KCDHH Communicator, Connecting you to Current News Team Kentucky: Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, An Agency of the Education and Labor Cabinet
VOLUME 42, NO. 4
April 2024

Deaf History Month

Commonwealth Celebrates Deaf History Month in April

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 9, 2024) — In recognition of April as Deaf History Month, Team Kentucky and the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing are honoring the contributions of people in the deaf and hard of hearing community and raising awareness about the issues they face.

Deaf History Month commemorates important milestones that represent major progress for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, including the establishment of the first public school for the deaf in the United States in Hartford, Connecticut, on April 15, 1817. It also celebrates the founding of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., following the approval of its charter by President Abraham Lincoln on April 8, 1864.

"Throughout April, I encourage everyone to learn about important historical figures in the deaf community and their many contributions and accomplishments to enhance accessibility and improve communication for individuals with hearing loss," said Gov. Andy Beshear. "I believe my good friend and former commission director, the late Virginia Moore, would also encourage us to celebrate Deaf History Month by learning American Sign Language or by reaching out to one of the more than 700,000 Kentuckians who are deaf or hard of hearing."

Numerous deaf and hard of hearing individuals who have left their mark on American society are also recognized and celebrated during Deaf History Month. Vinton Gray "Vint" Cerf, an American computer scientist who is considered the co-father of the internet; Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA; and Marlee Matlin, an Academy Award winning actress, are just a few individuals whose contributions will be celebrated this month.

On the state level, Gerry Gordon-Brown was a student at Kentucky State College at the time of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1964 visit to Frankfort. Despite profound hearing loss, she was one of several thousand who marched in support of civil rights in the state, a day that led her into a lifetime of advocacy. In addition, Sandra Mae Frank, a Louisville native, has performed on Broadway and in numerous television series, recently portraying Dr. Wilder for several seasons on NBC’s New Amsterdam.

"We are proud to recognize the history and contributions of all deaf and hard of hearing individuals, especially those of our native Kentuckians," said Anita Dowd, executive director of the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. "Deaf History Month is an opportunity for all Kentuckians to learn more about hearing loss and its impact, and the importance of communication access for everyone."

Dowd said Kentuckians can also take advantage of the Kentucky Commission on Deaf and Hard of Hearing's free presentations, workshops and trainings for groups and offices that request them. Topics include employment, health care, the justice system, sensitivity training, advocacy and education, as well as workshops that can be tailored to the audience’s needs. Click here to see a list of the topics that are available.

If interested, you may register here.

REMINDER: Kentucky Hands & Voices Host SuperHEARo 5K

Join us for the 7th annual SuperHEARo 5K on Saturday, May 18, 2024. The 1.5 Mile Fun Run (non-timed event) will take place at 9:00am followed by the 5K (a timed event) at 9:30am. In addition to an in-person event at White Hall State Historic Site, we will also have a virtual option so you can join us from near or far! Participants are encouraged to dress up as their favorite superhero. Packet pick-up will be available at Surge Screenprinting on Friday, May 17th or prior to the race on Saturday beginning at 7:30am.

Awards will be given for Top Overall Male & Female Finishers in the 5K, as well as Best Dressed Male & Female Superheroes. There will also be a prize for the Best Dressed Wonder Pet. Medals will awarded for the top three finishers in various age categories.

Click the image below to sign up:

REMINDER: May 21 is Primary Election Day in Kentucky

The 2024 Primary Election is May 21. The deadline to register to vote in the 2024 Primary Election is April 22, 2024, no later than 4 p.m. local time. If you have any questions about voting, please contact the Kentucky State Board of Elections at 502-573-7100. Click here for more information on registration, absentee ballots, polling locations, and sample ballots.

Summer Camps

Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center compiled a comprehensive list of immersion programs designed for families to learn sign language and connect with their deaf and hard of hearing children. Additionally you’ll find an extensive directory of camps that specifically cater to deaf and hard of hearing children. You’ll find day programs, overnight camps, and programming that include siblings or CODAs (children of deaf adults).

View the interactive map of camps all over the country.

Follow KSD Outreach on Facebook and Kentucky Hands & Voices
for any events in Kentucky for families and DHH children.

Affordable Connectivity Program is Winding Down

Image of a woman wearing a hearing aid and listening to a mobile phone.

The $14.2 billion Congress initially made available for the ACP is running out. Due to the lack of additional funding for the ACP, the Commission has announced that April 2024 will be the last month that the ACP households will receive the full ACP discount, as they have received in prior months. ACP households may receive a partial discount in May 2024. After May 2024, unless Congress provides additional funding, ACP households will no longer receive the ACP benefit and the ACP will end.

You can contact your internet company and ask if they have a lower cost plan and/or a low-income program.

