, please click here to visit our website or call us at 1-800-552-7917 (V/TTY). Happy Grandparents Day from Virginia Relay!

Virginia Launches New Employement App

  • Aug 7, 2014
  • |
  • publicrelationsdept

Governor McAuliffe announced today the launch of Virginia’s new employment app, VAWorks. Now, wherever Virginians may be in the Commonwealth, they can have thousands of jobs at their fingertips.

Available on iPhone and Android, Virginia’s new app provides job seekers with free access to jobs. Using a mobile device, users can search for jobs by occupation, location, or keyword. They can also share their job search activity and information via email or social media.

The VAWorks app is one of many job seeker services available through the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC). App users now have the option to receive notifications from the VEC when new job openings are available, filter their results by occupation and expand job listings to review details and locations.

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Center of Southwest and Western Virginia recently announced that Jennifer McDonald has been hired as an outreach specialist. McDonald will coordinate outreach initiatives for people in and around Staunton, Charlottesville and Winchester.

As an outreach specialist, McDonald will sponsor workshops, demonstrations and training sessions to help educate the local community about hearing loss as well as how to use Virginia Relay, the free public service that enables people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or who have difficulty speaking to place and receive calls via a standard telephone. She will also help people obtain no-cost telecommunications equipment through Virginia’s Technology Assistance Program.

Previously, McDonald worked as an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter in Northern Virginia’s education system. She also spent 15 years working with seniors at a senior living community.

“I am looking forward to making a difference in the community by connecting people with the local resources and services Virginia offers to communicate with people who are deaf and hard of hearing,” said McDonald. “I grew up in Southwest Virginia, and I’m also excited to be returning to the area.”

“Jennifer has all of the qualifications we were looking for in an outreach specialist, as she has excellent experience with both the deaf community and senior citizens,” said Betti Thompson, director, Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services Center. “We are so fortunate to have her working with us and we’re looking forward to working with her.”

In her spare time, McDonald enjoys watching movies, shopping and traveling. Staunton residents wanting to learn more about Virginia Relay and other communications resources for people who are deaf or hard of hearing may contact her at 540-885-0822 (V/TTY) or dhhsc.jennifer@gmail.com.

Dial 7-1-1 to access free public telephone service for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind or have difficulty speaking

Virginia Relay recognizes Better Hearing and Speech Month this May. Sponsored by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) since 1927, this annual observation provides opportunities to raise awareness about hearing and speech difficulties and to promote resources that can improve the quality of life for the nearly 40 million Americans who experience difficulty hearing and/or speaking.

Virginia Relay provides the most up-to-date technologies and assistive devices to enable people in Virginia who are deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind or have difficulty speaking to communicate by telephone.

To benefit from Virginia Relay, Virginia residents may take advantage of any of these resources:

  • Dial 7-1-1 to make a Virginia Relay call.
    A free public service, Virginia Relay enables people who are deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind or who have difficulty speaking to communicate with standard telephone users. Relay services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and anyone can initiate a Virginia Relay call simply by dialing 7-1-1.Virginia Relay offers state-of-the-art features designed with the users’ needs in mind, including traditional Relay (text telephone), Voice Carry-Over (VCO), Hearing Carry-Over (HCO), Speech-to-Speech (STS), and more. Detailed descriptions and calling instructions for each service are available online at www.varelay.org or by calling Virginia Relay customer service at 1-800-552-7917 (voice/TTY).
  • See what’s said with Captioned Telephone (CapTel®).
    Virginia Relay CapTel service is designed for individuals who have difficulty hearing on the telephone and are able to speak for themselves. Through the use of a CapTel phone, users listen while viewing word-for-word captions of what’s said to them during phone conversations. Captions appear on the bright, built-in display screen of the CapTel phone just moments after the other party has spoken. Individuals who are hard of hearing; late-deafened; deaf with understandable speech, or who have a cochlear implant; use VCO; or can no longer use an amplified phone benefit from using Virginia Relay CapTel. Web and mobile versions of CapTel are also available for PC/Mac, Smartphones and Tablets. More information is available at www.vacaptel.com.
  • Apply for no-cost telecommunications equipment.
    Telecommunications equipment is available at no-cost to Virginia residents who qualify medically and financially through the following programs:

