The Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is looking to hire a Technology Assistance Program Specialist Coordinator. The position administers contracts providing Technology Assistance Program (TAP) services throughout Virginia, provides program support to the TAP service delivery system, serves as a TAP liaison to Virginia stakeholders and provide back up support to the front desk.

Please click here to view the full job posting and instructions for applying.

Happy Retirement, Arva!

  • Dec 1, 2016
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  • publicrelationsdept

When Arva Priola, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coordinator of the disAbility Resource Center, lost her hearing in 1989, she retired from teaching and began researching ways to help herself through this difficult time. She discovered the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and within a month she had started a local chapter, the Hearing Loss Association of Rappahannock. It was here that she met Faith Smith, who offered her a job at the disAbility Resource Center doing outreach for Virginia Relay’s Telecommunications Assistance Program (TAP), helping people obtain assistive telecommunications equipment throughout Virginia. Just when she thought her life was over, she realized it had just begun.

Arva, who is retiring at the end of 2016, has accomplished much in her 20-year career, receiving multiple awards and honors for her work and advocacy. But of all her achievements, three stand out. First, is the Visor Alert Program, which protects people with hearing loss during traffic stops by enabling communication with law enforcement. Virginia adopted the program statewide after running a pilot program in 2002. Second, are the guidelines for communication access in hospitals, which were established by House Bill 1956, and passed by the general assembly and signed by the governor in 2015. Third, is establishing the Virginia Relay Advisory Council alongside Cheryl Heppner.

“Virginia Relay and TAP keep us connected to the world and prevent us from becoming isolated,” says Arva. “And I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with them to help touch so many lives.”

And while it was a difficult decision to retire, she knows that this is not the end, but rather another new beginning. So how does she plan to spend her retirement? First on her list is visiting her new grandson, Landon, in Washington, and secondly to breed her French bull dogs who she loves very much. We at Virginia Relay would like to wish her all the best and let her know that she always has a home here.

Designed for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and can speak for themselves, CapTel works like any other telephone – with one important difference. Using the latest in voice recognition software, the CapTel phone displays every word the other person says. So you can listen to what is being said while reading word-for-word captions of your conversation on the CapTel phone’s display screen.

Best of all, the captioned telephone service is free*!

CapTel phones are available in a variety of models to best meet your needs. All models feature a brightly-lit display screen for captions with adjustable font sizes and colors. All models also include indicator lights, speed dial, answering machine, and Caller ID.

Use this helpful guide to determine which CapTel phone is right for you:

CapTel® 840
Requires analog telephone service

Choose the CapTel 840 if:

  • You have difficulty hearing over the phone, but can speak for yourself.
  • You do not have Internet access.
  • You have analog telephone service. If you are not aware of what telephone service you have, please contact your telephone service provider.
  • You prefer traditional buttons when navigating on-screen menus.
  • You like the size and feel of a traditional home phone.

CapTel® 840i
Connects to both your telephone service and Internet service

Choose the CapTel 840i if:

  • You have difficulty hearing over the phone, but can speak for yourself.
  • You have both telephone service and high-speed Internet access (cable, DSL, Ethernet or WiFi).
  • You prefer traditional buttons when navigating on-screen menus.
  • You like the size and feel of a traditional home phone.

CapTel® 880i
Designed for people with low vision or who have difficulty reading standard-sized captions

Choose the CapTel 880i if:

  • You have difficulty hearing over the phone, but can speak for yourself.
  • You have low-vision or difficulty reading standard-sized captions.
  • You have both telephone service and high-speed Internet access (cable, DSL, Ethernet or WiFi).
  • You prefer traditional buttons when navigating on-screen menus.
  • You like the size and feel of a traditional home phone.

CapTel® 2400i
Designed for people who are comfortable with touch-screen technology

Choose the CapTel 2400i if:

  • You have difficulty hearing over the phone, but can speak for yourself.
  • You have both telephone service and high-speed Internet access (cable, DSL, Ethernet or WiFi).
  • You prefer touch-screen navigation for on-screen menus.
  • You prefer BlueTooth connectivity or Speakerphone capability.
  • You like the size and feel of a contemporary phone.

All CapTel phone models are available to Virginia residents for a special rate of just $75. No-cost and reduced-price CapTel phones are also available to those who qualify through the Technology Assistance Program (TAP), administered by the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH).

For more information, or to obtain your CapTel phone, please call VDDHH at 1-800-552-7917 (V/TTY).

CapTel is a registered trademark of Ultratec, Inc.

*Long distance charges may apply.

The Speech, Language, and Hearing Services staff at Longwood University.

Virginia Relay and the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) are proud to announce a new partnership with the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Services at Longwood University in Farmville. Under the partnership, Longwood University is now an official outreach site for Virginia’s Technology Assistance Program (TAP), which provides no-cost adaptive telecommunication equipment to qualified applicants who are deaf, hard of hearing, Deafblind or who have difficulty speaking.

