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. 2
February 2024

KCDHH Celebrates 30 Years of Providing Equipment to Deaf and Hard of Hearing

One of the many things we take for granted in life is the ability to communicate with the people around us. The telephone has played a major role in communications for almost 150 years. However, telephone communication was not always accessible for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Accessible telephones were large, expensive, and not easily accessible for everyone.

For the 700,000 deaf and hard of hearing residents of Kentucky, this all changed 30 years ago when the Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation in 1994 that would provide specialized telecommunication equipment at no charge to deaf, hard of hearing, speech impaired or deaf-blind individuals.

Kentucky became the 24th state to implement a Telecommunications Access Program (TAP) in 1995 through the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH). The program is funded by a small surcharge on all telecommunication access lines throughout the state.

"During these 30 years, KCDHH has made telecommunication accessibility a priority by continuously researching and updating equipment to make phone communication easier for individuals with a hearing loss," said Executive Director Anita Dowd. "Today, if you’d like to see the different types of equipment available, we have seven locations throughout the state that you can visit and test the devices to see which best fits your needs. They include: Frankfort, Ft. Mitchell, Lexington, Louisville, Murray, Owensboro, and Thelma."

For information about the program, applying for equipment or a complete list of businesses where TAP equipment can be demonstrated, visit KCDHH online or call 502-573-2604.

Kentucky State Police Cadet Class 104 Host Blood Drive

As part of Team Kentucky Saves Lives, First Lady Britainy Beshear thanked the Kentucky State Police (KSP) Cadet Class 104 for answering the call to save lives by hosting a blood drive at the KSP Training Academy, 380 Coffee Tree Road, Frankfort, on Monday, February 19. The drive is open to Kentuckians from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

Those interested in participating can sign up at Governor.ky.gov/GiveBlood, by visiting the Red Cross website and entering the sponsor code "KSPAcademy" or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

National Assistive Technology (AT) Awareness Day

On March 1, 2023, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution that sheds light on the vital role assistive technology (AT) plays in the lives of people with disabilities. AT is any item, piece of equipment, software program or product systems that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of people with disabilities.

The day honors people with disabilities who require AT to access their education, workplace, community, and recreational activities. The day also recognizes the leadership of the Assistive Technology Act programs whose teams strive to help millions of individuals acquire low-cost and often no-cost AT in all 50 states and Territories.

This year on March 1, visit KCDHH’s website to find out more about the Telecommunications Access Program and what types of assistive communication devices might help you.

World Hearing Day, 'Changing Mindsets,' Celebrates

March 3 is World Hearing Day, an annual global advocacy event for raising awareness regarding hearing loss, promoting ear and hearing care, and calling for action to address hearing loss and related issues. This year’s theme, “Changing Mindsets,” is crucial for improving access and improving the cost of unaddressed hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization. To read more, visit here.

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.

Scholarship Available to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students 2024-2025

A $1,000 scholarship for students who are deaf or hard of hearing and pursuing an undergraduate degree is now available. The scholarship will cover tuition, books, and supplies. Recipients may use the funds for any semester, including summer or during the 2024-2025 academic school year. Sertoma and Oticon, Inc. is providing the funding for the scholarships. Those interested must submit their application and required materials by April 1, 2024, 12:59 a.m. Winners will be notified by June 30. For eligibility, required materials, and to apply online, click here.

April 8 Total Eclipse Expected to Bring Visitors to Western Kentucky

Kentucky state and local agencies are preparing for an influx of travelers during the total solar eclipse that will sweep across 13 states on the afternoon of Monday, April 8, 2024. The celestial event is expected to bring at least 150,000 visitors to several Western Kentucky counties, with more than 1 million travelers expected to drive through Kentucky to viewing spots along the main path in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

"The solar eclipse will be a memorable and fun event for many Kentucky families," said Gov. Andy Beshear. "I encourage Kentuckians who intend to watch it to plan early to make this event safe for all. Choose your viewing location in advance, expect increased traffic and remember to take essentials, like protective eyewear and water."

The total solar eclipse will impact eight Kentucky counties and clip portions of four others. The totality phase will enter Kentucky around 2 p.m., CDT, in parts of Fulton and Hickman counties before rolling across Ballard, McCracken, Livingston, Crittenden, Union and Henderson counties along the Ohio River. It also clips small portions of Carlisle, Graves, Webster, and Daviess counties. Read more here at The Lane Report.

Participate in Disaster Response Survey by February 18

As we've experienced firsthand over the past few years, natural disasters profoundly impact our communities. The Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities (DBHDID) invites you to participate in a brief survey aimed at gathering insights to enhance our services to communities. Your input will be instrumental in shaping our approach to behavioral health disaster preparedness and response. This will help improve disaster response strategies and lead to more effective support during crises.