    o Technology Assistance Program (TAP): Administered by the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH), TAP provides telecommunications equipment to qualified applicants whose disabilities prevent them from using a standard telephone. Available assistive devices include text telephones (TTYs), amplified telephones, VCO phones, HCO phones, CapTel phones, signalers for the phone and door; and more. For more information, please visit www.vddhh.org/tapabout.htm or call 1-800-552-7917 (voice/TTY).

    o TAP for Veterans: If you are a veteran living with hearing or speech loss, our no-cost Veterans’ Program can provide you with all the equipment you need to stay connected through the telephone. To qualify, you must be deaf, hard of hearing, or have difficulty speaking and provide proof of honorable discharge. For more information on all TAP services, visit www.vddhh.org or call 1-800-552-7917 (voice/TTY).

    o iCanConnect Virginia: Administered by VDDHH in cooperation with the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, iCanConnect Virginia provides no-cost communications technology, along with installation, training and support, to low-income, DeafBlind Virginia residents. For more information, please visit www.icanconnectvirginia.org.

  • Find Relay-friendly businesses with Virginia Relay Partner.
    A free, educational program for Virginia businesses, Virginia Relay Partner helps reduce the number of hang ups Relay users sometimes experience when making business calls. Open to all Virginia-based businesses, Virginia Relay Partner provides businesses of all sizes with the free training and marketing materials they need to answer and place Relay calls with confidence.To find a list of Virginia Relay Partner businesses that are trained in answering and placing Virginia Relay calls, or to request that your business become a Virginia Relay Partner, please visit www.relaypartner.org/virginia.
  • Contact your local VDDHH outreach provider.
    VDDHH’s network of outreach providers sponsor workshops, support groups and training sessions to help all Virginians—including caregivers, public safety officials and business professionals—learn more about hearing loss and ways to communicate with those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Staff members also assist new Virginia Relay users and their families and friends. To find your local VDDHH outreach provider, please visit www.varelay.org or contact VDDHH for a referral at frontdsk@vddhh.virginia.gov or 1-800-552-7917 (voice/TTY).

If you or a loved one has difficulty hearing or speaking over the phone, there are many services and varieties of equipment available to keep you connected. For more information about Virginia Relay or to apply for no-cost equipment, please visit www.varelay.org or call 1-800-552-7917 (voice/TTY) or e-mail frontdsk@vddhh.virginia.gov.

Partnership Could Benefit Thousands of Virginians

Through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ (DMV) new testing system called SecuriTest, customers can complete knowledge exams in 16 different languages, now including American Sign Language (ASL).

Beginning last fall, SecuriTest replaced the agency’s 20-year old testing system. The web-based application reduces the need for translators to assist customers in the testing process. DMV and the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) collaborated to begin offering DMV tests in ASL this month. A native ASL signer, who is a former teacher of the Deaf, translated more than 1,100 test questions for DMV’s driver’s license, motorcycle license, and commercial driver’s license (CDL) exams. For many individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, ASL is their first language, so offering DMV tests in ASL, as opposed to just reading the questions, allows them to receive the information in the language they prefer.

Before SecuriTest, a customer who wanted to take a test in ASL had to arrange for an interpreter ahead of time through VDDHH’s Interpreter Service Program, which was not typically a same-day service. Now, those customers can walk in to any full service DMV office and take their test in ASL at a touch-screen kiosk; however, customers more comfortable using an ASL interpreter will still have the option of scheduling a qualified sign language interpreter.

“Virginia is one of the first states in the nation to offer DMV automated tests in American Sign Language, and we are so excited to partner with the Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to make this testing option possible,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb. “We want all of our customers to be able to take their knowledge exams in the language in which they are most comfortable, and offering tests in ASL fulfills that goal.”

