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. 3
March 2024

Official Announcement of New KCDHH Executive Director

The board of the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing along with the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet has announced that Anita Dowd has been selected as the new executive director of the KCDHH.

Anita has worked for KCDHH in various positions since 1998. Throughout those 26 years, she has been dedicated to enriching the lives of the more than 700,000 Kentuckians who have a hearing loss through the commission’s dedication to advocacy, education, referral and outreach.

A Hodgenville native, Anita attended LaRue County High School, Gallaudet University and earned a bachelor of science degree in psychology from Eastern Kentucky University. In addition, she has a Hearing Loss Support Specialist certification and an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator certification and is fluent in English and American Sign Language. A resident of Louisville, Anita is passionate about advocating for effective communication and working with families of children who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Anita has used her expertise and personal experience as a deaf individual and the parent of two adult daughters KCDHH and Kentucky Education and Labor logos who have hearing loss to benefit a wide range of professional organizations including serving on the boards of National Hands & Voices; Kentucky Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Advisory Board; and the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council. Anita is an avid public speaker and has made numerous national and state presentations and conducted trainings on hearing loss for a variety of organizations including law enforcement, hospital administrators, emergency management, military veterans and families with deaf and hard of hearing children.

Please join us in congratulating Anita on her new position at KCDHH.

KCDHH Board Vacancy: Member-At-Large

Seeking a qualified individual to serve on Commission Board

Do you want to make a change in the lives of deaf and hard of hearing individuals? The Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is looking for a committed individual who will be involved in making decisions that impact the lives of the 700,000-plus deaf and hard of hearing people in Kentucky.

The KCDHH Member-At-Large seat will expire June 30, 2024. Applicants may be deaf, hard of hearing or hearing. The Member-At-Large representative serves a three-year term, which will begin July 1, 2024 and expire on June 30, 2027.

Interested persons are encouraged to mail a current resume
along with a completed application to:

Tommy Evans, Chair
632 Versailles Road
Frankfort, KY 40601
502-573-2604 (V/T)
800-372-2907 (V/T)


Deaf History Month

April is National Deaf History Month

National Deaf History Month during April celebrates the contributions and accomplishments of people who are deaf and those who are hard of hearing and raises awareness for the Deaf community. The National Association of the Deaf first introduced National Deaf History Month in 1997, and in 2006, the American Library Association partnered with NAD in supporting and spreading awareness of this celebration. Initially, the month was celebrated from mid-March to mid-April. Then in March 2022, the National Association of the Deaf released a statement changing the dates to April 1-30 based on feedback from the NAD Deaf Culture and History Section and various stakeholders, including from organizations that represent marginalized communities within the Deaf Community.


Learn sign language:

Learn more about deaf history:

Partner with the deaf community:

6 of the best movies and series celebrating deaf actors

March 13 is the start of National Deaf History Month*, a celebration of how deaf and hard of hearing people have made the world a better place. Over the past several years, there has been a miniature revolution in film and television, with deaf actors getting major roles and leading high-profile projects. Here are some worth checking out at San Francisco Chronicle.

James Caverly plays the mysterious character, Theo, in the Hulu series "Only Murders in the Building."
Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu

*Note: This article incorrectly refers to the old starting date for National Deaf History Month (NDHM). Please see National Association of the Deaf's YouTube video announcing the new dates.

FCC Seeks Comment on ASL and Multilingual Wireless Emergency Alert Templates

In 2023, the FCC adopted rules to require participating wireless providers to make available certain Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) in the thirteen most commonly spoken languages in the United States including American Sign Language (ASL).

As of February 15, 2024, they are seeking comment on the effectiveness of the ASL videos.

Go to FCC's web page for additional information, to view the demo videos, and to find out how you can make your comment.

Deafness And Hearing Loss Statistics

Hearing loss can have a profound impact on a person’s quality of life, including their physical, cognitive and mental health. However, hearing loss remains a common problem, affecting approximately 48 million Americans. While hearing loss concerns are more common among aging adults, people of all ages can be affected. When left untreated, hearing loss can continue to worsen over time, so it’s important to talk to a hearing health specialist, such as an audiologist or ear, nose and throat physician, for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Familiarizing yourself with nationwide and global hearing loss statistics can help you better understand its prevalence, as well as the importance of diagnosis and treatment. Better yet, this knowledge can help empower you and your loved ones get the care you need. Read on to learn more about deafness and hearing loss, including what to do if you suspect you or a loved one may be affected. Read more at Forbes Health.