Please take the time to complete this brief online survey on disaster behavioral health preparedness and response. Your responses will help us build stronger, more resilient communities together as we update our behavioral health disaster response plan.

📅 Survey Deadline: February 18: This survey takes less than 15 minutes to complete by clicking here.

The survey is being administered through the Facilitation Center at Eastern Kentucky University. All responses will remain anonymous. The data collected will be utilized to formulate questions for upcoming focus groups and contribute to the development of a comprehensive statewide behavioral health disaster preparedness and response plan.

Mammoth Cave Looking for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Participants for Study

You are invited to participate in a study on the accessibility of Mammoth Cave National Park for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. This study aims to understand the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community’s perceptions of Mammoth Cave National Park’s interpretation accommodations. For more information on how to participate and receive a free tour, read the flyer here.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Help Create a Safer Environment Through ZeroV

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

Did you happen to shop at a local grocery story on Saturday in preparation for the SuperBowl or "Swiftie Bowl?" If so, you may have been asked to participate in a Shop & Share event to support our local shelters for individuals experiencing interpersonal violence (IPV) or domestic violence. The annual one-day event is held statewide to help replenish the supplies of hygiene items, paper products, and shelf stable items across the network of shelters in Kentucky and is sponsored by ZeroV.

According to their website, ZeroV formerly the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence, is the statewide coalition dedicated to creating safe lives and thriving futures for survivors of intimate partner violence and their children. To achieve this, ZeroV examines all forms of violence, the cultural and social norms that sanction violence, and the systems that perpetuate violence through the lens of intimate partner violence and intersectionality. ZeroV believes that a world safe for survivors is safe for everybody. Creating this world is the shared responsibility of our coalition, communities, and Commonwealth. As a Kentucky united against violence, our work will persist until the violence in our state is ZERO.

My son and I volunteered with our church youth group to collect items. He prays every night to “help people everywhere across the world affected by violence.” Yet, in his mind, that usually means war. We discussed how people may experience violence in their own homes and that there may be people we know who are hurt by those they love most.

For Deaf individuals and those with hearing loss, identifying abuse and finding access to the right kind of help can be challenging. Organizations like Deaf Women Against Violence Everywhere (DWAVE) in Ohio and Abused Deaf Women's Advocacy Services (ADWAS) in Washington lead the way in providing education and developing programs to address the communities' unique needs.

Here in Kentucky, ZeroV can help individuals experiencing violence. We do not have any Deaf or Hard of Hearing-specific services in place. However, we all share responsibility for creating a world where violence in our state is Zero. Whether you can donate items to your local shelter, volunteer, or consider advocating for specific services, you can participate in co-creating a safer, more accessible world.

We started the week with the somewhat violent game of football. We celebrate Valentine's Day in the middle. Let’s end the week by seeing how we can come together and support one another in that spirit of love.

Save the Date

The Parent Circle Sets Schedule for Various Sessions

The Parent Circle is for families with deaf, hard of hearing, deaf blind, deaf disabled, and deaf plus children. The Parent Circle is a place where families can thrive and grow—and celebrate the joy their children bring to this world. Their parent coaches have many years of experience and are trained to provide support and guidance no matter where one is on their parenting journey. They offer monthly support sessions and include the following dates:

The Parent Circle Membership is $22 per month. For more information, visit them here.

Registration for 2024 National EHDI Conference Open

Early registration for the 2024 National Early Hearing Detection & Intervention (EHDI) Conference is now open. The conference will be March 17-19 in Denver, CO. Register here discounted rates available for certain deadlines.

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.

ALDAcon 2024 Conference Registration Now Open

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. Full Registration prices include workshops, exhibits, entertainment, speakers, and the following events: Thursday Luncheon; Friday Luncheon; “I. King Jordan” Award Banquet; Karaoke Party; and Farewell Breakfast. Registration rates are as follows:

To register online, visit the Aldacon Conference site here.

Tech Updates

Apple Podcast to Automatically Generate Transcripts

The new iOS 14.7 developer beta adds transcripts to the Apple Podcasts app. Transcripts are automatically generated for all new podcast episodes, and Apple will slowly add transcripts to its backlog of old podcasts. If necessary, podcasters can upload custom transcripts or edit their auto-generated transcripts. Transcripts can be accessed from the "details" page of any podcast episode. As the episode plays, Apple Podcasts will highlight each word in the transcript so you can follow along in real-time. This feature will greatly improve the Apple Podcasts experience for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, though it may also be useful to non-native language speakers, children who need to practice their reading, and listeners who like to stay really focused. Read more here.

You can also read more about this at Apple's website.


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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