While statistics from VDDHH show that an average of two people were requesting interpreters to take DMV tests each month, many others may have benefitted from interpreter services to access the test in the appropriate language mode.

“We believe this increases the ease of access for people whose primary form of communication is ASL,” said Ronald Lanier, Director of VDDHH. “Partnering with DMV to offer this service will allow Virginians who are Deaf the same access to the testing process as Virginians who are hearing – the opportunity to walk into DMV on the date and at the time that they choose and take the test, rather than having to schedule the test time based on the availability of a sign language interpreter.”

SecuriTest offers DMV knowledge exams in ASL at all 75 brick and mortar DMV offices. Tests in ASL will be offered on DMV’s five mobile offices in the near future.

*Virginia DMV is now on Skype, providing more on-camera interview opportunities for television stations outside of the Richmond market. Contact Sunni Brown for more information.

Hamilton Relay, a leading provider of telecommunications relay and captioned telephone service, is pleased to announce that it will continue as the provider of Virginia Relay Captioned Telephone (CapTel®) service as part of a recent contract extension agreement between Hamilton and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Hamilton has served as the contracted provider of Virginia Relay CapTel since 2011, and the one-year contract agreement extends this term of service through March 31, 2015.

Virginia Relay CapTel service is designed for individuals who have difficulty hearing on the telephone and are able to speak for themselves. Through the use of a CapTel phone, users listen while viewing word-for-word captions of what’s being said to them during phone conversations. Captions are generated by specially-trained Captioning Assistants who repeat everything said by the standard phone user into state-of-the-art voice recognition software. The speech is then converted almost simultaneously into text that appears on the screen of the CapTel phone. Captions are available in English or Spanish. More information is available at www.VACapTel.com.

“Hamilton Relay has provided superior service and support for Virginia Relay CapTel over the past three years, and we are pleased that our partnership is continuing into 2015,” said Ron Lanier, Director of the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the agency that oversees Relay services in Virginia. “Together, we continue to ensure that Virginians who are hard of hearing or late-deafened have access to the service offered through Virginia Relay CapTel.”

Dixie Ziegler, vice president of Hamilton Relay stated, “Hamilton is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue serving consumers in the Commonwealth. CapTel service can be life changing for individuals with hearing loss as it allows them to easily connect with friends, family and businesses without missing a word of what’s said in telephone conversations.”

In addition to the CapTel phone, Virginia residents have access to additional CapTel services offered by Hamilton on a nationwide basis, including Hamilton CapTel for PC/ Mac, smartphones and tablets.

About Virginia Relay CapTel and the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Virginia Relay CapTel is a public service of the Commonwealth of Virginia and is administered by the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH). Through the use of a CapTel phone, Virginia Relay CapTel service allows individuals who have difficulty hearing over the phone, to listen while reading captions of what the other person says on the phone’s display screen. The captioning service is provided at no cost. Long distance charges and equipment charges may apply. Individuals may be eligible to receive a CapTel phone at no charge through VDDHH’s Technology Assistance Program which provides the most up-to-date technologies and assistive communication devices for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, including Veterans living with a hearing or speech loss. VDDHH also provides community outreach services and referral, coordination, and skills assessment for sign language interpreters. For more information on VDHH, please visit www.vddhh.org, or call VDDHH at 800-552-7917 (voice/TTY).

About Hamilton Relay

Hamilton Relay provides contracted Traditional Relay and/or Captioned Telephone services to 16 states and the Island of Saipan, and is a provider of Internet-based Captioned Telephone services nationwide. More information is available at www.hamiltonrelay.com and at www.hamiltoncaptel.com.

Hamilton Relay is a division of Hamilton Telecommunications, a diversified communications and technology service provider based in Aurora, Neb. Founded in 1901, Hamilton Telecommunications encompasses seven primary company divisions that allow Hamilton to operate on a local, regional and national basis.

CapTel is a registered trademark of Ultratec, Inc.