KCDHH is continuing to be on the look out for any new programs that provide low-cost internet plans and this is what we found so far;

Scammers Target TTY, Captioned Telephones, and Video Relay Services

Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who rely on Text Telephone (TTY), Captioned Telephones, and video relay services (VRS) for communication are being increasingly targeted by scam calls. Unfortunately, due to the constraints of federal law and internal policies designed to protect privacy, these services may inadvertently create an opportunity for scammers.

Scams targeting the deaf and hard of hearing operate like other phone or email scams, with fraudsters posing as government officials, utility companies, lawyers, or even by offering fake prizes. Relay operators, caption operators, and video interpreters are legally and ethically bound to remain neutral and cannot warn users about suspected scams or alert law enforcement. They can only relay the conversation verbatim.

So how can deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals protect themselves?

For more information, check out these tips to identify and block scam calls and to outsmart sneaky scammer! By staying informed and vigilant, deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals can protect themselves from falling victim to these deceptive calls.

Also, check out this recent article from channel 7 ABC News in San Francisco, CA which describes how a nearly deaf California woman loses $10,000 to scam typed on her CapTel phone.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Judith Gaddie, NAMI Louisville Volunteer of the Year

By Michelle Niehaus, LCSW (michelle.niehaus@ky.gov)
Program Administrator, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
Dept. for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities

Sometimes in life we encounter individuals who truly understand our journey. Judith Gaddie, an Adult Peer Support Specialist at Seven Counties Services, is one such beacon of empathy. During our Bridgehaven Peer Support Incubator Project recruitment phase, she reached out, already a certified peer involved in multiple organizations serving and supporting people with mental illness. Her firsthand experience with trauma and mental illness coupled with her own hearing loss, gave her a unique understanding of our struggles.

Judith opened herself up to learning more about hearing loss and connected with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services team in Louisville. She shared that her communication needs differ from those of sign language users, and she even experienced CART (Computer Assisted Realtime Translation) at a meeting for the first time. She attended the Hearing Loss Association of America Kentuckiana chapter’s holiday party and began getting to know the good people in that community. Quietly and kindly, she shared her life and helped us learn about what it’s like to live with a serious mental illness and hearing loss from a different perspective.

Judith’s exceptional gifts for communication, advocacy, and service were recently recognized at the NAMI Louisville Spirit of Peace Awards as Volunteer of the Year. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, hosts a range of in-person and online support groups. Among them, Judith’s “Connections” group stands out as a beacon of inclusivity. It's a free, peer-led support group open to anyone 18+ who has experienced symptoms of a mental health condition. The Monday night meetings are held via Zoom, with auto-captioning available. For those who prefer in-person interaction, there's also an option on Thursdays from 12 noon to 1:30 pm at the Seven Counties Services site located at 4710 Champions Trace Lane near the Bashford Manor Walmart. Jennifer Jarrett, Judith’s co-facilitator and co-award winner, is usually there, ready to welcome you.

More information on NAMI Louisville support groups can be found here. Zoom captioning is available for the group.

Even in the midst of our struggles, we can find beacons of light. Judith, your guidance and support have been invaluable. May you continue to be a guide for us all, and may we find more connections with one another. Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition, Judith!

Save the Date

Danville Deaf Night Out Schedules 2024 Meetings

Everyone is welcome to attend Deaf Night Out in Danville at Morley’s Backyard, 234 East Walnut. It will be a time to meet old friends and make new ones. Dates include the following:

There will also be a "Throwback 1980's Prom" on Saturday, June 8.

For more information, contact Jason Smith by videophone: 859-439-0739, email: bleedofblue@gmail.com or text: 859-410-9521.

2024 Deaf in Healthcare Summit for Interpreters

Virtual Sessions range from interactive presentations to armchair discussions and are focused on providing interpreters with insight, solutions and best practices to position Deaf and hard of hearing clients for success in healthcare settings! For more information and to register, see 2axend's Virtual Summit page.

Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) Convention

HLAA’s 40th annual convention and our first-ever resort-style event, this year’s gathering in Phoenix, AZ promises to be a brand-new experience on June 26-29!

Register at the HLAA 2024 Convention site. Discounted rates may be available.

National Association for the Deaf (NAD) Conference

Early registration for the 2024 National Association for the Deaf Conference is now open. The conference will be July 1-6 in Chicago, IL.

Register here discounted rates available for certain deadlines.

ALDAcon 2024 Conference

The annual convention of the Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA), ALDAcon 2024, is now open for registration! Don’t miss out on this extraordinary opportunity in Clearwater Beach, FL on September 11–15.

To register online, visit the Aldacon Conference site.

Tech Updates

SignUp Captions

SignUp gives media accessibility to entertainment for a community poorly served by big media. SignUp is a free Google Chrome Extension that overlays sign language captions on movies and TV shows on Disney+ and Netflix including Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Frozen; Netflix’s Trolls and The Super Mario Bros. Movie. The Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community, hearing parents of Deaf kids, students of sign language, and Teachers of the Deaf are leaving raving reviews! Sign Up is revolutionizing media accessibility for the Deaf community. Download the Google Extension and find out!


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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