For more information, including how to get tickets to I AM DELIVERED'T:

Purchase ASL interpreted tour tickets here.

Note: At the time of this writing, the March 30th spots were sold out.
However, Maker's Mark has added April 27th to accommodate this special event.

REMINDER: 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 at The Lane Report.

Registration is required before April 10.
More information can also be found on Facebook.

If interested, you may register here.

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.

REMINDER: 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.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Education on Mental Health, Substance Use,
or Developmental/Intellectual Disabilities

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

Where do you get your health information? How do you learn about mental health and wellness? If you or someone you know needed help with a substance use disorder, where would you go? Have you tried to get help then had to use precious appointment time educating people about hearing loss or working with an interpreter?

It can be overwhelming to know where to find reliable information. Sometimes there are great services available, but the marketing is limited. Other times the “right fit” for a service doesn’t exist. A person may have to seek services from a provider just learning about communication access or Deaf culture.

The Advisory Committee on the Need for Services for Individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing is working to change that. Two subcommittees have formed. One focuses on improving provider education. The goal is to teach therapists, case managers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other behavioral health professionals how best to connect with and treat people with hearing loss and those who are Deaf. Members are working to adapt a Communication Access Plan originally created by the Hearing Loss Association of America. The tool can be used to open conversations between individuals and their medical professionals. Additional training topics will be identified and addressed as the committee partners with Community Mental Health Centers and state-contracted facilities.

The second committee will focus on increasing awareness of resources and mental health literacy for Hard of Hearing and Deaf communities. The Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental, and Intellectual Disabilities (DBHDID) offers lunch and learn series and workshops throughout the year. However, these are often not well attended. We know that we can do more to connect to community members both online and in person. The committee will identify priorities for social media posts, create a list of events for outreach efforts, and maybe even engage faith communities in partnership.

As we delve into this work, we will be seeking input from others. You can check out the YouTube channel that's already been created. If you would like to be on our email list to learn about upcoming learning opportunities or to contribute to the projects, please email Michelle.Niehaus@ky.gov. Together we can increase education and awareness for all.

Job Opportunity

Three jobs listed at Kentucky School for the Deaf's Website

Assistant Principal

District Instructional Assistant (Mercer County)

Culinary Arts Teacher

Go to Kentucky School for the Deaf's Jobs page then be sure to scroll down
and click on "Read More" for more information and ASL signed videos for each job listing.

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

FM systems for people with hearing loss

Interesting in hearing better in group settings? You may want look into FM and DM systems. Using microphones and receivers (including hearing aids), these systems help you hear better and reduce background noise. Common in school settings, they help filter out unwanted noise.

Both systems improve the signal-to-noise ratio, explains clinical audiologist Sarah Sparks, Au.D, founder of Audiology Outside the Box PLLC in Washington, DC.

“They take sound that is farther away and bring it closer to the listener,” Sparks says.

Find out more about how these systems work, along with who might consider taking advantage of them, when FM/DM systems are ideal for use, and more.

Read more about this at Healthy Hearing.

Best New Accessibility Features In Macos Sonoma

A notable upgrade is found within the Zoom feature. Users with low vision will appreciate an improved Zoom Display that offers smoother transitions and sharper image quality when magnifying content on the screen. It’s now easier to focus on specific areas of the screen without losing context, which helps in reducing eye strain and enhancing overall user experience.

For those who are hard-of-hearing or deaf, macOS Sonoma introduces superior real-time text (RTT) support when making phone calls. This technology enables users to type text messages live during phone calls, thus facilitating clearer and more efficient communication.

There’s also significant progress in the realm of Sign Language support in Group FaceTime calls. With automatic prominence on Group FaceTime calls, sign language users can stay more visually connected as the video call will prioritize their window when sign language movement is detected.

Read more about this and other accessibility features at The Tech Edvocate.


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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