As an outreach site, members of the local community are now able to visit Longwood University to apply for equipment through TAP. Applicants are also evaluated by graduate students of the university’s Communications Sciences and Disorders program to ensure they receive the technology that is best suited to meet their needs. Students are supervised by the university’s faculty and clinical supervisors, who are nationally-certified and Commonwealth of Virginia-licensed audiology professionals.

Since the program was first introduced last summer, more than 15 people have applied for and/or been evaluated for equipment at Longwood University. The school currently has 14 different pieces of telecommunications equipment on site for demonstration by both students and TAP applicants.

“This is the first time VDDHH has partnered with an audiology department within a state university to expand our TAP outreach efforts, and we are already thrilled with the results,” said Ron Lanier, VDDHH Director. “Now that the talented students and staff at Longwood University are part of our outreach team, we are better able to serve the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in Farmville and the surrounding areas.”

“Because of this partnership, the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in this region will have access to the latest technologies so they can receive the best assistive equipment for them,” said Mani Aguilar, Au.D., CCC-A, Clinical Audiologist – Communications Sciences and Disorders; Speech, Language, and Hearing Services; Longwood University. “Working with VDDHH is also a boon for our Communications Sciences and Disorders students who will be familiar with the latest telecommunications technologies available for people who are unable to use a telephone.”

To learn more about TAP, please visit www.varelay.org. Residents of the Farmville area who would like assistance applying for equipment through TAP may contact Dr. Mani Aguilar at the Longwood Speech, Hearing, and Learning Services, 434-395-2341 or aguilarmc@longwood.edu.

This week, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Virginia is the first state in the nation to functionally end veteran homelessness. This is a great accomplishment for our state. VDDHH, Virginia Relay, and Hamilton Relay share Governor’s McAuliffe’s commitment to supporting our local veterans.

Because we understand that the ability to use a telephone is instrumental to living independently at home, veterans living with a hearing or speech loss are automatically eligible to apply for no-cost telecommunications equipment through Virginia’s Technology Assistance Program (TAP).

Adaptive telecommunications equipment, including text telephones (TTY), captioned telephones (CapTel) and other devices are available to individuals who meet one of the following qualifications:

  • A veteran with a hearing or speech loss and proof of an Honorable Discharge
  • A veteran with a hearing or speech loss and documentation of a service-related disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • A surviving spouse or child of a veteran who was killed in the line of duty and has a hearing or speech loss
  • An active member of the Virginia National Guard who has completed the required initial active-duty service

For more information on TAP for veterans, visit www.VDDHH.org or call 1-800-552-7917.

In addition, Virginia Relay’s contracted service provider, Hamilton Relay, offers the Heroes With Hearing Loss program to raise awareness and initiate meaningful dialog about shared hearing loss experiences among veterans, their families and friends.

Hearing loss is the number one service-related injury affecting veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Heroes With Hearing Loss works to connect these veterans with solutions to help manage the impact of hearing loss and communicate more effectively with family and friends. To learn more about Heroes With Hearing Loss, visit www.HeroesWithHearingLoss.org.

Together, we can ensure that Virginia’s veterans have the support and services they need to continue living in their homes.

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.

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!

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.

The Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) and Virginia Relay recently announced that military veterans living with a hearing or speech loss are now automatically eligible for telecommunications equipment through Virginia’s Technology Assistance Program (TAP).

Adaptive telecommunications equipment, including text telephones (TTY), captioned telephones (CapTel) and other devices are available to individuals who meet the following qualifications:

A veteran with a hearing or speech loss and proof of an Honorable Discharge

  • A veteran with a hearing or speech loss and documentation of a service-related disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • A surviving spouse or child of a veteran who was killed in the line of duty and has a hearing or speech loss
  • An active member of the Virginia National Guard who has completed the required initial active-duty service

“I am pleased to announce today that veterans living in Virginia with a hearing or speech loss are now automatically eligible for telecommunications equipment through Virginia’s Technology Assistance Program. I urge all eligible Virginia veterans to learn more about this new program to help reduce communications barriers,” said Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.

“Our veterans have dedicated their lives to protecting our way of life, and now through our Technology Assistance Program, we are honoring their service by offering veterans with a hearing or speech loss adaptive telecommunications equipment,” said Ron Lanier, director of VDDHH. “Our goal is to make daily life easier for Virginia’s veterans living with a hearing or speech loss by helping them to stay connected with their family, friends, and employers as well as their grateful community.”

Paul Galanti, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, noted, “the US Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence estimates 60 percent of veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq have hearing loss as a result of their military service. This new benefit will help provide these men and women with the tools necessary to adapt to this loss.”

TAP provides telecommunications equipment to all qualified applicants whose disabilities prevent them from using a standard telephone. To qualify for the program, individuals must be deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or speech disabled. Applicants must also be Virginia residents and meet income eligibility requirements that are based on household income and family size. There are no age restrictions; however applications from minors must be co-signed by a parent or legal guardian.

To learn more about VDDHH, Virginia Relay and TAP for veterans, call 1-800-552-7917 v/tty or visit www.vddhh.org.