VOLUME 41, NO. 10

Welcome to KCDHH Communicator's new format! We hope you like it.

KCDHH Becomes Weather-Ready National Ambassador

KCDHH Executive Director, Anita Dowd, met with staff of the National Weather Service (NWS) in Louisville to discuss ways they could partner with KCDHH to ensure the deaf and hard of hearing community has access to information about extreme weather.

Dowd was excited to sign an agreement for KCDHH to become a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador! As a Weather-Ready Ambassador, KCDHH is committing to work with the NOAA and other Ambassadors to strengthen national resilience against extreme weather. Visit the NWS deaf and hard of hearing webpage here.

KCDHH Part of Community Impact Council

KCDHH has partnered with WellCare of Kentucky to establish a Community Impact Council (CIC) to address the social and health barriers impacting long-term health outcomes for the deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) population. Recently, KCDHH’s Information Coordinators presented and hosted booths at the Kentucky Association of Community Health Workers Conference and at the Kentucky Primary Care Association Conference. They explained best practices, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, and quality improvement towards serving the DHH population. Pictured are Information Coordinators Blake Campbell and Emily Kimbell during one of their presentations.

KCDHH Recognizes National Protect Your Hearing Month

Whether you are at work, home, school, or an event, the Kentucky Commission on Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH) wants you to learn how to protect yourself and others from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) during National Protect Your Hearing Month in October.

“Sometimes we take our hearing for granted until it’s too late. Noise-induced hearing loss is preventable by avoiding loud noises whenever possible or wearing earplugs to protect your ears,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “As a dad, I also encourage parents to monitor their children’s exposure to loud noises, especially from using earbuds at unsafe volumes.”

According to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), 12.5% of children between 6 and 19 years of age have hearing loss as a result of listening to loud music, particularly through earbuds at unsafe volumes. Read more here.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Gov. Andy Beshear is celebrating National Disability Employment Month and the 50th anniversary of the passage of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in October to recognize the importance of ensuring people with disabilities have equal opportunity to prepare for and succeed in employment.

To promote the hiring of people with disabilities, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the Education and Labor Cabinet are offering employers a free handbook called Hiring Deaf and Hard of Hearing Employees.

“KCDHH staff works diligently to remove barriers that limit people of all ages with hearing loss,” said KCDHH Executive Director Anita Dowd. “My hope is that, through awareness, the work of Kentucky’s Employment First Council and our recently published guide, “Hiring Deaf and Hard of Hearing Employees,” more hiring managers will consider people with disabilities, including those with hearing loss.”

Read more here.

Members Sought for KSD Advisory Board

KRS 167.037 requires the establishment of a Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) Advisory Board. The board is to be composed of nine members appointed by the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) upon the recommendation of the commissioner of education.

The membership shall be statewide and consist of:

  • Two parents of Deaf children;
  • One professional in the education of the Deaf;
  • One former student of the Kentucky School for the Deaf;
  • One member of the Kentucky Association for the Deaf;
  • Two members representing school districts; and
  • Two members at large

Currently, self-nominations for the Kentucky School for the Deaf Advisory Board are being accepted for one parent of Deaf children, one professional in the education of the Deaf and one member of the Kentucky Association for the Deaf. Self-nominations may be submitted to Shannon Sparkman by 4 p.m. ET on Oct. 24.

Public Invited to Town Hall Meetings on Justice/Mental Health

Building on the success of Kentucky’s first mental health summit, the Kentucky Judicial Commission on Mental Health has been hosting town hall meetings in communities across the state since August 30. The meetings are being held to garner input for changing how the justice system addresses people with challenges involving mental illness, substance use and/or intellectual and developmental disabilities. The commission wants to hear from people and/or their families with lived experience in this area as well as business owners, civic leaders, and anyone else with an interest.

The schedule includes the following meetings and sites:

  • September 27: London Community Center, 529 S. Main Street;
  • October 11: Lexington Central Bank Center, 430 W. Vine Street;
  • October 25: Paducah McCracken County Convention & Expo Center, 415 Park Avenue;
  • November 8: Louisville Kentucky International Conference Center, 221 S. Fourth Street;
  • November 15: Pikeville Appalachian Wireless Arena, 126 Main Street;
  • November 29: Bowling Green Sloan Convention Center, 1021 Wilkinson Trace.

