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Article: Guide to Public Accommodations and Accessibility


Table of Contents
  1. Introduction to Public Accommodations and Accessibility
  2. Accessible Design
  3. Communications
  4. Social Barriers

Speech & Language Tools


Those who interpret/transliterate for the deaf community must think quickly on their feet. They must also listen carefully and be comfortable in front of an audience. Interpreters are used for a variety of situations and most specialize in specific areas such as mental health, law, medicine and education.

Interpretation is what an interpreter must do to be understood by someone who needs an accommodation. The essence of interpretation is to communicate meaning across two languages and cultures.

National Interpreter Certification
In the case of interpreting for those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, certification and licensure is highly recommended. National certification called the NAD-RID, tests language knowledge and judgment on issues and ethics. The test consists of both a written as well as a performance interview. This site features information on certification along with downloadable application forms.

Interpreting and ITP FAQ
This site provides answers to frequently asked questions about interpreters for the deaf. It discusses the job market for interpreters and different certifications that are available.

Hiring an Interpreter
This is a California site, but contains information that is helpful to all states. This site discusses how to hire an interpreter, when to call, how to locate, etc.

The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf is a national membership organization for those who interpret for the deaf.

Code of Ethics
Those who interpret for the deaf must abide by an interpreter code of ethics. This website has information about the code and how it applies.

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In this section, you will find information about different types of media for people with specific disabilities.


Braille is a system of reading and writing for individuals who are blind. Braille consists of a series of raised dots on a page that represent the letters of the alphabet. Those who are blind are able to read by feeling the raised dots with their fingers. The basic Braille "cell" consists of two columns of three dots. Each Braille letter, word, number, or musical note is made by using different combinations of these dots.

This system was invented by an eleven year old student named Louis Braille. It took him nine years to develop the system. The idea of using raised dots on a page was from a code that the military used to communicate after dark. Louis adapted their system of using 12 dots in a cell to using 6 dots in a cell so that the finger could feel the entire cell at one time.

Braille on the Internet
This site has more information on the history of Braille along with information on legislation and research related to Braille.

Braille Authority of North America
The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) is an organization that promotes and facilitates the use and production of Braille.

Braille through Remote Learning
There are free online classes for those teachers, parents, social workers, or transcribers interested in learning Braille. This site gives a listing of those classes and information on how to register.

Deaf and Blind Finger Braille Communication
Finger Braille is a method of communication for individuals who are deaf and blind. Some suggest that this method is faster than finger spelling. This site has a guide on how Finger Braille works.

National Braille Press
The National Braille Press is a non-profit Braille printing and publishing house. This Boston-based organization promotes literacy among both children and adults who are blind by providing textbooks and tests in Braille as well as by offering different literacy programs.

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Closed-captioning and accessible online chat connects thousands of people with disabilities to the entertainment opportunities that are enjoyed by so many others.

A-Chat is accessible chat that works directly in your web browser.

Films Involving Disabilities
This site contains a list of films that feature characters with a disability.

National Center for Accessible Media
The National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) is a research and development facility dedicated to the issues of media and information technology for people with disabilities.

Closed Captioning FAQs
This site talks about what captioning is, what the standards and laws are concerning captioning as well as why captions look the way that they do.

Media Access Group
The Media Access Group develops products and services for people with sensory disabilities and those with hearing or vision loss.

Narrative Television Network
The Narrative Television Network works toward making television programming and movies accessible to the blind and visually impaired.

National Captioning Institute
The National Captioning Center is a non-profit corporation that delivers captioning services for people who require additional access of media products.

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Speech and Language Tools

For people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, using the phone can be a challenge. However, relay services and new technology provide many different options for those who suffer from hearing loss. A relay service allows those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to make calls over standard phone lines. They are able to send and receive text and/or voice messages using a TTY and/or a standard phone. Different phone companies have a variety of options for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Besides the standard phone relay service, phone companies can also offer an internet relay service, video relay service, and relay conference captioning. Internet relay allows individuals to send and receive calls over a computer. Video relay services enable people to make calls using a web-cam and a high-speed internet connection. Communicating using this technology allows both parties to send and receive visual messages using sign language. Relay conference captioning combines real-time captioning and voice relay to provide conference calls for individuals who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. Sprint provides these services.

Sprint Relay Service



Telephones can be adapted for individuals with disabilities. The most common adaptations are for those who have mobility, vision, hearing, and speech limitations.

Total Resource Guide: Adapted Telephones for Everyone
This resource guide discusses different types of telephones that have been adapted and where to purchase them.

Amplified Phones
A type of an adapted phone for someone who is hard-of-hearing is an amplified phone. On this site is information on amplified phones and accessories that go with them.

How to Get an Accessible Phone
Before you purchase an accessible phone there are some things you might want to be aware of to help you make the right choice. On this site you will find a list of things to consider along with information on where to shop for a phone.

Solutions for Customers with Disabilities
Besides physical devices that can aid in telephone communication, different solutions are available through phone companies. Verizon provides an example of what phone companies can offer to customers with disabilities.

Filing a Consumer Inquiry or Complaint
If you feel like you have been treated unfairly using telephone communications you can file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission. This site has instructions on how to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.

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Different trainings in American Sign Language are available online. Also available are programs for those who work with individuals with disabilities to improve communications.

American Sign Language uses gestures and facial expression to convey meaning. American Sign Language is a language independent of English in that it has a different grammatical structure and is considered linguistically complete.

American Sign Language
This site contains a listing of American Sign Language resources available on the internet.

American Sign Language University
The American Sign Language University is an online teaching program that includes a full course on American Sign Language including history, culture, and grammar along with signs and finger spelling.

American Sign Language Finger Spelling
Finger spelling is one aspect of American Sign Language in which individual words are spelled out using the fingers. From this site one can learn how to fingerspell.

Sign Writing
Sign Writing is Sign Language as a written language. This writing system uses visual symbols to represent the hand-shapes, movements, and facial expressions of signed languages. On this site you will find a dictionary of sign writing, along with other information about this written language.

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Last Updated on 1/22/2016

Monday, May 27, 2024