Those who are unable to attend but want to share experiences navigating the courts or the behavioral health system can do so by emailing JCMH@kycourts.net. ASL interpreters will be provided. For other language or accessibility needs, email JCMH@kycourts.net.

Important Justice and Mental Health Townhall Meetings!

To be held in 9 different locations throughout the state.

Kelli Sanchez
Language Liaison for ASL
Adminsitrative Office of the Courts

Anthony Adkins
DHHS Program Coordinator
Division of Mental Health Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities


Free Lunch & Learn Webinar: Perceptions of Police by Deaf Community

The Division of Mental Health’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Program will host a free Lunch & Learn Webinar: “Communities in Conflict: A Critical Look into Police and Deaf Interactions in Central Kentucky,” on Thursday, November 2, 12 noon to 1 p.m. (ET). The speaker will be Savannah Sublette, who completed a thesis on the historical and social patterns of audism and has explored the respective experiences and opinions on various topics, including knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), criminal justice policy and procedure, and the interaction techniques utilized by law enforcement by surveying police and deaf and hard of hearing people. To join, click here and use the password: 938187. For more information, contact Michelle Niehaus.

Voting Information and Key Dates

Community Impact Council Hosts Listening Session

The Community Impact Council with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will be hosting a Listening Session on November 17, 1 p.m. to 2: 30 p.m. (ET) via Zoom. This is an opportunity for individuals with a hearing loss to express their thoughts, concerns, and ideas regarding their experiences accessing social and health services in Kentucky. If you would like to participate in this session, please contact Laura Chowning. Be sure to check the KCDHH Facebook page or KCDHH’s website for more information.

KY Hands & Voices Host Trivia Night & Silent Auction

Tickets are NOW available for Kentucky Hands & Voices Trivia Night: “Wish Upon a Star,” on December 1 at Castle & Key Distillery in Frankfort. It's just two months away! Grab some friends and make plans to join in for this FUNdraising event. There will be a silent auction, food truck, cash bar, and the popular costume contest! Desserts will be provided and there will be a silent auction. Come dressed as your favorite princess, superhero, or other Disney character to win a special prize!

A table of eight (8) is $250, table of six (6) is $200, and individual tickets are $35 each. Visit the Facebook event; then purchase your tickets here.

Remote Area Medical Coming to Mayfield, Dec. 2-3

Remote Area Medical (RAM) is coming to Mayfield December 2-3. RAM prevents pain and alleviates suffering by providing free, quality healthcare to those in need. They provide free dental, vision, and medical services to underserved and uninsured individuals. This is free to everyone and you do not have to live in Mayfield to access this service. Interpreters will be available on site. The patient parking lot will open no later than 11:59 p.m. (midnight local time) on Friday, December 1 and remain open. For more information, click here.

WellCare Community Connections Available to Everyone

Do you or someone you know need access to food, housing, or transportation in your area? WellCare Community Connections can assist you with resources that are available in your area. You don’t have to be a WellCare recipient to utilize this service. Community Connections are available to take your call Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., through their Help Line at 1-866-775-2192 to talk to a Peer Coach. For more specific information, click here.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Seven Counties Services Counselor/Case Manager Uses ASL

Did you know Seven Counties Services employs both a Licensed Professional Counselor and Case Manager who are deaf and use American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary language?

Through our Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program, Julie Dalbom, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and Holly Evans, a Case Manager, both provide support for Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind clients. Support includes mental and behavioral health services and identifying and linking clients to community resources for support with jobs, school, utilities, housing, and more.

Mental and behavioral health is connected to our physical health and our emotional and physical stress levels. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious. You don’t have to deal with it all on your own. There is help available!

Seven Counties Services offers many programs and service sites available to assist clients. Even if you don’t work directly with Julie or Holly, they’re able to consult with your hearing therapist, along with an ASL interpreter who is live in session with you. Julie and Holly will also consult with your hearing service provider on knowledge of deaf culture as well as communication access to help make a great customer experience for you.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Seven Counties Services can help, request a first appointment online or email us at dhhservices@sevencounties.org. We care for individuals of all ages so families can heal and strengthen together. Let us walk alongside you on your journey!

Job Opportunity

Deaf Peer Support Specialists Sought

Are you Deaf? Hard of Hearing? A child or sibling of a person who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing? Do you have experience with mental health or substance misuse? Would you like to help other people live a full and happy life? The Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental, & Intellectual Disabilities (DBHDID) is partnering with Bridgehaven to recruit and train up to five people to work with individuals who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf-Blind, or Deaf-Disabled. To watch an ASL signed video, click here. To request an application, contact Michelle Niehaus at michelle.niehaus@ky.gov or call or text 502-892-9122 or leave a message on VP at 502-385-0460.

Deaf-Blind Employment Specialist Position Open

A Deaf-Blind Employment Specialist position is open with Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Services in Louisville. The primary focus will be to provide one on one services to consumers to assist with achievement of employment outcomes, with a commitment to a fully inclusive community-based environment. For more information, visit here.

Save The Date

National Association of the Deaf Hosts Town Hall Meeting: October 23

Do you have a question for the National Association of the Deaf (NAD)? Join their town hall meeting on Zoom or watch via Facebook on October 23, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (ET). By participating in the town hall, you’ll be able to engage with the NAD Board and team and ask questions about the five priorities, their on-going advocacy efforts and more! This event will be in American Sign Language (ASL) with voice and captioning provided. If you require other accommodations, please register here and email your accommodation requests to submit@nad.org.


OVR Schedules Public Forums for Input on Combined State Plan

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation has scheduled five (5) public forums to give consumers, persons with disabilities, and other interested individuals the opportunity to provide input and comment on the Combined State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Supported Employment for 2024. They include the following dates:

For more information, contact Lametta Isaacs, 800-372-7172. To request reasonable accommodations to attend any of these meetings, please contact Brooke McDaniel at 502-782-3494 at least 10 days before the event. For virtual attendance, you can also contact Brooke at the same number. More information and virtual meeting links can be found on the Vocational Rehabilitation - Kentucky Career Center website.

Kentuckians who are unable to attend the forum can share their comments by mail, email, or phone until October 31, 2023: Mail: Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, 500 Mero Street, 1st FL., Frankfort, KY 40601. Email: WFD.VOCREHAB@ky.gov Phone: 800-372-7172

ALDAcon 2023: October 30-November 3

ALDAcon registration continues for the October 30 to November 3 conference in Austin, TX, at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol. Registration is $390 per person and includes workshops, exhibits, entertainment, speaker, and other special events. Register here.

Heuser Hosts Deaf Education Symposium: November 3-4

KCDHH Executive Director Anita Dowd will be part of Heuser Hearing & Language Academy, KY HEARS Deaf Education Professionals Symposium on Friday to Saturday, November 3-4, 111 E. Kentucky Street, Louisville. The symposium is for educators of the deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf/Blind, and clinician/nursing professionals. Space is limited to 125 participants. For questions and clarifications, contact Devon Woodlee, KY HEARS Project Manager, 502-371-9908 or dwoodlee@thehearinginstitutue.org. To register, click on or scan the QR Code.

DeafNation Expo: November 4, Chicago

The 2023 DeafNation Expo is celebrating 20 years of touring its trade show for, by, and about deaf people. Since 2003, the DeafNation Expo showcase has attracted over 1 million attendees with hundreds of events throughout the United States. Chicago’s event will be on November 4 at the Wintrust Sports Complex, 5499 W. 65th St., Bedford Park, IL. Admission is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information or to register, visit the Expo website here.

Tech Updates

Gallaudet Debuts Football Helmet for Deaf Players

Gallaudet University, a school for students who are deaf or hard of hearing in Washington, DC, deployed a unique football helmet in a game Saturday that allowed communication with coaches like never before. Thanks to an augmented reality screen inside his helmet, the quarterback was able to see plays relayed by coaches via a tablet as opposed to the customary hand signals. Read more here.



Calendar of Events

PLEASE EMAIL US AT: kcdhh@ky.gov

KCDHH Resources:


KCDHH’s Telecommunications Access Program (TAP):
Landline or wireless equipment for Kentucky residents who are deaf,
hard of hearing, speech impaired, or have both a hearing and vision loss.

KCDHH Commissioners



632 Versailles Road
Frankfort, KY 40601

Voice: 502-573-2604
Videophone: 502-416-0607
Toll Free: 800-372-2907
kcdhh.ky.gov    |   kcdhh@ky.gov

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